Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ageing - Challenging one's age - Upper or lower ?!?!?


All of us advance with age – at least physiologically.  Passing of 365 days add a year to our age and we become aged to that extent.  Most of us mature with age – learn some wisdom – some practical – may or may not be useful.  Ageing is accumulation of changes in a person over a period of time.  Ageing is not only of advancement of years but could be multidimensional process of physical, psychological and social changes.  All movements are not forward and not all growth is wisdom ! Most humans would be too happy to have a natural death arising out of ageing……. 

In most offices, there is the age limit after which people are not permitted to work. This may not be applicable for Directors and others. There are institutions like Indian Parliament where there is no upper age limit.  Superannuation is the act of discharging someone because of age – causing to retire from service on a pension.

In earlier days, most did not possess Birth certificate and it was the date that was filled in the school records at the entry mostly would cast a die. For most earlier day people, it was the SSLC book (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) which remained a great reference material and establishing proof of one’s age.  There have been age related disputes at workplace, especially when one gets closer to retirement.  Earlier people were able to change their age by filing affidavits; later by challenging the age certificate in civil courts and Tribunals.  Much debate followed as a reaction to Army Chief General VK Singh’s moving the Supreme Court against the Govt on the age row.  It is a high profile post and a case against the Govt by the Military Chief is sort of unheard of.  In someways it has undermined the prestige of those great institutions.  The Govt. maintains that General VK Singh was born on 10th May 1950 when the General contends that his DOB is 10th May 1951. 

Way back the Constitution 43rd Amendment in 1976 amended the Article  316(2)  of  the Constitution.    The age of  retirement   of  Government employees  was 55 originally but was later raised to 58.  Presently, I understand that, the age of retirement for Central Govt employees is 60 while it is 58 for the State Govt. personnel.

The age issue of the Chief is likely to disturb the succession plan in the Army and has put to unrest many issues of importance.  Age related issues have been to the fore many a times but in a totally different perspective !!!  Sure, when you studied in school there were various intra and inter-school competitions of Junior, Sub-junior, Senior and various other grades. –and in most you would find top-performers looking much beyond their age-group.  Physique, height, weight or mere looks cannot be any yardsticks but still, one was sure that over-aged people were trying to participate and beat their younger clan surreptiously or even overtly.  Their reported age and the standards they were studying would not match and the popular joke was that they would remain in the group, till they win the championship.  This is prevalent in U16, U19 tournaments in Cricket, football, Hockey, Athletics and more other games.  Sportspersons resort to many unacceptable practices including doping to win by hook or crook, and many a times, the Coaches and Academies are also to be blamed for being hand in glove. 

Brow-beating the system is no skill, it is just a reflection of evil sinister designs of the perpetrator.

Then there are people like Fauja Singh who on  Sunday, 5th Feb 2012, completed  the 10 km in 94 minutes in Hong Kong Marathon.  He was born on April 1, 1911 and that makes him the World’s oldest marathoner.  But  has been denied entry into the Guinness World Records as he failed to produce his birth certificate.  He was able to produce a passport listing his date of birth as April 1, 1911, and a letter from Queen Elizabeth II congratulating him on his 100th birthday.  Guinness World Records  reportedly stated  "Although we appreciate the great running achievement of Mr Singh, we simply cannot acknowledge the title for the 'oldest marathon runner' until we have a copy of an original birth certificate”


With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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