Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Independence Day

Today is the Shashtiabdapoorty of our Independence. When a man turns 60 years old it is the custom among several Indian communities to celebrate the occasion with a get together which includes a prayer ceremony followed by a feast. This is generally hosted by his children and if the man has no issue his younger brothers and sisters do him the honor. This is in fact a way of acknowledging the role of parents in shaping their lives and of telling them that since they’ve done their bit it is time for them to relax and for the next generation to take charge. Is it not appropriate that we pay our tribute as children of this great nation in the most befitting manner?

Here are just a few things that we can do to be worthy of the freedom that we got due to the patience and perseverance of our great leaders.

1) Let us say NO to the customs and preferences that work against concept of peaceful co existence and disturb the natural balance of society. You’ve got me right. I mean the custom of offering and accepting dowry in whatever form. Please do no offer your sons for a price; they are too precious for that. And if by chance you do accept a price for him isn’t it proper that you hand him over to the bidder? I mean the highest bidder. You cannot accept a price and retain him as your property along with his wife as incentive bonus. No Sir/ Ma’am. You cannot hope to have the cake and eat it too.

2) Parents of girls please don’t treat your daughter’s marriage as an auction by offering a higher price for a boy being considered by your neighbor for his daughter. For all you know someone else may outbid you. If only a good number of you say NO to the atrocious demands made by parents of eligible boys the menace would automatically be thwarted.

3) Parents of young children are actually dealing with the nurture of national treasures. Please remember that there is no short cut to success. There never was and there never will be. Corruption in any form – whether you practice it or encourage it - would send a wrong signal to your children. They may never respect you or consider you worthy. Remember that you have a future with them. Do not make them heartless and unfeeling. You may be financially independent but never emotionally. Teach them values and you will reap rich rewards. And by your responsible behaviour it is the nation that will ultimately benefit.

4) They say charity begins at home and so it does. A country like ours is full of needy people. Let not your children grow up taking everything for granted. It will help them appreciate the facilities that are made available to them.

5) The media plays a great role in reporting various incidents that happen around us. Was it not for the visual media we may never learn about so many things happening in a distant place. Stories of rape and murder, wives being harassed for not producing a male heir and mothers throwing away new born infants, sometimes after brutally injuring them and daughters/sons speaking out against fathers are all reported. Channels compete with each other and claim that the story was an exclusive report. Does not responsible journalism call for an appropriate follow up of the news and a discussion with experts on possible solutions? The next sensational news takes over and the previous one is conveniently forgotten. I personally feel that this kind of reporting is not only cheap but it serves the singular purpose of putting ideas into the minds of adolescents. Correct me if I am wrong.

6) With the IT boom taking over, scientific research has taken a back seat. The quality if research being done is mediocre or plagiarized. The Ranchi University conducted tests to judge the candidates’ aptitude before allowing them to pursue research. Not a single candidate qualified in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. One of the reasons quoted was that the good ones have either left the state to pursue their studies elsewhere or have taken up IT jobs. The same may be the case with Arts subjects. I remember talking to a friend about how delightful I found Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra and how much we had enjoyed our English classes as undergrads. The lady, an MA in English Literature and an English teacher in a reputed English school in our town surprised me by saying that she had never read Shakespeare in the original. And this was some 15 years back. She had passed out from the school she taught in and it was affiliated to the ICSE board. In these days of ticks and crosses and answer being restricted to one word options, the joy of reading good literature has vanished. And yet with their superficial knowledge of subjects students easily get 95%. My days are almost over. I have only 3 years left of my career unless the retirement age is extended. But I still wonder if something can be done to change our approach towards education and make it less mark oriented.

7) Finally let us say a big NO to religious fanaticism. No religion supports bloodshed and killing of innocent people. Let us not return to the stone age after having culturally evolved.

This post is getting too long and I am afraid a little pessimistic. Ours is a country with innumerable resources that need to be channelized. Let us put our heads together and think how it may be done. Happy Independence Day to all of you.


Tys on Ice said...

Talia !!

Way to go Hip Grandma..We know as Indians we must be doing some good becoz there are people like u around...

Happy Independence Day!!!

Joy said...

HG, This post left me speechless and wordless. I do not have words to describe how much I appreciate and value it. As the baton is passed on, we need to stand and look a little beyond our every day life and contribute to nation, humanity and civilization. Please continue to write so that we do not lose the vision. Hopefully my deeds would not end in these words.

From one of your earlier post, I understood you have another special reason to celebrate this day along with the reason millions of us celebrate it for. Happy B'Day to HGrandpa :)

Random Vignettes said...

