BY IFA SALDANHA
If civic sense was inculcated in the children if not at home then at least in the ‘second home’ – the school, the situation in Goa would not be so alarming with major problems like sewage, garbage etc threatening to create a catastrophe which may be impossible for the government authorities to combat.
Is it not absurd to expect the government to root out these problems created by around 14 lakh people in addition to the floating tourists amplifying the situation more so when the government is trapped in a financial crunch? Would it not be more logical and practical if every responsible member of the society had to contribute a bit to eradicate these evils perpetrated by their own selves which is portraying a negative image of Goa to the world affecting the tourism industry besides causing serious health hazards?
Will it not be apt to recall the age-old advice given by the late president of America to ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for the country and move forward to do the needful? The problems of sanitation due to garbage are mounting which prove that Goans though cent per cent literate lack basic civic sense which reflect on the failure of the parents and teachers to train their wards to meet the basic needs independently by being work conscious.
It is a human tendency to crave for total freedom and live like a parasite and be free of any burden but burden others. “No man is free we are all in chains” said Jean Jacques Rousseau. It implies that only a mad man is free. It should be made mandatory to train the children to tackle the basic need of sanitation at a very tender age when the behavior gets imprinted.
It was a very wise suggestion provided by the Environment Minister, Ms Alina Saldanha to the school authorities at Chinchinim to train the children about garbage disposal for which marks would be allotted. And overprotected parents should be grateful to her instead of condemning her sensible decision on the pretext of the child contracting infections. In fact the sensible teachers would guide the ignorant children to use all safety measures for segregation. This wouldn’t only help in controlling garbage but in building the character of the child in learning to be independent human, and responsible and not burdening others besides giving importance to dignity of labour which is lacking in Goans thus destroying the environment.
Gradually the child would also realise that it is not possible for the scavengers to perform this Herculean task being limited in number which would result in child learning to be more objective and pragmatic. And in times of emergency created due to unforeseen circumstances would it not be imperative to be prepared for any exigencies of life.
When I commented on the litter in the neighbours compound pat came the reply “my maid is not well”. When I queried further jokingly why in the absence of the maid the occupants could not do the necessary, sheepishly the neighbor replied “we are not used to doing menial work.” This endorses my view that children should be trained to do any type of work which would make them self sufficient. This globalised world where only fittest survive, demands that the child is well equipped to meet any contingences of life else he would be like fish out of water.
Educational process seems to be a failure today as it caters only to the intellectual aspect of the child ignoring other important aspects leading to the lopsided growth of the personality of the child. The child abhors menial work. He is either glued to studies and other technological gadgets leading to physical and mental problems. His immune system is very weak as he has lived a sheltered life thus succumbing to all sorts of infections and serious ailments. For this very reason, the child should be trained to do all types of work which will make him healthy, wealthy and wise. Else as adult he will always be dependent on others and grow up into handicapped personality and will be always subjected to exploitation.
Ability and desire to do all types of work even menial work will help us to overcome all inherited prejudices that menial work should be done only by the downtrodden and the poor which prevailed during the unjust times of slavery causing conflicts and widening our differences stripping us of human feelings towards each other which is a stumbling block to progress. If we analyse the behavior of advanced industrialised nations like Germany and the US for that matter even Asian countries and the countries in the Middle-East how they are spick and span. The reason is self service and hard work.
(The writer is a resident of Cansaulim)