Civic Education

Civic Education and why every good citizen should have these basic civic habits

Civic Education

People generally talk of school and college education or technical and vocational education. And that is supposed to be the end of matter. But education does not stop here. One has to get something more than a degree or diploma in a particular science or art. She has to be educated in art of being a good citizen. Civil education is more necessary and important than any other education.

Now what is citizenship or a good citizen? In a sense, we all are citizens. In India all adult Indians and many other foreigners who have permanently settled here are citizens.You cannot kill or injure n Indian citizen without becoming liable for punishment. Nor can you take away a citizen’s property without being arrested on the charge of theft. Then again every citizen has to obey the laws of the state, has to pay taxes and in general behave as he is expected to. So long as he does it, he is regarded as a good enough citizen.

But is he really a good citizen and is this all we mean by citizenship? At heart most of us have nothing but contempt for laws and regulations and if there were not the fear of punishment, we would break may of them. Many few persons willingly pay the various taxes they are required to pay. In fact they look upon them as a great nuisance. They want the state to look after their life, property and comforts but they fail to realize and discharge their responsibilities and duties towards the state. Now a good citizen has nothing but respect for the laws of his country. He does not tolerate them as necessary evil but he realizes their value and respects them. He does not cut a neighbors throat because he knows that murder is a crime, something which goes against the laws of the society and not because he knows he would be hanged for it.Similarly he pays taxes because it is his duty to do so and knows that the state cannot look after his welfare unless he and his fellow citizens cooperate in proving the necessary funds.

But why so? Because citizenship teaches that a person must respect the rights of others as much as his own, and that the laws are there to protect people from the attacks on their rights. If you want a privilege for yourself only, and if you want that no one but you should enjoy that privilege, you cannot be regarded as a good citizen. A good citizen knows that in the eyes of law all men are equal, that he cannot claim any superiority and privilege, which is denied to others. Law is the guardian of liberty,and this is never forgotten by a good citizen. He also knows that, as Charles Kingsley says, “There are two freedoms-the false where a man is free to do what he likes; a true, where a man is free to do what he ought.” Citizenship teaches that the latter is much better than the former and that it is this freedom which is conferred on us by law.

The question of having a correct approach to freedom is indeed very important. In society nobody can enjoy which is called unlimited freedom. Personal liberty cannot be enjoyed at the cost of social liberty. It is question of give and take, of mutual accommodation and considerateness. One has to curtail one’s liberty so that others enjoy their liberty. This explains that why in big towns there is only one way traffic on certain roads and motorists are not allowed to use their headlights and horns. These laws may curtail the liberty of the motorists, but they are necessary to maintain the safety of people. Hence one has to respect the laws made by the state in the interest of the greatest good of the greatest number.

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