I am with you on all of this HG..happy independance day to u too!

kurrodu said...

loved the post. I would like to add a few more that popped in my mind when i was reading your blog
8) Respecting the Law
We Indians must learn to respect the law esp. to stop blatantly disregarding the driving rules and road safety regulations for one's own convenience.
9) Keeping our surroundings clean:
We should stop littering the streets and our neighbour's yard.
10)Raising Kids responsibly:
Parents should stop comparing their kids with those of their neighbour's and allow the kid to choose his own profession by not restricting his choices to Medicine and Engineering. They should make some effort to
nurture ethics and human values in the kid by setting an example.

vishesh said...

what a teacher of english who hasn't read shakespeare? i mean even i have read it!!

btw,what about us,what have you got to say to us??

Just Like That said...

Happy Independence Day to you and Happy B'day to HGPop! )

Usha said...

No Padma you are not pessimistic. Your concersn are realistic - all thinking people pf our generation are concerned about these. I truly hope that the younger generation will take forward this independence in the right way so we can have a more meaningful century of independence!

Sunita said...

Herez to a better India in terms of richer personal values & higher responsibilities from atleast the educated class. Heres to a better future for our kids.

Mahadevan said...

I think nearly 90% of the Indian population was born after independence and therefore they know only free India. We realise the essence of freedom, only when we are not free. We could unite only because we had a common enemy. If we consider, poverty, illiteracy and many of the ills you have listed out as our common enemies, we certainly can unite and succeed.

Peridot said...

AMEN Sistah!

Hip Grandma said...

TYs on ice:thanks,those were kind words.I know I have the will,but where is the Way?/

joy:i try my best but there are moments when i get disillusioned and this is what I try to overcome by telling myself that the best is yet to come amd india will one day stand up and be counted.Nice of you to read my old posts and thanks for the b'day wishes on my husband's behalf.He was all smiles when I told him abt it.

random vignettes:I know that i could count on my readers to support my views,whatever their age.It is indeed very encouraging.

kurrodu:Were you pampered by your amma and peddamma back home?And have you put on at least 5 kgsof weight?yours was a welcome addition to my list.and each point made is valid.Thanks.

vishesh:I was surprised then but not any more.people looking for short cuts abound.My advise to you and your generation would be 'Never compromise on your values.All else will fall in place.'

Just like that:Thanks a lot from both of us.

usha:any thing I try to write on serious issues ends up like a sermon from the pulpit.i started the post on a light vein but emotions took over.I want India to shine.will it happen in my life?I can only experiences tend to act as dampeners.

sunita:Hip Hip Hurray!!Let us toast for a wonderful future for Joyce and all other kids who will one day lead India forward and that too with their heads held high.

mahadevan:well said. we need to combat all those common enemies mentioned by you and we surely will.

peridot:welcome here and thanks.

Archana Bahuguna said...

Happy Independence day! Nice post HG! Like you rightly said, just by remembering our values and trying to stand by them in our daily life will make all the difference ... That is what makes India unique anyways :-).

africanfragments said...

happy independance day, most apt post, the religious fanaticism issue, religion advocates violence, the humanoids that do are just doing it for political/economic gain. religion is really the convenient excuse.
and people like you are there to let us know, that we heve evolved

hillgrandmom said...

Really thought-provoking post.
We've really come a long way, but there are still miles to go.

Squiggles Mom said...

We will get there if all us make an effort and raise awareness of the issues which you're doing. So well done!

Something to Say said...

Amen to all that you said.

kurrodu said...


That was so nice of you to have read my previous posts.
Yes, I did have a blast in India and was heavily pampered by my ammas. Also, it was my brother's double treat.

Hip Grandma said...

archana:Happy Independance day to you too.Though belated.

african fragments:Fanaticism has never helped and the outcome of religious fanaticism is there for all to see.And the sad part is that those who encourage it are never adversely affected.

hillg'mom:yes there are miles to go but we won't tire,will we?

squiggles mom:Welcome here.Yes you are right.Every little effort counts.So let's all contribute.

something to say:I am glad to see so many responding instead of rubbishing my thoughts as ravings of a crazy old woman.I tend to repeat,bear with me.

kurrodu:My pleasure.No invitation for brother's wedding?Too bad :-(((

Srijith Unni said...

Some very important messages for the nation, from your experience.. Truly a message to the next generation..!

Keep it going, thus, HGranma..!

Have Fun, Take Care and God Bless.!

Happy Independence to you too, JAI HIND.

With Best Regards,

Monika said...

brilliant post... couldnt agree to each word more i am sure these things will happen and india as great as it is will keep shining even brighter........

PS: from joy's post i get that it was Hgrandpa's bday also on 15th belated wishes to him and by conciendence it was my bday too :)