Common sense is the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way. This is indispensable to our everyday life. People devoid of common sense are sure to be censured everywhere. But this common sense, that is supposed to be common in our daily activities, is really getting uncommon among the people around us nowadays.
It is very usual that when you hurt somebody unwillingly, you will say sorry and when you are favoured by someone, then you will show him gratitude by giving thanks. Additionally, you will greet others by offering salam or saying hello when you meet someone. But this practice is getting very uncommon in our society. Once while I was returning home on a bus, a man going to the back from the front of the bus hit severely on my head with his elbow perhaps unwillingly. Since I was hurt very badly, I was wincing in pain. But that man did not either say sorry or even turned back to see how I felt.Elderly people cover almost 7.5 per cent of our country’s population and their number is increasing considerably as the overall quality of life has increased a lot for many reasons. These people, known as senior citizens, obviously deserve sympathy and extra care from the young, energetic ones since they are comparatively of less physical strength. They are given priority in almost all countries in seating in the public transports by getting the front position in different types of queues. But in our country, they are often seen standing even inside the crammed bus, train, etc. with huge difficulties though many young, energetic guys continue to be seated. Similar situation is seen in the queues where they do not often get service earlier.
Fruit peels like that of banana, mango, etc. are slippery in nature. This may cause a serious accident if someone steps on them. But these slippery peels are often thrown on the walkways without bothering for the probable serious accident. Once a relative of one of my colleagues came to Dhaka to see a patient who was admitted in BIRDEM hospital for treatment. But he fell in a serious accident tearing his ligament after slipping on a banana peel left on the street. How pathetic it is when a completely fit and healthy man is suddenly facing disability just due to lack of common sense of some person. If you advise them to put these in the garbage, they will start mocking you as though what you have said is not right at all. These people are leaving injurious objects in the walkways making our surroundings dirty.
List of activities lacking common sense of some nonsensical people is not small. Many city dwellers throw their garbage wherever they can. If we just look at the drains we will find everything including polythene, bottle, can, torn cloth, shoes, bag, pillow, blanket, tin, wood sheet, brick, etc. therein and these kinds of objects block the smooth flow of waste water. Our Dhaka city turns into a river in just one hour’s rain due to such imprudent and nonsensical activities of the city dwellers. Thus, spending multi million for ensuring the smooth flow of sewerage or drain water goes in vain.
Footpaths are for the pedestrians to walk safely. But these walkways are always kept occupied by the hawkers. Building developers often keep construction materials including iron rods, bricks, cement, sand, etc. on the footpaths. Tea stalls are sometimes set up with benches for the customers to sit on also on the footpaths. Footpaths are sometimes kept unusable by some stupid people urinating or defecation there. So pedestrians are compelled to walk on the roads of speedy vehicles making them vulnerable to accidents. People are urged by the government to always use foot over-bridges which are often occupied by the stalkers, hawkers, etc. which dissuades people to use them for crossing roads. Building developers often carry on their construction works not setting the safety nets around the building under construction to keep the pedestrians safe. Welding sparks sometimes fall on the completely exposed roads and this may cause burn injury to random passers-by. Smokers continue smoking even while walking through crowded areas. Sometimes pedestrians get their dresses burnt due to burning cigarettes. Smokers smoke before the non-smokers even without asking their permission which in turn makes a lot of people passive smokers though they are not smokers. Spitting in public places, though prohibited in countries like the UK, Singapore, etc. with the intention of controlling communicable diseases is done everywhere. Motor vehicle drivers use horns for no reason even before educational institutions, hospitals, etc. where silence is always required. Some vehicles use hydraulic horn even in the city areas that make the city dwellers suffer noise pollution. Average sound level in the prime areas of Dhaka city is 80-110 dB which is almost twice the maximum noise level that can be tolerated by humans.
Common sense, though a very pivotal social ethic, is uncommon everywhere around us because people often disregard it thinking it to be an issue of very low priority, creating a lot of problems. So practice of common sense everywhere is in urgent need and its start should be in ourselves. Local government bodies and the civil societies should come forward in raising public consciousness about practicing common sense. There should be lessons on practicing common sense in children’s textbooks which may result in creating a civilised nation in the future. Since many of our people are not habituated to practicing common sense, the government may also think of making new laws to make the people more civilised.
The writer is a Joint Director of Bangladesh Bank.