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.

7 thoughts on “Respect

  1. India is becoming a bad bad place to live in. The ao called education development is actually taking us back.

    The India shining slogan has gone for a aix.. Look what is happening in broad daylight.

    Sad sad world we are making it

    • hmmm Is India a bad place to live in? yes and no. But surely it is hypocritical to say we are a great nation just because of our culture when what we follow is nothing similar to what is mentioned there.

      Hope we see a change pretty soon.

  2. In India, unlimited sick and shameful acts are justified in the name of culture and customs. And govt. is just there to collect taxes and make gr8 personal bank balances. Thalaikoothal is something we came to know about today. Whatever’s happening in Baghpat is again a matter of shame. I am a victim too. And I don’t know whom to blame! I was hated by my parents for being a girl, a female. I thought, I would get a nice mother-in law. She was another bomb in a nice packing. As per the world, I have parents. I want parents who love me, my husband and my child. I want parents who stay with us so that my child learns and grows well, so that I can work and make use of my skills…but I don’t have anyone. Moreover, my mom and mom-in law have moved into ‘Tantra-Mantra’. Another, I don’t know blessing or curse of Indian culture. Everyone’s creating problems for us. I cry, weep so much at times. I feel like going to an old age home and ask for a mother…because I never got a mother….and the world thinks that I have parents…

  3. It indeed is becoming a growing problem with so many issues cropping every other day and none gets sorted out fast enough. As an economy, sure enough India is developing but as a country, it’s heritage, culture, value system and last but not the least, its people are somehow going offtrack! Something is amiss….

  4. true that ther r double standards, but just based on the minority who does it the other way round, can v blame the whole society?? anyways frm my experience, on comparative grounds, indians are still unique in certain cultural aspects, though not totally neglecting the western influence on our ppl

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