This relates to an incindent which happened around a year back as I was travelling from Bhubaneswar to Vizag on a train. In the seat facing me there was this grand daddy who was talking to a youngish guy (around 20ish). Since I am generally lost in music or gazing out of windows most of the time ..I was as usual in my screen saver mode. I was jerked out of my reverie by some real spirited argument by grand daddy about lack of knowledge about our culture and lack of respect for elders in the younger generation. He was reciting some shlokas and trying to make a point that 'see, I know better culture' .
That all is fine ..I have seen such oldies before so I ignored till he made a direct reference that 'All these media has corrupted our youth..just look ath the vulgarity and westernisation..our cultural values have vanished'...there is no respect for elders and values'?
I gave him a polite nod but that sparked off a chain of thoughts that I must put forward. First of all there are a few assumptions that we must examine
1. The youth of this generation is misguided.
2. The society today is highly violent and stressfull
3. The reason for this stress is materialism
4. Westernisation the root cause of social malaise
5. Culture and heritage means respect for elders
1. The youth of this generation is misguided.- Is it? I dont think so ! On the contrary I feel that this is he generation thats the best of what we could have prouced so far. Yes they havent done it alone but it is them who have catapulted India into the top league. without their dedication and hardwork and activism we would not be the vibrant country we are. Blaming them or making them feel guilty is not only stupid but highly defeatist
2. The society today is highly violent and stressfull . -In 1947 we cut each others throats with impunity in the worst ever genocide in the sub-continent . Before that we had umpteen wars ,religious wars, political wars ...diseases and unhygenic and moronic medical practices that almost killed every second child ever born. Yet we think of past with rosy coloured lenses. Senility?
3. The reason for this stress is materialism- Quite the contrary. We are happy because of materials rather than despite them. Unless we deny air, water and food as matter , we really ARE materialism at its most beautiful and complex creation. Yet we try to take a high moral ground ONLY after our bellies are full .
4. Westernisation the root cause of social malaise- What we call westernisation today is the foundation of the modern Indian Society. We WERE great in the past but that was a different era. When the foreigners invaded us , we were a crumbling and rotting society who could not gather enough consensus to protect our lands and kingdoms. Westernisation led to every idea that we enjoy in India , including the concept of State nation. Trying to implement age old customs just because they are age old is like saying we should go to work on a bullock cart to office .
5. Culture and heritage means respect for elders-this is a real touchy topic. Expectation of respect only because of the fact that one has walked more time on earth is neither logical nor speaks of sophistication. Respect has to be earned and not begotten. A taken for granted and blind respect for anything old or remotely looking like old has ruined the country till now. This philosophy ''Respect me only because of the position I hold and not because of what I am saying right now" has robbed the country of its real wealth..intellectual honesty , and continues to do so !!