Thursday, 15 August 2013

What Does it Mean to be an Indian Citizen? Citizen of a Independent, Democratic Nation ?.....89513

What Does it Mean to be an Indian Citizen?
Citizen of a Independent, Democratic Nation ?

We are here today because the success of any democracy is determined by the participation of its citizens.

The survival of Democracy is never guaranteed, and that its success demands wisdom, action and even vigilance from its citizens.

What do we owe?

We begin with gratitude. As many have said, the joy of being an Independent is the joy of freedom and opportunity. We have been bequeathed freedom, justice and opportunity from the deeds and commitments even the spilled blood of our fore fathers who came before us. We did not earn the inheritance. A free and Democratic nation of unequaled freedom and opportunity, was given to us.

You and I are handed a work in progress one that can evolve for good or for ill. The deal is simple with freedom comes obligation, with liberty comes duty. If that deal is not kept, democracy is threatened. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought.

You and I must learn and we must teach our young the words we live by: the Constitution of Independent India.

Democracy is not fixed like a monarchy. It is dynamic. Democracy reflects the will and above all the action of each generation of citizens.

Why are we concerned?

But I am concerned, as I know you are. Why are we concerned?

We are concerned because too nowadays Indians lack a basic understanding of our democracy our institutions, our representative democracy, our obligation to those who came before, and what each of us can and must do to preserve the blessings of independence.

We don't even need to look at surveys or statistics to know that political participation and civic engagement is down basically across the board. People are voting less; paying less attention to their civic responsibility; ignoring the great lessons of the fight for freedom; participating less and complaining more.

There is a sense, particularly among many young people, that being an Indian is no big deal, with no obligation attached to it an endeavor not particularly worthy of their time and talent. I know of people who believe Independence day / Republic Day asi Just a OFF DAY or Holiday, to move out of their cities n relax in hill stations.

All of us are aware of a disconnect between people and their elected representatives. People do not trust them. People think they do the bidding of powerful interests. People think they are not relevant to their day-to-day lives. People think that citizenship is hollow. To some extent Politicians all of them, irrespective of Party lines, are responsible, but my dear this is democracy, why are we electing the ones we hate ?. And if we are not, than maybe we are not participating in the process.

You and I are concerned because we know that if we are apathetic, passive, and cynical about our democracy, then we will invite leaders who abuse power. There is an old observation: a society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.

You and I are concerned because we stand on a precipice. If Indians increasingly become disengaged, then the entire democratic enterprise is at risk. Indeed, sometimes I wonder about whether our democracy can continue as we know it if civic participation continues to decline as it has.

Why engage?

We have plenty of important things to worry about doing our jobs, paying our bills, taking care of our families. No doubt, these private interests are civic virtues in their own right.

We are good in this country at speaking out for and protecting our individual interest. But all of us can benefit from giving at least some of our attention to advancing the public interest, or as the founding fathers called it the common good.

Look around you. Many things need to be done in your community and country. Perhaps you are upset by the actions of your representative. Or the school that your children attend. Or the quality of your health care. Or the conditions of the roads that you drive on. Or even our nations foreign policy.

Don't misunderstand me. Tending your own business and the affairs of your family is important. But civic engagement is your way of influencing for the better your neighborhood, community, state and nation. If you and I become involved our cynicism will dissipate and our morale improve. We may even see life become better, richer, and fuller for our fellow citizens.

I know people who vote, walk out of the booth, and say and believe that their civic duty has been fully discharged. Voting is important but not enough. Do you know who does not disengage when the voting is done? Interest groups. They begin their work the day after an election they know that's when the real work begins. They know it and so should the rest of us.

If you are upset about the influence exerted by special interests; if you are upset about the actions of a public official; if you are upset about the condition of your local school; even if you are upset about a pothole in front of your house civic engagement is a way of taking action to make your corner of the world better. What do we have on our agenda that is more important?

The key to good governance is simple: it is to hold power accountable. Civic engagement does just that. We engage because it improves our democracy, and it is the only way to make our government responsive to the people.

What can we do?

How----
I can suggest few Options, You suggest and we make a list of things we can do, implement and get on with. We must remember each one of us is an important component in the Up-liftment, growth n development of Society, Colony, City and Country.

