Let's learn to be decent

Kashmir is traditionally known for hospitality and cordiality. We are the people who treat others with love  and respect. But I think those values seem to have disappeared. I am a Kashmiri and I have a strong belief in my ethos and culture, but of late what I have observed has utterly disappointed me.

I am on a visit to Kashmir as I live abroad. Recently I was in one of the busiest markets of our Srinagar city. What I encountered really created a bad taste in me. While being on a shop on the Residency Road, I witnessed some salesmen behaving in such an uncivilised manner with some customers. They were so rude that I – for a moment  – thought that is this the same Kashmir that I had seen and experienced decades back. `If you want to take it, take it, otherwise leave it’. Is this the way you talk to your own people. Is this the business ethic, the work ethic, the social and cultural ethic that we have been taught by our elders and teachers.

Is it the same place where a shopkeeper would stand in respect for a customer in general and for a female customer in particular. Though we may not have all such black sheep in our community, but the mere presence of some elements gives a bad name to our culture and to our community as well.

Who is responsible for this downfall of manners and civility. On my way back home, I was asking this question to myself. We have a question to answer. If we belong to a civilised and sophisticated nation, then that demands a different approach. We have to learn to be decent with our fellow beings. Though I am not sermonising, but I am narrating the pain I felt on seeing these ill-mannered people extending their ill-manners to others.

It’s not enough that we brag of being an abode of saints. We have to live up to that standard also. For that we need a drastic change in our attitude. Ethics apart, it’s not good for their business too. Business also demands cordiality. As better business people we have to learn to be nice to the people we meet. But when you humiliate your own customer base you are losers. On social, moral and cultural front, you have already lost, but on the economic front also you have suffered a loss. We can only prosper when we know the value of decency. Economic prosperity is not the only key to the development of a nation, it’s the cultural and social emancipation and decency that counts more than anything else. Let’s make a pledge with ourselves that we make decency a hallmark of our character. That will not only make us better businessmen, better citizens, better social reformers, better teachers, better doctors, better professionals, but above all better human beings.