Here is a compilation of essays on ‘Citizenship’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Citizenship’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Citizenship
- Essay on the Definition of Citizenship
- Essay on the Difference between a Citizen and an Alien
- Essay on the Classification of Aliens
- Essay on the Classifications of Citizens
- Essay on the Methods of Acquisition of Citizenship
- Essay on the Methods of Loss of Citizenship
- Essay on the Duties of the Citizens
- Essay on the Qualities for Good Citizenship
- Essay on the Hindrances to Good Citizenship
Essay # 1. Definition of Citizenship:
In the literal sense a person who lives in a city is said to be a citizen. But in political science we use this terminal different sense. To find the real meaning of the term we are to go back to ancient Greece. Aristotle, the father of political science, called a person a citizen who would take a direct and active part in the administration of the state.
Since the states in ancient Greece were as small as the cities of Greece it was possible for the residents of the city-state to make law, to adjudicate and even enforce the law. These citizens did not include the slaves, women and manual workers. In such a case the number of the citizens was just half of the entire population. The position was not very different in the medieval Europe. There were serfs in the place of the slaves.
The position is quite different in modern nation-states, where all adult people are citizens who need not take an active part in the administration of the country, because it is not possible for the entire population of a vast country to meet together and make law and interpret it or enforce it.
A citizen of a modern state is defined by Witelo Latin Vitello:
“A member of a civil society, bound to it by certain duties, subjected to its authority and an equal recipient of its advantage”. Thus Vitello’s citizen is a member of the state, he owes allegiance to it and enjoys the protection and benefits granted by it.
Harold J. Laski gave a quite different definition. Laski’s citizenship is “the contribution of one’s instructed judgment to the public good.” This is the most positive outlook of citizenship. According to Laski, a citizen is to contribute his utmost ability towards the material and moral advancement of the state.
With the progress of the states the concept of citizenship also underwent some metamorphosis. Now the stress is given on the political rights as against the civil rights, a citizen out of allegiance to the state should be prepared to lay down his life for the sake of the state.
Essay # 2. Difference between a Citizen and an Alien:
The entire population of a state may be divided into two groups – citizens and aliens. The citizens and the aliens have some common elements. Both reside in the state, obey the laws of the state, pay taxes and enjoy civil rights like the right to life and the right to property. Here the similarities end.
The citizens and the aliens differ from each other on several grounds. A citizen in rights and duties outstrips an alien. It is the political rights which are peculiar to the citizens that constitute the touchstone between the citizens and the aliens. Thus a citizen is entitled to enjoy such political rights as the right to vote, right to hold public office, right to stand in the election in the representative bodies, right to be protected when he is in a foreign state, etc. An alien has none of these rights.
A citizen has a right to reside in the state permanently. An alien can live in the state only temporarily. He may be asked to leave the state any time. A citizen owes allegiance to the state, but an alien has no such loyalty to the state where he is an alien.
Essay # 3. Classification of Aliens:
There are three classes of aliens:
They are resident aliens, temporary residents (or tourists) and diplomatic representatives.
We shall discuss them one by one:
1. Resident aliens:
The resident aliens are those who accept the state as their new home for permanent residence. They have no mind to go back to their original home state. They obtain a certificate to that effect. This type of aliens ultimately become a naturalised citizen.
2. Temporary residents or tourists:
The temporary residents are tourists in the state and stay for a temporary period there. The foreign students or foreign teachers or foreign doctors or experts belong to this category.
3. Diplomatic representatives:
This type of aliens includes Ambassadors, High Commissioners, the visiting heads of states like the President, the King or Queen, the Prime Ministers and other dignitaries. Unlike other type of aliens they enjoy some privileges and immunities. They are not subject to the laws of the visiting states.
Essay # 4. Classifications of Citizens:
There can be two kinds of citizens. They are natural citizens and naturalised citizens.
We shall discuss them below:
1. Natural citizens:
A person is called the natural citizen when he is a citizen by birth. He is entitled to enjoy all the civil and political rights in the state. He owes his allegiance to the state. His status is higher than that of the naturalised citizens.
2. Naturalised citizens:
A naturalised citizen is one who was originally an alien and who has acquired citizenship of the adopting country by fulfilling certain conditions. Generally there is no difference between a natural and naturalised citizen with regard to the rights and duties. But in the USA a distinction is held out between the two. There a naturalised citizen is denied some vital political rights. For example, a naturalised citizen cannot become the President of the USA. The presidential candidate must be a natural citizen.
