Indian families are always crowing about their rich culture, traditions, ancient civilization and our hallowed “Sanskriti”. If we look around and observe the behavior of children and adults, it is not difficult to see that “Sanskriti” and “Sabhyata” have become ancient history. Maurice Baring, quoted, “Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.”
Today's glitzy ad-driven world, the lack of the innate sense of values in elders themselves leads to children not having even the minutest inkling of what cultured, polite behavior means or is all about. It is not macho; it is not modern; it is outdated to be courteous. Me first. That sums up all about what it is like today. Where is the Lukhnavi tehzeeb? Entombed in the Imambaras. Eric Hoffer said, “Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.”
(1) Queues: At bus stations or anywhere, adults and children consider it “smart” to jump queues and get there first showing an appalling lack of consideration and social etiquette.
(2) Jostling and shoving to get into trains and buses: This is so common in India and is accepted as normal. We cry ourselves hoarse when it comes to showing consideration and respect for women, the infirm and the aged, even reserve seats! The ground reality is radically different.
(3) Adults treating children: It is common to see adults ordering children about, treating them as lesser beings and showing them scant consideration and courtesy. Children learn and naturally continue this tradition.
(4) On the road: While road rage is a global phenomenon, the Indian roads are an appalling chaos with drivers ignoring all traffic rules and even the commonest and basic forms of courtesy.
Honking horns incessantly, breaking and turning at whim and if anyone dares protest, exhibiting the rudest possible behavior. Laissez faire at its best.
(5) Cell phones: Nowhere is the lack of basic etiquette as glaringly apparent as in the use of cell phones in public. In movie theaters, in trains, in stations, we see people talking loudly or playing music on their mobiles with scant consideration for others. “Why can't I do what I want to do?” Try explaining.
Ethnic slurs are such an age old tradition and one can see examples in “Bollywood Movies” or Hindi Cinema, the northerners make fun of everyone else from India and consider them as lesser beings.
(6) Profanity: No restrictions here and it is even considered macho!
(7) Parents fondly looking on as their children run wild in public places. What can you expect when they did not have the benefit of a good upbringing? “after all they are children..” is the excuse.
(8) Smoking wherever and whenever you please, even in closed spaces. It does not occur to the person that other people deserve any consideration. It is “I” all the way.
(9) Shopkeepers and shop assistants are rude in an effort to cow down customers and appear strong and overwhelming. “Take it or leave it; we did not ask you to buy from here did we?”
(10) Loud and brash customers arguing with shopkeepers. It does not occur to them that differences can be resolved with courtesy and politeness. “I have pots of money and that alone gives me the right to talk and behave the way I want.”