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August 01, 2017 Tuesday 12:22:49 PM IST

Today Is Born of Yesterday

Cover Story

Change is an inevitable process which accompanies any progress that mankind makes. Progress is a vehicle without reverse gear. Its wheels can never roll backwards. Only those who can adapt themselves to the changing patterns of the road will continue the journey -- ‘survival of the fittest’ as the Theory of Evolution says. The best that we can do is to take things in our stride without complaining. The Pre-Independence ethos is relevant even today.

 

Everything related to the past has to be thrown overboard. There are many qualities which we can -- we should -- imbibe from the past. We cannot ignore our history because we are standing on the shoulders of our past generations. The only condition is that we should have the wisdom to discriminate between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Ways of life have changed immensely and it is not possible to undo these changes. So we must carefully select what we want to retain, make necessary adaptations and pass them on into the lives of future generations.

 


The core values cannot be laid aside. Human life is momentary as the scriptures say. But we have to make it momentous. Participation, renunciation, sharing, empathizing, waiting, etc, are virtues that made freedom struggle powerful as well as purposeful. Even when we rue the loss of values, we can take consolation in the fact that the oases are still there. Truthfulness prevails not only on the national emblem but amidst us too. The  administrative system is corruption ridden. Agreed. But upright officials are not without admirers and followers even now. The latest instance was reported from Kerala, where a young IAS officer evicted encroachers from government property, braving stiff resistance from major political parties and some of the powerful government officials.

 

About fifty years back, life general across the land had an essential simplicity. Moderation was the keyword of the life style, be it food, dress, housing or celebrations. People might have been rich, but they never paraded their riches in public to command the respect or the admiration of society. Their demands were need-based. Liquid cash was not easily available. Wealth was mainly in the form of landed property. With limited resources at their disposal, there was no scope for overspending or ostentatious celebrations. Even a wedding was a very simple affair. We only need to compare a modern Malayali wedding with one in the 1950s and 1960s to understand the change that has occurred in this arena.

 


Half a century ago nationalism was a guiding principle for the majority of Indians. Much of our literature in those days was based on nationalistic themes and love for the motherland. But in the years that followed, these feelings gradually eroded and corruption and nepotism became rampant. The individual became more important than the nation. People in authority set the example by resorting to dubious means for amassing wealth.

 

These are only some instances of how the new generation has moved away from the traditional ways of life in our country. When we discard our heritage, we lose all  sense of values and we become a people without roots. So it is high time we reconnected with the past and recaptured some of those traditional values. For that we must understand why this has happened. Time is endless and detaching from the past is absurd in a way. We are the products made out of the past. Our present turns into past. We cannot stall it or reduce its pace. Our pride is actually a meaningless term. We cannot disown the past. Just think of that. Today is born of yesterday.

 


I do not say that we should accept anything and everything that comes to us in the name of culture and tradition. Definitely there are many undesirable elements in our culture like superstitions, foolish rituals, parading of knowledge and opulence, gender inequalities, etc. We must analyze these things carefully and accept only those elements which will help posterity to live a better life.

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