A good citizen is one who is a good person. There seems to be no scope for
differentiating between the two - for a weak or a bad person cannot be a good
citizen and it holds true the other way round also. It is a man's everyday
behavior and his everyday virtues which count and contribute to his character. A
good citizen is one whose behavior is consistent with the canons of self-respect
and social justice and he should be reliable both in peace and war.
The first and foremost quality asked of a good citizen is patriotism. He
should have a genuine love for his country and should have a sense of
involvement in its day to day affairs, in its economic policies and its
international relationships. All this cannot be achieved overnight: it is the
product of a good training and a good heritage and various other factors
contribute towards patriotic feelings. The first among these is the right kind
of upbringing. If a child hears only stories of betrayal and listens to a
discussion of the various methods of making easy money, he is unlikely to imbibe
any good qualities. The hand that rocks the cradle shapes the world. Honesty,
integrity and self-respect are the qualities that can only be nurtured at home.
These form the foundation of good citizenship.
A home and a family are a miniature group. If a person gets his values and
priorities correct while living in it, he will make a good citizen. A good
citizen must put the interest of his country before his own personal interest
and he should not enter into any contract which may prove harmful to the
interest of his country and he must do his share of the work and share due
responsibilities. These are the qualities which add up to strength and
character. A good citizen puts his country before self. There are many jobs
which if correctly performed add to the national progress. Industries, when
expanded properly, become a part of national wealth. They provide opportunities
for employment and development. A farmer, a teacher, a soldier each one is
important in his own role. He who loves his country puts his heart in his job
and does it to the best of his ability. A good citizen stays away from
anti-social activities like smuggling and corruption.
It is not only the passive virtue of not being anti-social which is
important. but the positive quality of asserting oneself, being fearless enough
to point out and face anti-social elements. It is not enough to slink out of
their way and say that we are not concerned. Courage is not only physical but
also moral: one does not require it only when faced by an enemy or in a moment
of crisis but in day to day decisions and activities. Courage is intimately
connected with self-respect. A man who is servile and can stoop down to any
level will not he brave and will not be honest. A man who has a great deal of
self-respect will he courageous in the face of odds.
Another thing which is necessary is good health. There may be circumstances
which may be beyond our control; but by and large it is the duty of a good
citizen to look after his health. For if a man is healthy. he can bestir himself
for others; if he is healthy he can do his duty and can afford to he brave; lie
can also save the of many precious man-hours. A healthy mind finds its natural
habitat in a healthy body.
Added to all these is the sense of pride a person has in his cultural
tradition, the feeling of identification he has with his background. However,
this pride should not be allowed to deteriorate into chauvinism. It should be
seasoned with the proper degree of humility. No country is too small to be on
its own; and no country too big to learn from others. And a country needs its
citizens to be free and fearless to make it strong. For as the poet has said:
Not gold but only men can make
A nation good and strong
Men who for truth and honor's
Stand fast and suffer long.