YB WEB DESK. Dated: 9/11/2021 8:58:32 AM

MAHADEEP SINGH JAMWAL Old age comprises "the later part of life; the period of life after youth and middle age. Old age is a pleasant time; children are grown, retirement from work, time to pursue interests. Many are also willing to get involved in community and social organizations to promote their well-being and when there is also due care from family members and no health issue, the old age for such persons is ‘Boon’. But when health and the family structure are not supportive, old age becomes a curse for such people. If those are the only alternatives, I say we find old age a blessing that enables us to do many of the things that are important to us. If we are in poor health or lack the money to live well, it would be a curse. Generally there is a debate whether our old age is a boon or a curse, it depends on many fundamentals that can be studied as valuable and strong pillars to fix between the two. These can be construed as: Whether our next generation is voluntarily willing to take care of oldies? Whether our next generation is capable of taking care of oldies? Whether oldies are physically dynamic and can take care of themselves? Do oldies have a regular source of income to sustain themselves? How the oldies have groomed their kids to inculcate the moral ethics, their self-sufficiency and about their responsibilities towards those who have groomed them as children. The behavioral attitude of oldies towards their kids also matters a lot. In Bhagavad-Gita it is stated that man may, by scientific advancement, improve the temporary living conditions, but that he cannot avoid the pangs of old age. Among Hindus in India, the understandings and experiences of old age are refracted, to some degree, by cultural meanings about this phase of life that can be traced back millennia. Considerable research on the social, cultural, economic, demographic, health, and psychological aspects of aging and old age in India have been done by sociologists, economists, legal scholars, and mental health experts interested in gerontology. Most conclude that old people in India live in rather perilous circumstances. Presently lifestyle is the perception of a particular person or entire society towards life vastly influenced by the adopted western lifestyle and it is the way people live, think and behave. It includes dietary practices, physical- mental activities, cognitive exposure as well as cultural and environmental revelation. It is a curse when the children send their parents to an old-age home instead of serving them and taking care of them. However, the true nature of human beings is suffering because of egoistic desires which arise from spiritual ignorance. I attribute it to the degrading moral values in our society and influence of western culture especially in our trailing generation. The joint family with three to four generations of a single-family living together has always been an accepted and strengthened body of the Indian society and in those days getting old age was a boon as he was to lead the entire family and each of the members of the family supposed to follow the rules and regulations mastered by the older because of the reasons of his long experience of the society sustainability. It was during the British-Raj, when the structure of society changed in a noted way. The concept of nuclear families came into existence as individuals became more centralized and concerned towards the well-being of their immediate families. In the long run, this culture became widespread and elderly were ignored to a great extent. The changing socio-economic, political, technological environment has dramatically influenced the entire current scenario. If we traverse to the year 1980, the literacy rate was somewhere 40%. We recognize literacy as the ability to read and write only. This was the time we Indians thought of making our generation literate and focused upon their maximum utilizing the time towards their studies only but we badly failed to inculcate other ethics of the society and their responsibilities towards older people. This way within the decade our literacy rate went up 48.22% and by 2001, 61, 1 % and presently somewhere more than 75%. This generation aligned to the unitary family system and became self centered. In the name of modernization, the changing circumstances are influencing interpersonal relations, outlook towards life in an adverse manner. The modernization and emergence of nuclear families is gradually eroding these traditional living patterns and older people are prey to it. They are left to fend for themselves and their needs are overlooked. The Indian model of the society has excellent concepts regarding the all round development of an individual with proper stress on the importance of caring for the ageing members of the family. The old age deserves the recognition and attention they have been deprived of. And going back to our Indian roots is the only way, which goes down deep enough to tackle every single issue regarding elderly. In India, old-age was never a problem. Elder abuse was considered as a western problem and “old-age home” was an alien concept. Earlier, the elderly people of the family were respected a lot and they continued to live with respect till their death. But now the times have changed. The elderly are treated as a burden especially having no source of income. Changing value systems, economic compulsions of the children, neglect and abuse has caused elders to fall through the net of family care. People tend to act like getting older is the worst thing in the world, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of reasons to be positive about old age and there’s no reason you can’t still live life to the full and have a whale of a time. Now awareness is slowly seeping in to motivate individuals in the society to look after the elderly. As we get older, our rights do not change. As we get older, we are no less human and should not become invisible. As we grow older, we must discipline ourselves to continue expanding, broadening, learning, keeping our minds active and open". Life is the greatest blessing of God given to humans. Everyone deserves to live a good life with all basic amenities, respect and dignity. The world is full of dreams, aspirations and fantasies for an adult. So concluding my perception of ‘Old Age’, it is much ‘Boon’ and less ‘Curse”.


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