Essay # 5. Methods of Acquisition of Citizenship:
The methods of acquiring citizenship are broadly two – by birth and by naturalisation.
1. Acquisition of Citizenship by Birth:
The acquisition of citizenship by birth may be studied under two heads, namely jus sanguinis and jus soli.
We shall now explain them:
(I) Jus Sanguinis:
It literally means law of blood. This system says that the child gets the citizenship of his father irrespective of the place of birth. Thus the child of a German parent will become the citizen of Germany, no matter whether the birth of the child took place in Italy, Sweden, Norway, etc. This system was very common and popular in the ancient times. Even now most of the states of the world adopt this method, because it is both natural and logical. Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway do not know any system except jus sanguinis.
(ii) Jus Soli:
This literally means law of place. This system says that the place of the birth of the child will be the deciding factor of his citizenship. It also implies that citizenship has got nothing to do with the parentage of the child. During the medieval period this system of linking citizenship with the land was very popular. In modern states of today these practices are in vogue, this may lead to confusion and duplicity of citizenship. This difficulty is overcome by leaving the choice to the child on his attaining majority.
2. Acquisition of Citizenship by Naturalization:
This method implies that an alien can become a citizen on completion of certain formalities. These methods are not the same in all the states.
But the conditions which are very common are given below:
There is an insistence on residence in the state for a certain period which varies from state to state. While this period of residence is five years in England and the USA, in France it is ten years.
(ii) Oath of Allegiance:
An alien cannot be admitted as a citizen of the state unless he takes an oath of allegiance to the state of adoption.
(iii) Purchase of Real Estate:
The third condition is that the alien in order to become a citizen will have to purchase real estate in the state of adoption.
(iv) Civil or Military Service:
Citizenship can be conferred on an alien in recognition of some services to the state, civil or military.
When a woman marries a citizen of another state, the woman becomes a citizen of the state, of which her husband is a citizen. Thus if a British lady marries a citizen of India, that lady will become a citizen of India.
Essay # 6. Methods of Loss of Citizenship:
We know the methods of acquisition of citizenship. Now we shall study the grounds under which a citizen will lose his citizenship.
A citizen of a state may give up his citizenship of that state and become the citizen of any other state by naturalisation.
When a woman marries a citizen of another state that woman will become the citizen of the state of which her husband is a citizen. When she becomes the citizen of a new state, she loses the citizenship of the original state. Thus when a British lady marries a citizen of India, she will become a citizen of India and cease to be a citizen of England.
3. Acceptance of Service, Decoration or Title from a Foreign State:
Sometimes citizenship is conferred on an alien in recognition of his brilliant services under that state. When such an alien is admitted as a citizen of the state, he will lose his original citizenship, because one cannot be citizen of two countries at the same time.
4. Long Absence:
When a citizen is absent from the state for a very long period, he may lose citizenship of that country. For example there is a provision in both France and Germany that if a citizen is absent from the country for more than ten years he will lose his citizenship.
5. Treason or Felony:
A citizen may be deprived of his citizenship if he is found guilty of treason or felony. These are very serious offences for a citizen and he will be treated as an enemy of the state.
Essay # 7. Duties of the Citizens:
The citizens should not be concerned only of their rights. They should be equally alive to their duties and responsibilities. John Locke was of the view that if a man has a right to live, he has a corresponding duty not to kill others.
To say in his words:
“Everyone living in the society is to obey the laws of the society.”
The illustrious American President John Kennedy would urge upon the people:
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Right will have an automatic flow if the citizens render their duties.
1. Citizen’s Duty to Himself:
It is a duty of every citizen to take proper care of his physical and mental health. A citizen by himself is a pillar of the state. If one pillar is weak, the entire structure will collapse.
2. Citizen’s Duty to his Family:
Citizenship begins at home. It is the duty of a citizen to maintain good relations with all members of the family. He should look after the health of the members of his family and should provide education to them, particularly to the children and the dependants.
3. Citizen’s Duty to his Neighbours:
A citizen should be social and cooperative to his neighbours. If any of his neighbours is in difficulty, he should at once come to his assistance.
4. Citizen’s Duty to his Locality:
Every citizen has to serve his own locality with the spirit of a good citizen. He should raise his finger at the site of a filth in his locality and inform the local authorities. If there is a fire in his locality he should extend his cooperative hand in extinguishing the fire. On the outbreak of malaria, cholera or other diseases of this type, he should bring the matter to the notice of the local medical authorities.
