Saturday, March 20, 1999
APROPOS of Nonika Singhs write-up "Youth is as youth would be" (March 6), one has to be well past 30, in order to be taken seriously. In our country, youth is treated indulgently, as floundering boys and girls, who need to be shepherded firmly. Whether it is choosing subjects at college or university, opting for a particular career or taking a decision (howsoever personal), rarely are they allowed a free hand.
"You are too young to decide for yourself", go for the civil services before it is too late", "You should get married soon, it is not good to have long courtship" etc. are commonplace remarks. Parental concern is natural and understandable but when friends, relatives, family friends and acquaintances step in to advise it is a trifle overwhelming.
Perhaps a gentle steering is necessary at this tender age. Discussions where both sides get an equal opportunity to state their viewpoints are unthinkable in our society where an argument with elders is not only a sign of defiance and disrespect but it is also supposed to portray lack of good upbringing. Friendly, open-minded debates are bound to be more effective than threats and liberal advice heaped together.
Agreed that parents want to shield the unexperienced youth from unnecessary heartaches and disillusionments. The parents want to guide them before it is too late and they go astray.
The fact, however, remains that an individual has to undergo every experience himself or herself for it to be meaningful. It has to be unique and personal, no one can lend you an experience howsoever profound and valuable it may be. The realisation that comes from within ones self is bound to be stronger, more permanent than the smug "I told you so" and imposed moralising. Moreover, it is difficult to accept the thesis that there exists any transcendental merit in years and that age is always synonymous with wisdom and youth with irresponsibility and immaturity.
Why should the youth be denied the joy of discovering every facet of life themselves? Of course, they will make mistakes, they will stumble and fall. But do let them grope for their foothold in life. Because when they get up and walk again, it will be with steps not only more purposeful and confident but with a stride that is sure to be wiser.
Above all, if youngmen and women are treated with due respect, they can contribute a great deal to the welfare of the nation as well as their own welfare.
Going by the aggressive behavioural pattern of our youngsters, their errant code of conduct and the desperation felt by their parents, one would conclude that they are pushing not only themselves but the whole society into a dark era of desolation and gloom.
The achievement-oriented youth is growing egocentric. Everything, even social and moral values, is judged from a utilitarian angle. Even the artistic and creative vocations have become instruments of monetary gains.
It is unfortunate that for this wayward behaviour of the young generation, we put the blame on technological growth and satellite invasion. How ironical it is that while we have gone beyond the Internet in communication, the communication channels between the parents and their young wards are closing down.
The fault does not solely lie with the youth. In the first place parents are overambitious and want to realise their own frustrated dreams through their children. The childs best efforts dont satisfy, much less please, us till he proves himself to be the best in a given situation.
Secondly, society has failed to provide a role-model to its youth. In the present day socio-political set-up, we dont have the likes of Ram Mohan Roy, Vivekananda, Nehru, Patel, Tagore etc. In a society which thrives on corruption, nepotism, hypocrisy and which encourages the likes of Laloo Yadav, Bal Thakeray, Jayalalitha etc., it would be too much to demand idealism from the youth.
Unless society sets a role-model before them, the youth will continue to be attracted towards the glamorous life of TV stars and self-centred politicians.
This refers to the Dream Analysis column (January 23). Vinaya Katoch, giving explanation to a dream by Kalyan Singh, says: "Comets bring disturbances in life. Its appearance portends calamity among the nations". I disagree with this. Today we all know that comets are heavenly bodies that come from outer space and revolve around the sun. Today it has been proved by scientists that no untoward happening is associated with a comet. As we are heading forward, such kind of explanations will make people believe in age-old superstitions associated with comets and eclipses.
Bus to peace
Apropos of the write-up "Bus to Peace" by K.V. Prasad (February 27), small gestures of big persons at appropriate occasions pay rich dividends. India is a peace-loving country and such steps reflect not only its mature and prudent thoughts but also its forsightedness. It is better to win an enemy by an obligation then by doing harm to him. Love, faith and trust are more powerful tools than lethal weapons.
Vajpayees visit by bus will prove to be an important milestone in strengthening the relationship between the two countries. This visit will bear more fruit if it is reciprocated by Pakistan.
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