Sunday, December 18, 2011


There was a time in the History when huge families with many members used to live together, helping each other and sharing the difficulties when population was not growing at it is now. Due to comparatively cleaner environment and safer foods nutritionally balanced, the health problems as being seen to day were far and few. The element of kinship was much stronger with younger generation respecting the seniors for their wisdom and elders showering affection on the former. Situation has changed dramatically during the last 5-6 decades with small and compact nuclear families branching of from larger joint family set ups, living in smaller dwelling houses with minimum interaction with fellow relatives. Children are left to fend for themselves more often with parents having very little time to devote to them because of their economic pursuits. The net result is that the children of to day are denied many of the basic emotional feelings, arising out of closer interactions and symbolic emotive signals from their parents or grand parents, resulting in their growth and development with minimum human qualities. What effect such a transformation has on the society can be easily imagined. Here is a "loud thinking" by some one watching this trend from close quarters which must trouble the conscience of the nation.    

"Indian parents often goad their babies to not grow up fast. If childhood is about magic, it is vanishing even before it is lived. In fact children are indeed growing up fast, speeding past the springtime of their lives, say psychiatrists who connect that to the falling levels of emotional quotient. The warm hugs, the tiny kisses, a ride on the Ferris wheel, a family camping trip, vanishing into a book with mum, playing chess against dad, are all now just cloying instances tucked away in fables. "The EQ among our children is on the decline. They have a lower threshold for tolerance, they are easily depressed, their coping ability has reduced and complexity has gone up. Seven- and eight-year-olds talk of violent acts and of dying these days," says psychiatrist Dr Nirmala Rao. The new toys like Angry Birds, Crime Life: Gang Wars and other ultraviolent games don't score too well in enriching EQ. Our cities' kids-unfriendly design doesn't help either: you need to go to a hill station even for a horse ride or to spend time under a waterfall. Peggy Mohan, an English teacher with a Delhi school, says, "We are living in tiny cocoons. Our children are like aliens who've ventured into the adult space. They are as nice as ever, but they do not have the sense of the landscape they live in." 

The rate at which urbanization is taking place is alarming enough to call for arresting this trend by many sociologists lest there could be gross distortions in the human values cherished by many and as earning opportunities are increasingly being concentrated in urban areas, there is mindless devastation of rural entities as agriculture is no more a sustaining avocation for millions of farmers in a country like India. If future citizens are going to be from the urban areas evolving from an environment similar to a "pressure cooker", with very little time to think about fellow citizens, what type of country will emerge eventually? It is in this context many sociologists plead for better environment within four walls of the urban families where children are exposed to the nuances of emotional feelings from the parents which eventually will also manifest in public places for fellow citizens. Probably mindless industrialization will destroy the fabric of the society and it is time the employment providers include more and more family welfare measures for their employees to restore the traditional values as they were during olden days!


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