Sunday, August 5, 2007

Feelings are always mutual

Trust, the biggest equity we have lost over the years

For a longtime I had been hearing amazing things about the Delhi Metro. So some three months back I along with my family decided to take a joyride to verify the veracity of the information around the Metro, we took our journey from Connaught Place to Dwarka, and back. We were all completely amazed, not by the novelty of the trip, but for the manner in which one can sense discipline at every stage, everything and everybody seemed to be so organized. Not only that the trains were meticulously clean (without a trace of litter) but also the fact that starting from getting tickets to boarding the train, everything seemed unbelievably ‘in place’.

So while enjoying our ride I kept wondering that are we the very same people, who are so very hostile when we utilize other forms of public utilities? Why is it that we find it so very difficult to conduct ourselves in the similar manner when we are traveling in public transport buses or trains? What is that, that makes us behave so differently in different environments? Why is it that the very same people on one hand park their cars in the middle of the highways and answer the call of nature, on the other, do not do the same on the Delhi-Noida-Delhi flyover or Mumbai Pune expressway? Or for that matter why is it that we the very same people manage to keep pin drop silence in Bahai establishments and run a riot in similar other places of worship/meditation.

Well many observers are of the opinion that environment has a lot of bearing on people’s behaviour, but more than that; I feel, this behaviour is a manifestation of the social phenomenon, called ‘trust’, and the lack of it. Though unfortunate but the fact remains that we’ve managed to evolve into a society thriving on complete ‘distrust’, to an extent that we cannot even trust to leave our shoes safely before stepping into the temple! History certainly stands a reason for such an abnormal evolution but the biggest damage has been caused by our successive governments, post independence. It goes beyond doubt that ‘trust’ is the biggest equity that our successive governments have lost with each passing year. Infinite claims backed up by sub-standard or no delivery has set in so deeply in general consciousness that today people at large have become cynical towards everything around them. It is for everyone to observe that whenever the establishment has distrusted and disrespected citizenry by offering them sub-standard services (or no services, particularly in the areas of social education, health, justice delivery etc.) and physical infrastructure, people have reciprocated with equal vengeance.

On the contrary whenever the citizenry’s trust is restored in form of quality services like in the case of Delhi Metro, they respect it. It is needless to state that high trust societies have always reaped higher dividends which is even higher than the synergies that are created in a societal framework. Examples are galore in form of Japan, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Unfortunately we have miserably failed in creating such strong framework. Worst is the fact that we posses the very same virtues of high trust, when it comes to families but failed to replicate the same as a nation!


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