You can start by:
1. Stop throwing the garbage on roads or anywhere

2. Start segregating the garbage n ensure separate garbage collection arrangement in your locality through your councilor. Remember they have to yield to your requirements as they are elected by YOU.

3. Make sure you stop your vehicle before the Pedestrian crossing/ Zebra lines on Road. Don't bother if others don't. India is a country of followers not Leaders, Be a leader, set a precedence, people will follow.

4. If there are no marked pedestrian crossing on roads around your place, demand the same from Traffic police n the Municipal Corp. of your area.

5. Make sure you also cross roads at the crossings only not anywhere you feel like, even if you have to walk a few meters. Walking otherwise is good for your Health and as one of our group member said, may be you'll fall in love the second time

6. Make a positive contribution to developments of parks in your locality. In the times of concrete Jungles, these green areas serve our lungs.

7. Plan to have Rain water harvesting arrangements in your house n more importantly in parks of your locality. Water shortage will hit all of us in a bad way in future if we all don't plan it today.

8. Force your councilors to have your drains cleaned properly every month, to avoid breeding of harmful flies n all.

9. Save Electricity n Petrol/ Diesel as much as you can. Not only it'll save you money, India spends a lot on import of fuel, contribute towards saving that.

10. Show patience n respect to our elders, not only family members, all in society. We must appreciate, they have spent their lives building this nation, bringing up families. If possible start free kitchens to get them free food at least once a day.

I know you all may feel, Faltu ka lecture, dramebaazi, but Dear Friends, we should implement few things, as it's we the 125 Crore Indians who make this country not 540 odd parliamentarians. Or few thousand legislators.

Kindly forward your comments and ideas add more to these 10 points.

We engage by looking around us, seeing something that needs fixing, and doing something about it:

We can stay more informed about issues in our own communities, as well as the issues of the state and nation.

We should vote in elections and hold each of our representatives accountable - from the president on down to a town council or commissioner.

We can volunteer for charitable causes and organizations.

We can join the sometimes messy, rough and tumble dialogue of democracy by writing letters to local papers or elected officials, asking questions or advocating positions.

We can organize petition drives or letter writing campaigns. Start with RTI's. I have lodged quite a few and would confirm that it's very effective tool to get your due.

A school in our colony started illegal construction, we immediately complained to CM, MCD, DDA n Delhi Police too. The construction was stopped and we have filed RTI's to get the results of complaint. They dare not go against Public will.

If we engage, we lessen the distance between ourselves and those who govern. And we gain understanding and appreciation for our country that can only make it and the ongoing experiment of American democracy stronger.

Conclusion

You and I believe that democracy is the most worthy form of government. And we know that democracy cannot thrive indeed, cannot exist without the active participation of citizens.

So we must get into our bones the ideas of representative democracy: the consent of the governed, the institutions of democracy in our nation, the necessity of participation, and the avenues for action that are open to all of us.

Our engagement brings out the very best within us. Our nation demands not only our competence, but also our passion.

Being an Indian means that we are blessed to be part of this nation; we are concerned about a shortage of civic awareness and engagement; and we should act to effect meaningful change and accountable government through countless avenues for civic action. Above all, it means we are responsible for tending to our own democracy, making it work for all and transmitting it to our children better than we inherited it.

You accept the responsibility of an Indian.

VANDE MAATRAM
JAI HIND

सारे जहाँ से अच्छा हिन्दोस्ताँ हमारा
हम बुलबुलें हैं इसकी वो गुलसिताँ हमारा

ग़ुरबत में हों अगर हम रहता हो दिल वतन में
समझो वहीं हमें भी दिल है जहाँ हमारा

परबत वो सब से ऊँचा हमसायह आसमाँ का
वो संतरी हमारा वो पासबाँ हमारा

गोदी में खेलती है इसकी हज़ारों नदियाँ
गुलशन हैं जिनके दम से रश्क-ए-जनाँ हमारा

ए अब रूद-ए-गंगा वो दिन है याद तुझको
उतरा तिरे किनारे जब कारवाँ हमारा

मज़हब नहीं सिखाता आपस में बैर रखना
हिन्दी हैं हम वतन है हिन्दोस्ताँ हमारा

(Parts of the post taken from a overseas discussion)
What Does it Mean to be an Indian Citizen?
Citizen of a Independent, Democratic Nation

We are here today because the success of any democracy is determined by the participation of its citizens.

