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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

பாருக்குள்ளே நல்ல நாடு - நம் பாரத நாடு

The ordinary middle class man is extremely attached to his family. His thinking and all his action is oriented towards the welfare of his family. The parents forego all their wants and do things thinking of the future of their children. They don’t even see it as a sacrifice, for them it is their way of life. Father would travel long, endure all hardship, earn not spend much on himself. Mother leaves all luxuries tries to save as much as possible – keeping the best of things for the child. Whatever the parents had not savoured, the best is kept for the child. Those who struggle to make their ends meet also take great efforts to ensure that their children have much better future. All this with the fond hope that one day, the child would grow, get a good job, earn and take care of the parents when they become old.

Our Bharat is a land of great culture and our ancient civilization reveals the greatness of families. There were many great kingdoms which thrived primarily due to the family loyalty. The greatest of warriors Bhishma lived his life wedded to the cause of Hastinapur. It was his vow to protect Hastinapuram, its rulers and their clan. Indian culture is all about respecting elders, taking their advices and acting accordingly. Lord Rama went to forest without even thinking of anything, just because he was ordained by his father to do so. The battle of Kurukshetra was about conflicting loyalty to two families. The Gaurav clans struck together; family loyalty and duty preceding over what is morally right.

For ages, Bharat had the tradition of joint family system – concept of extended family where parents, their children, children’s spouses, their offspring all lived under one roof. The elder’s word was the rule and accepted without giving it a thought and it benefitted the family. The patriarch took all the decisions and all others abided by it.
In Tamilnadu, tamil literature speaks lot about respect to elders and caring for parents. There is a thirukkural which says

Men will treat their sons as their wealth for it flows to them through those deeds of the sons performing on their behalf.

In such a great country, we hear about abuse against elders and one would tend to disbelieve that it would require an enactment for providing and guaranteeing maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens. It is a fact that there is an enactment “The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act 2007”

It makes a very sad reading that this Act was invoked for the first time in Tamilnadu and son was held for neglecting his father at Coimbatore.

In the Namakkal District, Police have arrested M Swaminathan, a powerloom owner for driving out his frail old father from house. He has been booked under Sec 24 of the Act for neglecting and assaulting his 77 year old father. This section envisages a three month imprisonment or Rs 5,000 fine or both on children who fail to provide maintenance to their parents.

It must have been with a very heavy heart a desperate V Manickam Mudaliar presented his poignant tale of neglect and despair to the Namakkal district collector during a weekly grievance meeting. In a grim tale, this thriving powerloom operator in Suriyampalayam hamlet in Tiruchengode taluk, had owned six powerlooms. Advancing age and poor health had forced him to hand over looms to his son and lease out some. It is reported that he was assaulted and rudely thrown to the streets. With no money and no body to take care, despondency drove him to this extreme step.

It does not augur well for the society that there are more Manickams out there and some are already contemplating petitioning. For quite some time it was thought that abandoning aged parents was aping western culture and urban phenomenon. It is shocking that it exists in rural parts as well.

It does not require Act to say that one needs to take care of one’s parents who had missed their present for the future of the children; the Act states ‘Whoever abandons a senior citizen shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 or with both’ The Tribunal may order them to make a monthly allowance which shall be up to Rs.10000/- per month.

It is the mind and state of affairs which requires change – mere legislation cannot bring this about – it can only bring a fear to abide – that is not what is sought after.

Regards - Sampathkumar

1 comment:

  1. had a few colleagues from sweden who were into organising the elderly care providers. heard from them there is a big workforce for providing the services required for the elderly. I was proudly saying to them that we have an institution called the joint family system to take care of the elderly. But was shocked to see the report of the incident at namakkal, more so to note the age of the son (50+). this is aproof that people in the secondary towns and villages are also becoming materialistic. -kannan