Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Tomorrow it may be me ………

There is a saying in Malayalam, “Pazhathila vizhumbol pacchilla chirrikum” literally meaning that when a ripe leaf falls, the raw leaf laughs. Take this in the context of us uman beings human beings. When we are young and agile, we make fun of the aged and infirm little realizing that one day we too will reach the same spot. 

Today we have a world that is aging fast, a world where the number of aged is increasing sharply in contrast to the number of young, thanks to the medical world. This I believe is a thing to rejoice. However, when we see the number of instances where the rights of the aged are violated, their suffering, the humiliation they have to face day in and day out, we are forced   to wonder whether the medical world has done a service or disservice.

Just today, I came across an incident in the news paper. A woman in her 80s was murdered at night for half- a- sovereign of gold.  This mother of two grown –up children, a son and a daughter was staying all alone in her house after the death of her husband. Her son saw to it that she did not starve. Her meals were supplied from his house. But my question here is, “Is it enough that the children provide their old and infirm parents just two square meals a day? Don’t they have a responsibility to ensure their safety?”

We care for our children, we cuddle them, fret for them, fear to leave them alone in the house for even an hour  yet, when it comes to our old parents and grandparents we forget that they too are as vulnerable as  a small child of six. When it comes to our children we provide them the best in terms of value, in terms of nutrition, yet when it comes to the aged we often put these things on the shelf. We forget that we are able to provide our children the very best thanks to the care and love we received from them- our elders.

In earlier days many an Indian household followed the Joint family system where the aged were the most respected, the ones who were most cared for, the ones who were first served a meal. But with the disintegration of the system and with the concept of the nuclear family system, we have lost our sense of magnanimity. We have become more selfish. After all what use is an old hag in comparison to young blood? But here, we sadly forget that tomorrow we too will be in that old hag’s shoes.

I have come across many a family where the old are left to fend for themselves inspite of having children who can very well take care of them.   There are instances where the children leave the country with their family minus their aged parents for greener pastures.  Well, this is fine till such time that the parents are healthy, they are together. But once they become infirm or when one of them leaves the other alone and moves on to the other world, what happens? It is not that the children cannot build up their career here? No, many of the so called children are well educated, well experienced and can easily land a good job back home. In fact many of them are working for companies that have base in India too, meaning that they can easily shift base here if they are truly concerned about their parents, yet they hesitate. For them their personal conveniences matter more than the helpless situation of their aged and infirm parents.

There are also instances where the children cleverly get their old parents to give away all they have to them and then dump them by the wayside or in an old age home. Recently there have been instances where the children discard their old immobile parents in a cow – shed or on the verandah of their home while leaving on a long trip. The situation of such people is often pathetic. They are lucky if a good - hearted person/s finds them. It is high time the Voluntary Organizations, NGOs and the Government take note of the plight of the old. Though many of the Voluntary Organizations and NGOs are already active and doing their bit to make the life of the aged comfortable, they can further gear up their efforts and involve the entire society by creating awareness in them regarding the Human Rights of the aged. The Government on its part needs to make a proper legislation making it mandatory for children not only to keep their parents with them but also provide for them and take good care of them. The action of the government should not merely stop with making a legislation but should also include means of monitoring the plight of these ‘gems’ of society who have given their best to their children and society at large, in their hey-days. Non- compliance of the provisions of the legislation should be dealt with expeditiously and severely. Setting up of special courts to handle such cases will go long way in providing justice to the victims.

In the end I would just like to add;

Let us all remember, “Today it is my elderly, tomorrow it is me….”

 1)    You may also like to read “The Rights of the Aged” @
2)   You may also like to view the video “Age demands action” @ 

Linking this post to Writ Tribe’s Blog Action Day link up. Together we can!

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