- A good citizen attaches equal importance to rights and duties.
- He is self-disciplined.
- He opposes the authorities when necessary.
- He never opposes for the sake of opposition.
- He is a social worker.
- He respects the laws of his country.
A good citizen is one who knows his rights and duties as a citizen. He asserts his rights and performs his duties with equal zest. His rights in fact imply his duties. In all democracies, an individual enjoys political as well as civic rights. Political rights consist of right to vote, right to freedom of expression and faith, right to movement etc. Civic rights are of as vital importance as the political rights. These enable an individual to live in a civilized manner. These may not be laid down strictly but they are very important.
A good citizen defends his political and civic rights very : zealously. The State helps him in that through law and justice. Violation of these rights is often punishable by law. There is, however a tendency to emphasize the rights of citizenship a bit too much: We must know that rights and duties are correlative. One’s right implies another’s duty and vice versa. This correlation is never lost sight of by a good citizen.
For instance, a citizen is free to organise his life as he likes. Technically the position may be all right. But in actual practice there are many checks on one’s freedom. I cannot build a house anywhere I like. I cannot build it the way I like. I must conform to the municipal bye-laws. These laws have been framed in accordance with certain common considerations. I cannot throw the refuse of my house any where i like. I cannot walk in the middle of the road. I cannot blow a trumpet at midnight. If I have the right to do it, my neighbours have the right to sleep peacefully. It is therefore my duty to see that their sleep is not disturbed by me.
In other words, there is no such thing as the ultimate freedom. Let us take another instance. I am. free to do anything legally. I can express any opinion. I can criticise the government. But this freedom is not unlimited either. There are checks provided by the government. Some of these checks are necessary. Otherwise I am likely to abuse my freedom of speech. I may talk irresponsibly. I may indulge in criticism that is destructive. Who is to decide upon the limits that I should put on my freedom of speech? It is a difficult question. The State can curb all independent thinking under the guise of necessary limits. But if I . am a good citizen, I will impose some discipline on myself. Just as in private conversation I impose some check upon the expression of my opinions, I will see that I do not violate the law.
Very often people belonging to opposition parties forget this consideration, or they ignore it. They have a tendency to put their party interests above national interests. The oppostion is always on the offensive in a democracy. Even the most just actions of the party in power are criticised. A good citizen knows how to keep a balance between his party and his country.
We must emphasize the role of a good citizen in the nonpolitical sphere. He is not a political being altogether. He is a social being too. As a member of society he has certain obligations. He must see that he fulfils those obligations. He must pay proper attention to the social problems and contribute his bit, for their Solution. Illiteracy, poverty, supperstition, disease and a host of other problems demand the attention of a good citizen. He has to think about these and their evils. He must give his best to the society. He must not let his energies and talents go waște. It will be a social loss. A good citizen thus knows the social implications of his actions. He knows that the consequences of his actions go far beyond his personal life.
Unfortunately, our people do not have a good training in – citizenship. Aş yet they have a tendency to abuse their rights. Sometimes they do not know the rights they have. This is due to ignorance. As the facilities for education expand this ignorance will disappear.
After independence, we see a common tendency among people to flout authority. This is perhaps a natural reaction against centuries of foreign rule. As years go by and people get used to reedom, this abuse of freedom will also disappear. A good citizen, normally speaking, respects law. We have already mentioned the exceptional circumstances in which even a good citizen may defy law. In normal conditions he obeys the law. If he is liable to be taxed he pays it. He does not evade taxes because it is a.. crime as well as a sin. He knows that his own good is linked with the good of others. He does not therefore indulge in dishonest practices. He does not hoard. He does not try to influence the government officials for his private ends. He does not offer bribes.
In this way we can give a long list of do’s and don’ts for a good citizen. But the heart of the matter lies in the well known ancient proverb:
“Do not do unto others what you would not have others do unto you.”
This is the basis of law and justice. This is also the basis of good citizenship. Once this is recognised all other things will follow. Finally, as hinted above, an ignorant or a selfish man can never be a good citizen. If he is ignorant, he does not know which rights to defend and which duties to perform. If he is timid, he lacks the moral fibre to defend and encroachment on his rights. If he is selfish, be lacks the generosity to respect other’s convenience and comfort.