NOWADAYS THE older people and the younger population complain of generation gap and of breaking down the communication between these twos. But who is to blame? I think both go amiss now and then.
There is a great hue and cry raised by the elders and the young both that the communication between them has broken down and they accuse each other for and bemoan this state of affairs. They attribute it to generation gap. Majority in the society carries along with this moroseness and never pauses to think the why and how of the problem.
The elders are more critical of the younger generation with a big inventory of complaints against the young and the young mostly tend to ignore the grumbling, mumbling and occasional loud protestations of the older generation. But now and then they do protest. They resent the petting attitude of the elders.
The generation gap, however, is a deeper malady than viewed superficially. There may be the following differences between the old and the young:
Of ideas on general conduct comprising dress, food habits etc. •
Morality, marriage & career
Of tastes on art, music, literature, and in short total outlook. •
Family unit breaking up and gradually losing the importance it once had. The central authority of the paternal figure becoming redundant. •
Imposition of the self-righteous attitude of the older generation on the young. •
Biological evolutionary difference
It is generally observed that the old behave like a frog in the well. They are fully convinced that the ideas they have had throughout their lives are the ultimate and ideal. They ignore certain vital factors that are no longer valid in the case of the modernity. There always has been generation gap since the dawn of civilization. The young have always deviated from the older standards and it was well that they did or there wouldn’t have been any progress today.
I was once travelling by train. I noticed a gentleman in western dress talking to a small group of co-passengers. He was very critical of the younger generation. He was giving full rein to his criticism condemning point by point everything the young did. As is usual in such situations, his audience was nodding their heads authenticating his criticism. Finding me indifferent to this, he confronted me why I didn’t comment as others did. I politely told him I enjoyed listening to his discourse. But he pressed me to express my opinion, which others hadn’t dared or bothered to do.
I told him after he had verified through catechism my eligibility to contribute to this important discussion that I was also educated and I apologized in advance as I differed from him. The purport of his discourse was that the young should do exactly as the elders do. I asked him with all humility at my command if he followed his own advice to the young. His dress, occasional sprinkling of English vocabulary in his Hindi narrative, for he was educated upto Sahitya Ratan, purely a Hindi degree, his travelling in a train rather than on camel’s back or by a bullock cart and numerous such acts were in total divergence from his ancestors’ way of life.
I added to his consternation that all this change was progress and the things he criticized in the young were manifestations of progress. But for this change, everything would stagnate. There is never a moment when change is not taking place.
The younger generation naturally differs in dress, food, habits etc, as all these were not available to the older generation. These changes are indicative of progress. With the passage of time when the society, right from the basic unit of the family through society and the entire humanity, is changing, how can the new generation be asked to stagnate or move backward to the ancestors’ way of life? In the olden days, in the Indian society the arranged marriage took place first and love between husband and the wife were thought to be a natural development.
It was in fact...
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