Recently, I overheard an interesting conversation between two persons. The conversation started with the man commenting on the bad habits of Indians (littering, smoking in public, spitting, urinating and defecating in public, breaking traffic rules, etc., etc.) and proclaiming that he had never seen such things in the 20 years that he’d lived in USA.
The woman replied, “Our people are so disgusting! They’ll never improve! It’s so frustrating!” and continued, “What about the function? Are all preparations done?”
The man replied that everything was under control, and added, “‘Didi’ (elder sister), I was really impressed by your husband’s contacts! Everybody gave us special treatment! Do you know I’m saving a hefty sum on the catering bill because the caterer offered to accept half the payment in cash, which means no tax on that amount!! He said he does this only for special people like Doctor Saab!”
Wow! This man had studied in USA and worked there for over a decade. After waxing eloquent about the lousy habits of Indians, he proudly proclaimed that he had saved money by doing something illegal, which had been facilitated by a highly respected medical practitioner!!! This man and his brother-in-law, both highly educated, did something that they knew was illegal.
We educated Indians are experts at criticizing the visible bad habits of our countrymen, but we ourselves have some really bad habits, which we do nothing about because we think they are invisible.
1. Have I always paid Income Tax in full, declaring all my income?
2. Have I never bought/used smuggled goods?
3. Have I never bribed a policeman or a government servant?
4. Have I never spoken on my cellphone while driving?
5. Have I never engaged child labour?
6. Have I never used official facilities (car, telephone, etc.) for personal use?
7. Have I never used software, books or CDs that are pirated?
I have listed 7 questions, but there are many more. We should ask ourselves these questions. If we can answer YES to all these questions, then, we have the right to criticise others. If not, we must first try to change ourselves for the better before trying to change others.
Many of the people who litter, smoke in public, spit, or urinate and defecate in public do not even realize that they are doing something wrong. In some cases, people urinate and defecate in public because they have no access to toilets.
However, we educated Indians indulge in wrong acts knowing that what we are doing is wrong! Further, we are not constrained by circumstances. For example, the man who paid half the catering bill in cash could easily have afforded to pay the tax on the entire bill.
Let us all remember: “When you point one finger at someone else, three of your own fingers point back to you.”
This post is being shared for Indispire Edition 24.