5. Citizen’s Duty to the State:
A citizen’s duty to the state may be studied under the following heads:
Every citizen should be loyal to the state. His loyalty should be absolute and unshaken. At the country’s call he should join the army, navy or air force. He must not shirk from it.
It is the bounden duty of every citizen to obey the laws of the land. The laws are nothing but self-imposed restrictions. In the absence of the law-abidingness on the part of the citizens there will be chaos and lawlessness.
(c) Payment of taxes:
A citizen should know that the wheels of the state are lubricated by finance. Wherefrom will the state get the money to run the government? It is from the people who pay the government in the form of taxes. The citizens should come forward to pay the taxes honestly, regularly and voluntarily.
(d) Public spirit and sincere work:
The good citizen places public spirit above self-interest. He should work sincerely and contribute his utmost to the welfare of the state.
(e) Help to the public officials in the maintenance of law and order:
The police or any law-enforcing authority cannot function smoothly without the cooperation of the public. So it is the duty of the citizen to render all assistance to the police in the maintenance of the law and order.
(f) Honest use of votes:
The right to vote which a citizen enjoys is a valuable political right of a citizen. So in the discharge of that right the citizen must exercise utmost honesty. He must not be idle, which is a parasite in the society. He must not sell his vote. He should cast his vote to the most competent person without any communal, religious or regional bias.
The quality of tolerance makes a good citizen. It is the hallmark of a good citizen to be tolerant towards other religions and feelings and sentiments of other people. In the absence of toleration there will be hatred and discord in the state. All communal riots take place for want of toleration on the part of the citizens.
To resist against injustice cruelty and crime is a moral duty of every citizen. If the government does any injustice or makes a cruel legislation, the citizen must resist.
6. Duty Towards the World:
Today’s conception of citizenship is world citizenship. So every citizen should not be only dutiful to his own state but to the whole world also. If there is anything bad outside India, a citizen of India should criticise it. Thus a good Indian citizen will criticise USSR’s intervention in Afghanistan and will raise his accusing finger against the racist regime of Pretoria.
He will condemn the racial segregation in South Africa called “apartheid”, and the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis and the Fascists. He should share the joys of the people of a foreign country who have liberated themselves from the yoke of the imperial power.
7. Relation between Rights and Duties:
Rights and duties have as close relations as days and nights. Rights and duties are two faces of the same coin. Rights enable a person to enjoy certain facilities and thereby he can contribute his utmost to the society and the state. So Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru rightly observes- “We talk of the rights of individuals and nations, but it must be remembered that every right carries an obligation with it. There has been far too much emphasis on rights and far too little on obligations; if obligations were undertaken, rights would naturally flow from them.”
According to Harold J. Laski there are three kinds of relations between the rights and dudes.
These are discussed below:
i. Right of X implies duty of Y:
Every right of an individual includes a corresponding duty of other individuals. If X has a right to his life, Y has a corresponding duty to protect the life of X. If X has a right to vote in the election it involves a corresponding duty of Y not to interfere with the right of X.
ii. Right of X implies a duty of X to admit a similar right of Y:
The smooth enjoyment of right by X necessitates some favourable condition by Y. It implies at the same time that X should reciprocate the same feelings for Y. So when X is enjoying some right, he must realise that Y is entitled to enjoy the similar right. When X is enjoying the right of freedom of speech, he cannot deny the similar right to Y.
So every right includes a corresponding duty. The Englishman obeys the law because he knows that respect for the rights of others marks the difference between the dog-kennel and civilised society. But he does not recognise the rights of others to interfere with his freedom of thought.
iii. An individual should exercise his right for the upliftment and welfare of the state:
A citizen has a duty to the state in the exercise of his rights. In the name of freedom of speech a person should not spread communal virus or encourage violence. If he does so, the state will be justified to take away his right and arrest him. Since the state stands for the maintenance of the rights of the citizens it is imperative that the citizen will perform his dudes honestly.
Rights and duties are interdependent on each other. The relation between the rights and duties is like the one between the toothbrush and toothpaste. One has no function without the other. We may put the example of the rights and duties of the spectators in a cricket match.
