Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prodigal Fathers

I have begun to observe a trend in the emerging global power – India. As I travel across the country and various parts of the State of West Bengal, I see there are many irresponsible parents who are not able to match the pressures of the modern world, and they just lose out as mentors and guides to their children, abdicating the responsibility of parenthood as accepted in Indian culture. Let us look at an example. Every Indian family knows that it is the responsibility of the parents, specially the father, to ensure that the girl children are married off in time. Now, look around you. You begin to see an alarming number of girls in their late twenties and thirties, unmarried, and remain so, simply because they have not found a proper partner either by themselves or by their parents, in spite of the fact that sex-ratio in India is clearly leaning towards the male child. I have known cases of irresponsible parents who want the salaries of their employed daughters so that they need not fulfill the obligation of sending away the daughter after marriage with the son in law, and lose the income! I have known older brothers fleecing on the earning of the sister siblings until they reach their mid thirties when the parents are dead early in life. I have seen parents not letting daughters married by defaming their own daughters so that the income continues to remain at home. Where are we heading to? What has happened to the culture of parents ensuring their girls get married in their late teens, or at least in their early twenties?

Besides the economic reason attached with it, as we have explained above, I can see two important elements that are afflicting the parents. Firstly, the pressures of parenting are so high that the elders do not have the strength to withstand the pressures of a modern world that communicates across the globe in seconds. The generation of parents we talk about are well meaning decent people, but they have not culturally out grown their age of slower communication. So, in a globalized economy, the socio-economic pressures and cultural wedge seem to be so high that the parents themselves fall into depression and they find it hard to handle the needs of their children.

The second is equally important. There is a conflict of moral values which the parents have not been able to digest and so they react by doing nothing about it. Let us take the same example of marriage again. The world of fidelity and long-lasting love of the parents has been challenged severely by increasing divorces, infidelity in marriages and rampant “love” marriages that does not give a damn to the opinion of the parents. In this cultural alienation some parents have become, in a sense, dumb spectators while few others have become arrogant exploiters of the lucrative economic benefit at the cost of women—to say, their own daughters!

1 comment:

Johannes said...

Interesting article!