Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 16 – Respect to Elders

My dear young friends,

1st October being International Elders’ Day, several concerns have been expressed for them in different forums. For instance in Maharashtra they are talking of reserving 10% of CSR budget of Corporates for Elders’ welfare; declaring and publishing a “Defaulters List” of those who do not take care of their dependent parents etc.

I was told that in one of the European countries, elders do not travel out of their houses from 9 to 12 am and 3 to 6 pm for the fear of being thrown by the young crowd. I thanked God that I was not born in that country until I was thrown out from a Mumbai Local train by a rushing crowd. I took an oath not to travel in Mumbai’s Local trains. That day I also remembered a small incidence from my college days.

I was studying in Government Engineering College Jabalpur which was on the outskirts of the City. In the evening a Bus used to carry the day scholars to City. I was a hosteler and one day I decided to board the same Bus to go to City. It was raining. The moment the Bus came to the ‘Bus Stop’ the crowd of students rushed to occupy the seats since it was a long distance ahead to keep standing. In the process they pulled Prof Arora, an elderly gentleman, who fell on the ground in the mud. Prof. Arora was an honorary
professor in our college who used to teach us Engineering Economics charging a notional fee of Re 1/-.

Some of us stepped down to help Prof Arora and brought him to a back seat. I said “it could not have happened if everyone came in a queue”. Prof Arora stated “It would take 100 years to make a queue here”. It pierced my mind and hurt my ego perhaps as a senior student of the college. I was in 4th year then. I decided that I would not take food until a queue is made. When my friends noticed it they all got
worried. They took me to all the hostels to address and appeal to students. We hostelers were larger in number compared to the day scholars. After two intervening holidays, a much larger crowd was seen at the Bus Stop, hostelers persuading the day scholars to enter the Bus only in a queue. I never saw Prof Arora again in the college but queues were a permanent feature.

We live on a land where respect to elders is one of the fundamental elements of our “Sanskar Matrix”. Many years ago, I was introduced to an Australian in New Delhi. After a chat, I asked him as to when is he returning to his motherland. He answered; he planned to settle down in India. I asked him why, with a surprise. He said “it is a wonderful country where even my neighbor’s son touches my feet when he comes back from the hostel for a break”. Such respect to elders cannot be seen in any other country, he added.

I am surprised as to why we can’t live up to such a great culture of our country. I get stunned when I see juniors calling their seniors by name not even suffixing it by “Sir” or “Ma’am” or “Ji”. Unfortunately, some consider ragging like crime necessary to ensure this. What elders need most is respect from youngsters. After all they have toiled whole life not only for their families but the Society at large. All the basic amenities like roads, transport systems, electricity and its public usage like street lights, lifts, metros etc. have been built with the taxes they have been paying for years. Can’t they expect a small return in terms of respect? Did we celebrate International Elders’ Day in our Institutions, offering just flowers to the elders expressing our gratitude for all that they have done for us directly or indirectly?

What I see in India today is glimpses of respecting gestures by youngsters, not practiced by all as a social virtue. Once after landing, a corporate executive in a very formal dress offered to carry my heavy hand bag to the belt which impressed me, making me think that Indian youth is still different. I wonder why they don’t promote a separate queue for senior citizens in banks and other public places as a sign of respect and concern for their decaying health and stamina.

With one touch the modern mobile screen changes the pictures and brings the whole world of information at your disposal. If this happens with a smart phone made by man, what can happen if a person created by God touches the younger one with all the affection and compassion at his command? History of mobile phone is hardly 20-25 years whereas the history of evolution of man is 5-million years. Man possesses intelligentsia of growth and improvement over 5-million years. Man being relatively more sensitive when touches the younger one keeping his hand over his head, kissing his forehead, patting his back, shaking his hand or hugging him with open arms, will it not bring a quantum difference in the recipient’s world of emotions and spirits. Touch of parents, teachers and elders emanating from pure and pristine emotions of goodwill does make a difference beyond measure!

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI Scholar, D.Engg.(Calif), FNAE
Hon.D.WRE (ranked amongst 30-most eminent scientists in the world)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex-Director (REC)/ Executive Director (IREDA)

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)

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