The survival of Democracy is never guaranteed, and that its success demands wisdom, action and even vigilance from its citizens.

What do we owe?

We begin with gratitude. As many have said, the joy of being an Independent is the joy of freedom and opportunity. We have been bequeathed freedom, justice and opportunity from the deeds and commitments even the spilled blood of our fore fathers who came before us. We did not earn the inheritance. A free and Democratic nation of unequaled freedom and opportunity, was given to us.

You and I are handed a work in progress one that can evolve for good or for ill. The deal is simple with freedom comes obligation, with liberty comes duty. If that deal is not kept, democracy is threatened. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought.

You and I must learn and we must teach our young the words we live by: the Constitution of Independent India.

Democracy is not fixed like a monarchy. It is dynamic. Democracy reflects the will and above all the action of each generation of citizens.

Why are we concerned?

But I am concerned, as I know you are. Why are we concerned?

We are concerned because too nowadays Indians lack a basic understanding of our democracy our institutions, our representative democracy, our obligation to those who came before, and what each of us can and must do to preserve the blessings of independence.

We don't even need to look at surveys or statistics to know that political participation and civic engagement is down basically across the board. People are voting less; paying less attention to their civic responsibility; ignoring the great lessons of the fight for freedom; participating less and complaining more.

There is a sense, particularly among many young people, that being an Indian is no big deal, with no obligation attached to it an endeavor not particularly worthy of their time and talent. I know of people who believe Independence day / Republic Day asi Just a OFF DAY or Holiday, to move out of their cities n relax in hill stations.

All of us are aware of a disconnect between people and their elected representatives. People do not trust them. People think they do the bidding of powerful interests. People think they are not relevant to their day-to-day lives. People think that citizenship is hollow. To some extent Politicians all of them, irrespective of Party lines, are responsible, but my dear this is democracy, why are we electing the ones we hate ?. And if we are not, than maybe we are not participating in the process.

You and I are concerned because we know that if we are apathetic, passive, and cynical about our democracy, then we will invite leaders who abuse power. There is an old observation: a society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.

You and I are concerned because we stand on a precipice. If Indians increasingly become disengaged, then the entire democratic enterprise is at risk. Indeed, sometimes I wonder about whether our democracy can continue as we know it if civic participation continues to decline as it has.

Why engage?

We have plenty of important things to worry about doing our jobs, paying our bills, taking care of our families. No doubt, these private interests are civic virtues in their own right.

We are good in this country at speaking out for and protecting our individual interest. But all of us can benefit from giving at least some of our attention to advancing the public interest, or as the founding fathers called it the common good.

Look around you. Many things need to be done in your community and country. Perhaps you are upset by the actions of your representative. Or the school that your children attend. Or the quality of your health care. Or the conditions of the roads that you drive on. Or even our nations foreign policy.

Don't misunderstand me. Tending your own business and the affairs of your family is important. But civic engagement is your way of influencing for the better your neighborhood, community, state and nation. If you and I become involved our cynicism will dissipate and our morale improve. We may even see life become better, richer, and fuller for our fellow citizens.

I know people who vote, walk out of the booth, and say and believe that their civic duty has been fully discharged. Voting is important but not enough. Do you know who does not disengage when the voting is done? Interest groups. They begin their work the day after an election they know that's when the real work begins. They know it and so should the rest of us.

If you are upset about the influence exerted by special interests; if you are upset about the actions of a public official; if you are upset about the condition of your local school; even if you are upset about a pothole in front of your house civic engagement is a way of taking action to make your corner of the world better. What do we have on our agenda that is more important?

The key to good governance is simple: it is to hold power accountable. Civic engagement does just that. We engage because it improves our democracy, and it is the only way to make our government responsive to the people.

What can we do?

How----
I can suggest few Options, You suggest and we make a list of things we can do, implement and get on with. We must remember each one of us is an important component in the Up-liftment, growth n development of Society, Colony, City and Country.