Everyone who is sitting in the gallery to see the game has some rights and duties which are closely related. Every spectator has a right to see the game. He has at the same time a duty not to obstruct other spectators from seeing the game. For that purpose all should be seated and none should stand up.
If X stands up he is not doing his duty to the co-spectators, who cannot see the game because of the obstruction from X. Similarly, Y can best discharge his duties by refraining from standing up. If X violates his duty. X cannot enjoy his rights. We may conclude with an important saying of the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi- “Every right carries with it a responsibility. Every freedom carries with it an obligation”.
Essay # 8. Qualities for Good Citizenship:
In political science good citizenship implies a man’s capacity to serve the state. There are differences of opinion about the qualities of good citizenship. According to Lord James Bryce, there are three qualities which every citizen must possess.
These are intelligence, self-control and conscience. Conscience stands for responsibility to the community. But Leonard Dupee White considered commonsense, knowledge and devotion as the three basic qualities of good citizenship.
We have to consider the following eight factors as qualities for good citizenship:
1. Sound Health:
A citizen must have a sound and healthy physique, without which he cannot discharge his duties effectively to the state. His mind also should be free from all anxieties.
2. Intelligence and Education:
A citizen should have sufficient intelligence to distinguish the good from the bad. Without intelligence and education man is no better than an animal. The purpose of education is to eliminate animality and put rationality in a man. It does not mean that every citizen should be highly educated. What is needed is that he must have some sound commonsense so that he is not swayed by emotion or any parochial feeling.
About education Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote- “Education is a power by itself and in any case a person bereft of it cannot have any chance of either realising himself to the full or making any effective or worthwhile impression of the policies and actions of the government of his country and region.”
About the nexus that intelligence has with good citizenship, L. J. F. Brimble and F. J. May observed: “No one has the right to expect fair legislation and impartial administration unless he tries intelligently to under-stand his civil rights and duties and strive to do his utmost for the general good of the state. Hence the need for an active interest in the main problems of the day, for studying them sufficiently to be able to order his life aright, for reading the newspapers with intelligence, for regarding his vote as a civic trust, and for rendering service to the community. Thus the view that the good citizen must make some personal sacrifice to help his fellow men enriches the Greek ideal that he should play his part in civic affairs.”
In the past, government was considered the privilege of a few, but today it is almost universally recognised as the responsibility of one and all. “Hence education for citizenship is universal need, and the traditional methods of inculcating social responsibility need to be adopted in all types of schools and new methods must also be worked out. Those who are growing up into citizenship should be taught to realise their debt to those who have served them locally and nationally so wisely in the past.”
4. Self-Control and Self-Confidence:
A good citizen must be in a position not to be impulsive or provoked by any sentiment or anger. He should have enough capacity to control himself in the fact of linguistic or communal provocations. He should have courage and confidence in himself.
5. Public Spirit:
Only a person with an urge for doing works for the benefit of the public can make a good citizen. He must not indulge in anti-social activities. He should be not only dutiful to the society but also mindful of the rights of the co-citizens.
Self-sacrifice does not mean laying down the life and property for the nation. It means that a citizen should rise above narrow self-interest. He should not do anything which will be detrimental to the common good.
7. Honest Exercise of Franchise:
A citizen should not refrain from casting votes in the elections. While casting votes he should not consider religion, caste or other narrow things. He should vote only that candidate who will best serve the society.
8. Sincere Performance of Duties:
While driving a motor car, a citizen must abide by the traffic rules. He should willingly pay all taxes and must not hide his real income.
9. Sincere Loyalty to the State:
A citizen must have unshaken loyalty to the state. His loyalty to the family, to his religion or language should be subordinated to his loyalty to the state. For him, the interest of the nation must be higher than the interest of his region, language or religion. He must rise above these parochial affiliations.
This may also be called patriotism on the part of the citizens. L. J. F. Brimble and F. J. May wrote- “The proper fulfillment of the rights and duties of citizenship are a very important feature of patriotism. The patriotism of a peaceful citizen may appear to be commonplace beside that of the sailor, soldier or airman; but by support of a good example, by the support of those who are fighting the battle of national honour and truth, and by conscientiously fulfilling the duties of voting, he can show his patriotism as truly as anyone. True patriotism is necessary to the best type of national life.”
Essay # 9. Hindrances to Good Citizenship:
In a negative way we may study the hindrances to good citizenship to get on the same result. According to Lord James Bryce, these hindrances are only three, namely indolence, narrow self-interest and party-spirit. But this is not a complete list of hindrances. There are in general six hindrances to good citizenship.
