Sunday, February 25, 2018
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I heard a medico lecture that some decades ago blood-pressure and heart attacks were usually associated with old age, that is not so today. In the olden days the process was natural. Ageing was a factor that contributed to this.And usually it was after 70 or so that one faced the problem of blood-pressure. But every thing set in slowly and steadily. Today, however, that is not so any more. Today a man is barely 30 and he starts suffering from high blood pressure in many cases. This, the doctors tell us, is due to stress—excessive stress. Is stress, then, also a factor behind the rising number of suicide cases?What is the reason for this stress? I think one cause is that since a tiny age a person is saddled with responsibilities that could be beyond his capacity to shoulder. The very childhood of a person is chained. You will find tiny tots rushing from school to home and thence to their private tutors or to coaching centres. The race is to score and reach the top. The child is denied the freedom of the play field. He does not know what games are. The only time he sees a sports field is on the TV when they are telecasting live the proceedings of a Test match. That is watched in the comforts of our homes. There is nothing special in watching these. It is like shifting one channel from the other. If the game is slow and boring, the child picks up the remote and switches on to a channel that is showing something very exciting.
If our children were to spend some hours daily on the games field their outlook would change. From cramming home-work they will shift to the gyms or play games and relax their limbs. All tension will flee. The excitement of showing one’s physical prowess would take command over the will of the youth. He or she will develop what is called the sportsman spirit which will enable the youth to face up to the toughest of challenges without being panicky and frustrated.Today there is very little to look forward to. All entertainment, all news, all excitement is available on the TV, on the Internet. A child considers the TV, the Internet as his best friend, philosopher and guide. But this ‘friend’ becomes dangerous when it tempts the youngsters into alleys that are full of minefields of explosive mental material for immature minds. It is this exposure to unbridled and unchecked viewing of Internet that might be leading many astray, without their knowing it. Today one does not feel the excitement of the olden days while viewing a movie. In those days when youngsters saw in newspapers that films of their favourite heroes—Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Devanand—were to be released, they would look forward to seeing the film most excitedly. It used to be quite some effort and time consuming as well. Just recall film ‘Shaheed’ starring Dilip Kumar and Kamini Kaushal. The movie was a craze, a rage.Youngsters would be busy planning how they would go to the cinema hall. There were restrictions. Students would cut classes to see the movie. All the time their goal was to enjoy the movie without displeasing the teachers and also to ensure that their parents had no idea of the fact that they were skipping classes.. Almost the whole day was spent in thinking about the movie. Youngsters would repeat the dialogues. There were such crazy persons as would risk missing their examinations for the sake of movie. The whole thing was full of excitement. And today? All that you have to do is to insert a CD into your DVD player and watch ‘Shaheed’ or any other movie without the preliminary excitement.
The life then was not swift. Things took time. There was no cooking gas or pressure cookers to serve you instant meals. You had to light the fire. That took time. Then on slow fire the meals were cooked. If you wished to have a bath with warm water you had to wait till the kitchen fire was free from cooking. Then water would be heated, sometimes on dying embers. Today you don’t have to wait. You just switch on the geyser and the water is hot in no time. If there is power failure, you have a standby generator which is switched on and your work is not interrupted. This places one in a commanding position with confidence soaring high. But there is no press-button to shift the channel of your elders’ mind from restrictive approach to liberal response. The young boy or girl wants to have his or her way. They want freedom from all shackles of what they regard as outdated customs. That is where the clash of generations takes place.
Things have changed, values have changed. These days even the official broadcasting channels—AIR radios—are preaching that young men can have fun provided they use condoms. In the past the young folk were asked to wait for marriage. Today they are asked to look for condoms. Won’t they feel furious if their elders ask them to confine themselves to the traditional way of life?These days if a mother scolds her son or daughter and asks them to concentrate on study instead of gallivanting around all over the place, the youngsters cannot bear the reprimand and commit suicide, either by jumping into the Jamuna or by tying a noose round their necks and pushing away the stool under their feet or shooting themselves dead with their father’s revolvers. Whom would you blame for this?
I will say that one of the most glaring reasons for such waywardness among the youth is the lack of guidance in schools, colleges and Universities. Our teachers in the past would mesmerize us by their deep study. Their lectures would have a profound impact on our mental growth; and if we found it necessary, we would transfer that knowledge to our brothers and sisters at home, especially to the mother who had in many cases not attended a school. The teacher was universally respected because he actually taught. Today the teacher is rarely to be seen in class. Isn’t that also one of the major reasons for the youth to be puzzled with good and bad thoughts, not knowing which to choose? With childhood chained to coaching classes and internet and youth puzzled , how can we expect them to fulfill the dream of a school teacher who sang in 1955: ‘Hum laye hain toofan se kashti nikaal ke, Is desh ko rakhna mere bachcho sambhal ke…’

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