Old Is Gold
“The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young. “- Oscar Wilde.
A man’s life is normally divided into five stages namely-infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. There are 81 million older people in india. According to an estimate nearly 40% of senior citizens living with their family are reportedly facing abuse of one kind or another, but only one in six cases actually come to light. Isn’t it a shame for us? Our country boasts of its great heritage, culture and morals but what is actually happening. It’s time to introspect, the fast dwindling culture and moral values, or else they will be confined to some spiritual books.
When a man or a woman turns 60, he/she is supposed to have a list of things to worry about, be it their degrading health, their loss of vision, their inability to be active and lively and the loss of external beauty. However, there is one part of old age that people would love to experience and that is the care, affection and love their children and grandchildren flood them with. Even for a glass of water they demand, they have a number of people around them to help them with their needs. But what if this very part of their lives is being snatched away from them? In this very materialistic world where money is like oxygen, we fail to allocate time for feelings like love, care and affection. It is important for the Older Persons that they should be able to enjoy their remaining life in their own families and communities. They should have a life of fulfillment, health, security and contentment, and be appreciated as an integral part of the society.
AiBavaadnaSaIlasya ina%yaM vaRwaopsaoivanaÁ a
ca%vaair tsya vaQa-nto Aayauiva-Va yaSaao balama\ aa
Meaning: For a person who is polite and serves/respects old people, four things he/she gets in abundance – age (number of years), knowledge, success and strength. In short, such person lives a successful life.
India is facing serious socio-economic challenges due to the successively increasing aged population. In India, life for many older people is less than happy. When young people after completing their education leave their villages for the towns and cities, the old are left to fend for themselves. Many of the older persons who do not have any social security such as pension have to depend on the earning of their children for their sustenance and medical expenses. The condition of the illiterate and poverty stricken older persons cannot be imagined. Though some of the State governments give old age pension to destitute persons above the age of 65 years, the meagre amount is hardly sufficient to meet the bare necessities of an elderly person. Being illiterate and poor, many are not able to fill in the relevant forms or produce age certificates. Besides ageing process, older persons suffer from ageing-associated diseases.
For many people old age has become a curse rather than an age of contentment and of fulfillment. Older people are marginalized and in many cases have been portrayed as the burden on the society. There are instances of well off children disowning their parents or dumping them in old age homes where they are left to live a life of depression and deprivation. There are also examples of older parents being shunted from one son or daughter to the other for taking care. In larger cities, elderly persons living independently have become victims of robbery and even being murdered for valuables or to grab their dwellings.
It is most important to remember that older people contribute significantly to the society. Some elderly people continue working in voluntary capacity or for some amount of remuneration. In families they take care of grand children enabling their sons and daughters to go to work and thus play an active part in community and family life. Older people are like ‘Doors to the past and windows to the future’. The knowledge and experience of older people is like a vast reservoir of resources which could be used for the betterment of the society.
We are so materialistic that we only want to get close to things that can fetch us benefits and an old man or woman is definitely not going to fetch us anything in terms of money .But how about the money, knowledge, care and affection spent by these people on their kids over the years?. We should understand and digest the fact that ” what we do to our parents now, we are sure to get the same or even the worst from our children when we grow old”.
It is very cruel act of dumping one’s own parents in old age homes. As a matter of fact, 1.6 million people live in nursing homes We are not able to give our old parents or grandparents the time they deserve simply because all throughout our lives, we are running in this race of life where ‘ultimate-richness’ is the finish line and so we are not ready to leave this race for something as unimportant as non-materialistic treasures. But this is sin.
We need to change our approach. We can never pay back our elders for what they have given us, but if there is something that can be close to paying back, It is flooding them with lot of care and love till they depart the world in peace. We have great many ideals in front of us right from Ramayana time in form of story of Shravana to very many examples till the modern times. Even in ”Yudhistira- Yaksha samvaad”, on replying to one of the Yaksha’s questions Yudhistira says that “buddhimaan vruddha sevayaa”. But if we still want materialistic treasures, it’s high time we say to ourselves, OLD IS GOLD!
“ First you are young; then you are middle-aged; then you are old; then you are wonderful.”- Lady Diana Cooper
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