I’ve become an instant admirer and fan of Gerard Plee.
It’s quite likely that you’ve never heard of him; most people in the world wouldn’t have, except the residents of a small town in France called Lheraule, of which Plee is the mayor.
Plee has introduced "rules to have citizens ejected from the town hall if they don't say "hello" and "thank you" when addressing workers." Plee said that "the new rules are aimed at maintaining the "social standards in the municipality" after a poll earlier in the year found more than half of France's residents cited "a lack of manners" as their top source of stress, France 24 reported Monday.” More details here.
Forget about saying ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ or other social niceties. What we’re used to seeing in India is far removed from civility, as this commercial for The Hindu demonstrated. Watch it here.
It’s not just parliamentarians who have no clue about manners and social standards. Take a look at what happened in Thane a few days ago, when “Nitin Nikam, a corporator of the Kalyan–Dombivli civic body, was busy slapping an elderly man. The victim was a mukkadam of a contractor and he was being punished for an alleged bad piece of work on a broken drinking water pipeline. It was not a mere slap but a series of nine, alternating between the left and the right cheek of the man with a mop of white hair,” Firstpost had reported.
Nikam could be forgiven, as could the students depicted in the commercial for The Hindu. After all, Nikam is but a corporator, and he would doubtless have seen his seniors, members of parliament, doing much the same.
"The Lok Sabha faced severe embarrassment on Tuesday when several Left and DMK MPs, who are partners in the UPA Government, scuffled with each other. Many Left MPs surrounded Union Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu when he was about to introduce the Indian Maritime University Bill, which proposes to shift the Maritime University from Kolkata to Chennai. Left MPs allegedly snatched a copy of the Bill from Baalu. DMK leaders including Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam, formed wall around Baalu," reported IBNlive.
And here we read about the Mayor of a small town passing a rule that requires, nay demands, politeness and civility.
We’ve got a long way to go.