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.