When it comes to boasting about India, the first thing people invariably mention is ‘The Great Indian Culture’. Our great culture is supposed to value respect for elders and respect for women. Neither of which is seen in practice. We supposedly treat women as goddess and touch our elders feet as a mark of respect. While state of women is well-known, elderly abuse is an issue that isn’t talked about so much.

I thought let me confirm if my understanding of respect is correct before commenting on the gap between theory and practice. And here is what I got.

  • Respect – To feel or show deferential regard for
  • Deference – affected or ingratiating regard for another’s wishes

Ah! so my understanding is correct. That also confirms another person’s understanding – Upendra. He is a Kannada actor/writer/director who in one of his films says “India is great, Indians are not”.

Just finished watching today’s episode of ‘Satyameva Jayate‘ a couple of hours back and today’s subject was old age. In this episode, Aamir Khan highlighted the plight of the aged in our country in-spite of our respect for them. Journalist Pramila Krishnan talked about a practice called ‘thalaikoothal’ in some parts of Tamil Nadu where the family gets rid of the old people by killing them. He also showed the abandoned elderly in thousands.

While this might not be happening everywhere, some common courtesies like offering a seat for the senior citizens in the bus seem to be missing. In fact, I have had to ask people to give the seats reserved for senior citizens to them many a times and people do so only after giving you a stare and making faces.

The good thing about the show is that it just doesn’t highlight the issues but also tries to debate on how it can be solved and highlight a few who are already trying to address the issue. One solution for this as proposed by Himanshu Rath of Agewell foundation is economic independence and being vocal about the problems being faced. I couldn’t agree more. I feel the same applies to women’s emancipation as well ( hence I included this topic also here).  I remember having a discussion with a friend once about the same, who opined that we need to build the right culture and women going out to earn is not a solution. True, but I believe till we build the culture( which is going to take a while), economic independence is a great enabler.


My sweet nana

He also showed some more people who are old but their spirits are as young as ever and they continue to live a great life.  We saw a 90 yr old mountain rappelling and applauded. That reminds me of one more such spirit: my granny( nani).

She seems tireless. Never once have I heard her say she is old. She is still the first to rise in the morning. Helps in household chores and looks after grand kids. She travels extensively. She is the most excited one whenever a family function is to be organised and makes sure she attends all of them no matter what time and place. She is aware of the latest fashion in sari and jewellery. She is even aware of the latest in the grapevine. This post is dedicated to her. 🙂

And at last, respect for the show ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in the real sense.