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Age with Grace
|by Prof. Shubha Tiwari|
Continued from: "The Cancer of Caste in The Indian Consciousness"
The Eleventh Episode - Satyameva Jayate
Today’s episode of ‘Satyameva Jayate’ was based on problems of old age. There’s no need to look at old age with pity. There’s no need to give our children guilt consciousness that they didn’t look after their parents. India is fast transforming from an agrarian society to an industrial one. The needs of the times demand a new mind-set where old age homes are not looked down as something undesirable. The show began on very traditional lines where all the teary tales of wronged parents painted children as villains. It’s only in the latter part of the show where some sensible talking and thinking were projected. The plight of the widows of Vrindavan was a bit misplaced because it is related to another social evil of the Indian society i. e. perception of widowhood as curse and penance system evolved by the patriarchal society for widows. Indira Goswamy wrote a lot on the plight of these widows.
To return to the show, many examples of wronged parents were shown. NGOs also painted children as devils who forget their parents once they grow. The old were shown as innocuous, tortured lot. I personally feel that examples of wronged children would have completed the other side of the story. There’s no denying the fact that old age needs care and companionship. The old age is vulnerable. But to say that the distorted fabric of the social chords is entirely due to the younger generation would be wrong.
Dr. Archana Kaushik of Delhi University underlined ceratin good points. Proper implementation of pension schemes, national policy for the elderly, opening of day care centres for the elderly, tying up crèches with old age homes, running counselling services for the elderly- these can be golden measures. Mrs Neelam Sharma living in Aayudham Old Age Home, New Delhi came with wonderful words. She said that she had come to live there on her own choice. The younger generation must be given full opportunities to fly and fulfil their dreams. The older generation should not crush and sabotage the desires of the younger generation. Aayudham has tied up with a school. The elderly teach the children. It looked such a beautiful combination. Mr. Valia of Mumbai has founded ‘Dada-Dadi Park’ where the elderly can go for ‘masti’. Again, it was a heartening example.
The best of the show came with Mr and Mrs Joshi from Pune who have gone for a second shot at marriage in old age. Remarriage for widows and widowers in old age can be the game changer. It’s a good idea. Live in relationships can also boost the life and morale of single and lonely senior citizens. Companionship, sharing, caring can go a long way in giving purpose and meaning to life. With growing life expectancy, I think, this trend is here to stay. In Ahmedabad, Nathubhai Patel actually organized a gathering for interested partners for live-in relationships. Narayan Mahajan from Pune was a ‘zabardast’ example of robust old age. At 91, he likes to go for mountaineering. His formula was simple - ‘Don’t nurture expectations; expectations cause pain. Eat less; exercise well and laugh unlimitedly.’ The shooting stars from Bagpath, UP really stole the show. Two grandmothers have won many awards in shooting. They love the sport and participate in national events. One granny shot it exactly on target, ‘Body may age; the mind never gets old.’
Personally, I don’t like any narrative, text, story or discourse which generates ‘Bhagwan’ syndrome. Indian parents really build their kids into fantastic human beings, good professional and successful achievers. Any talk that diminishes love is rubbish talk. The youth needs the support of the elderly. We don’t build our children so that we may ruin their youth, their relationships, their dreams. We build our children because it is the right thing to do. Our children will build their children. This is how the nation gets strong. In many families, even the elderly resort to cunning tactics in order to create differences among young spouse so that they may have a place. Grudging, grumbling, complaining, generating guilt – these are not desirable.
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Comments on this Article
07/21/2012 20:12 PM
s p malhotra
07/18/2012 07:05 AM
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