We shall discuss them below:
While active interest in public affairs is a quality of good citizen, indolence, apathy, indifferences, inactivity or by any name we call them are hindrances to good citizenship. According to Lord James Bryce: “Indolence and indifference of the citizens are the two enemies of democracy”.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in asking office workers to come to work on time. But repeated orders are disobeyed because they know well that nothing much can happen since the government needs their help to obtain votes. Wilful negligence to duty is also a major corrupt practice. It may be worthwhile to recapitulate a saying of Mahatma Gandhi that if the means were unworthy, the end would be distorted.
Private selfish interest is a serious hindrance to good citizenship. To attain a little gain, a men refuses to stand in the queue for his turn but jumps the queue without concern what loss he was putting to others. For the same reason, a cine-goer buys cinema tickets from the black market and a motor driver overtakes the other car. L. J. F. Brimble and F. J. May rightly pointed out: “Many good workers and many well-meaning parents are bad citizens because they know little and care less about the needs and claims of the community in which they live.” We are in full agreement with the views of the authors: “The fundamental principle of good citizenship is that self-interest should be subordinated to the general interest of the community.”
3. Ignorance and Illiteracy:
Harold J. Laski’s conception of citizenship is “the contribution of one’s instructed judgement to the public good.” Ignorance and illiteracy are anti-thesis to “instructed judgment”. A citizen who is ignorant and illiterate cannot have a social personality. The lamp of education can remove the darkness of ignorance and illiteracy.
In this connection Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote- “Education is a power by itself and in any case a person bereft of it cannot have any chance of either realising himself to the full or making any effective or worthwhile impression of the policies and actions of the government of his country and region.”
All people are ready enough to express their opinions on public affairs. But they are not so ready to ascertain the facts on which those opinions should be founded. The result is that their political mistakes are due not so much to passion or impulse as to contented ignorance of the points at issue.
If a citizen is extremely poor he cannot be a good citizen. He must have sufficient earning to make both his ends meet. So there should be some basic economic footing for every citizen.
5. Physical and Mental Disease:
We have already noticed that a good citizen must have a strong physique and a sound mind. An unhealthy citizen and physically crippled or mentally retarded person cannot be good citizen.
Party-spirit denies good citizenship. In a party-ridden society a citizen cannot play any healthy role for the progress of the society. It is because of the party-spirit that a citizen does not see things with his own eyes but through the eyes of the political parties. The result is that the citizens behave like dumb driven cattle and cannot take a positive attitude.
7. Communalism and Caste System:
Communalism and caste systems are socio-political virus in our national life. The communal and caste factors hamper the social solidarity and bring a discord among the citizens.
There is a gulf of difference between what we preach and what we practise. This is called insincerity and even dishonesty. We publicly curse apartheid and shed tears for blacks in South Africa. Our intellectuals dash off plays with South Africa condemning racial discrimination. We shout from housetops that colour is the least important mark of a person. Yet what we practice at home?
In practice we love to talk of a parade relative who have been to the west, find glory in the company of palefaces and ape the manners of white-skinned hicks. Every father seeking a bride for his son wants only a girl with a “wheatish” complexion. The sooner we get rid of this magnificent dishonesty, the better will be for this sun-drenched country.
Furthermore, it is very common to hear our politicians glorifying Indian languages and culture in public meetings. But the same persons send their children to public schools where they are given instructions only in citizenship, rights & duties English. This hypocrisy is the glaring example of insincerity. This has devalued the public morality of the country.
Remedies of Hindrances to Good Citizenship:
To overcome the hindrances to good citizenship is not an easy task. According to Lord James Bryce, there can be mechanical and ethical remedies. The mechanical remedies aim at reforming and improving the machinery of the state for the purpose of making it more useful to the public. The mechanical remedies include also building anew the entire social structure on the principle of equity, justice and democracy. This is necessary because only under such a system the citizens can exercise their civil and political rights properly.
The ethical remedies aim at reforming and improving the general character of the citizens of the state. This includes removal of ignorance, illiteracy, party-spirit and all like evils. This also calls for introduction of a number of human right reforms.
The young people should be made to understand that they are men and women of tomorrow. They should be taught to recognise their rights and privileges, and appreciate that public rights and privileges are in all cases accompanied by corresponding responsibilities and duties which every citizen owes to the state.