You can start by:
1. Stop throwing the garbage on roads or anywhere

2. Start segregating the garbage n ensure separate garbage collection arrangement in your locality through your councilor. Remember they have to yield to your requirements as they are elected by YOU.

3. Make sure you stop your vehicle before the Pedestrian crossing/ Zebra lines on Road. Don't bother if others don't. India is a country of followers not Leaders, Be a leader, set a precedence, people will follow.

4. If there are no marked pedestrian crossing on roads around your place, demand the same from Traffic police n the Municipal Corp. of your area.

5. Make sure you also cross roads at the crossings only not anywhere you feel like, even if you have to walk a few meters. Walking otherwise is good for your Health and as one of our group member said, may be you'll fall in love the second time

6. Make a positive contribution to developments of parks in your locality. In the times of concrete Jungles, these green areas serve our lungs.

7. Plan to have Rain water harvesting arrangements in your house n more importantly in parks of your locality. Water shortage will hit all of us in a bad way in future if we all don't plan it today.

8. Force your councilors to have your drains cleaned properly every month, to avoid breeding of harmful flies n all.

9. Save Electricity n Petrol/ Diesel as much as you can. Not only it'll save you money, India spends a lot on import of fuel, contribute towards saving that.

10. Show patience n respect to our elders, not only family members, all in society. We must appreciate, they have spent their lives building this nation, bringing up families. If possible start free kitchens to get them free food at least once a day.

I know you all may feel, Faltu ka lecture, dramebaazi, but Dear Friends, we should implement few things, as it's we the 125 Crore Indians who make this country not 540 odd parliamentarians. Or few thousand legislators.

Kindly forward your comments and ideas add more to these 10 points.

We engage by looking around us, seeing something that needs fixing, and doing something about it:

We can stay more informed about issues in our own communities, as well as the issues of the state and nation.

We should vote in elections and hold each of our representatives accountable - from the president on down to a town council or commissioner.

We can volunteer for charitable causes and organizations.

We can join the sometimes messy, rough and tumble dialogue of democracy by writing letters to local papers or elected officials, asking questions or advocating positions.

We can organize petition drives or letter writing campaigns. Start with RTI's. I have lodged quite a few and would confirm that it's very effective tool to get your due.

A school in our colony started illegal construction, we immediately complained to CM, MCD, DDA n Delhi Police too. The construction was stopped and we have filed RTI's to get the results of complaint. They dare not go against Public will.

If we engage, we lessen the distance between ourselves and those who govern. And we gain understanding and appreciation for our country that can only make it and the ongoing experiment of American democracy stronger.

Conclusion

You and I believe that democracy is the most worthy form of government. And we know that democracy cannot thrive indeed, cannot exist without the active participation of citizens.

So we must get into our bones the ideas of representative democracy: the consent of the governed, the institutions of democracy in our nation, the necessity of participation, and the avenues for action that are open to all of us.

Our engagement brings out the very best within us. Our nation demands not only our competence, but also our passion.

Being an Indian means that we are blessed to be part of this nation; we are concerned about a shortage of civic awareness and engagement; and we should act to effect meaningful change and accountable government through countless avenues for civic action. Above all, it means we are responsible for tending to our own democracy, making it work for all and transmitting it to our children better than we inherited it.

You accept the responsibility of an Indian.

VANDE MAATRAM
JAI HIND

सारे जहाँ से अच्छा हिन्दोस्ताँ हमारा
हम बुलबुलें हैं इसकी वो गुलसिताँ हमारा

ग़ुरबत में हों अगर हम रहता हो दिल वतन में
समझो वहीं हमें भी दिल है जहाँ हमारा

परबत वो सब से ऊँचा हमसायह आसमाँ का
वो संतरी हमारा वो पासबाँ हमारा

गोदी में खेलती है इसकी हज़ारों नदियाँ
गुलशन हैं जिनके दम से रश्क-ए-जनाँ हमारा

ए अब रूद-ए-गंगा वो दिन है याद तुझको
उतरा तिरे किनारे जब कारवाँ हमारा

मज़हब नहीं सिखाता आपस में बैर रखना
हिन्दी हैं हम वतन है हिन्दोस्ताँ हमारा

(Parts of the post taken from a overseas discussion)

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