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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

education for all

The decision of the police of Hyderabad deserves praise – those who dislike metal headgears are made to participate in compulsory classes conducted by the uniformed custodians of the Law. Each such session reportedly goes on for the better part of two hours, therefore a perceptible change has been observed in the attitude of the public, and there has been an increase in demand of these headgears, fondly called helmets!

I think this strategy could be extended to cover other areas, areas that are normally neglected by most of us. We take it for granted that certain basic norms of decency need not be taught – they should come naturally. Unfortunately, such seldom happens. A few examples will elaborate my point and throw some light on some of these obnoxious behaviors of ours.

Let us take our excellent pastime of spitting anywhere and everywhere. It could be just plain spit; it could be a concoction of saliva with tobacco juice or the chemical compound created by munching betel leaves stuffed with a variety of ingredients. The results are the spread of filth, creating environments conducive to the increase in population of mosquitoes, flies and generating innumerable opportunities for the medics to thrive by acting as catalysts for the propagation of disease. The surprising part is that this dirty habit is not restricted to illiterates but also to the educated.

As kids, we were taught something called table manners - that one does not rattle knives, spoons or forks, that one does not make noises while munching the food, that one does not slurp liquids, that one does not belch at the table etc.. Of course, in most of our homes, we are not accustomed to take our meals at the table. Even if we do, we find it more convenient to use our hands. Fine, but when we dine out we have to follow these basic norms of good table manners. Especially, in today’s fast world, when most youngsters have innumerable opportunities to leave the country for better prospects abroad, non adherence to these basic norms of decency create negative impressions in the minds of people.

Taking cue from the police of Hyderabad, let us hope some other official agency or NGO comes to the forefront to tackle these and other such evils.

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