Reflection On Social Issues
In every decade, society undergoes transformative changes, much like the natural process of a flower's growth and renewal. Change, both necessary and inevitable, must be positive and fundamental, ensuring the continuous development of society. The analogy of a gardener tending to a garden aptly illustrates this concept. Just as a gardener prunes, fertilizes, and waters plants to maintain their beauty and vitality, society too must be nurtured and occasionally pruned to preserve its core values and traditions.
However, in the modern era, influenced heavily by external cultures, we often struggle to nourish our societal roots. This neglect leads to new challenges and changes, highlighting the need for thoughtful social reflection and action. By embracing such thinking, we can uphold our eternal traditions and fundamental values, ensuring a society that flourishes and evolves positively with time.
1. The Disintegration of Joint Families:
Once a cornerstone of our culture, the joint family system, known as 'Guwadi,' is facing disintegration. These families, once brimming with joy, cooperation, and mutual support, are now giving way to nuclear families. This shift has led to a loss of family values, increased loneliness, and a lack of emotional support. The concept of family as a source of mental and physical well-being is being overshadowed by individual pursuits. However, as recognized by countries like America, the strength and bonding of family life are indispensable.
2. Evolution of Marriage Ceremonies:
In Indian culture, marriage ceremonies, a significant part of the 16 'Sanskaras', symbolize a lifelong partnership and spiritual unity. They are not just legal contracts but sacred vows taken in the presence of Vedic elements. However, the essence of these ceremonies is being diluted by modern lifestyle choices and a shift towards individualism, leading to a weakening of familial bonds and social structures.
3. Rise of Inter-Caste Marriages:
The increasing prevalence of inter-caste marriages presents a challenge to the preservation of traditional caste, religion, and clan identities. This trend raises questions about the future definition of societal identity and the potential loss of cultural heritage.
4. Delay in Marital Age:
The pursuit of higher education and career goals has led to a delay in the age of marriage. This shift is causing social issues, with many individuals facing challenges in finding suitable partners later in life.
5. Challenges in Marital Relationships:
Despite more informed marital choices, modern marriages are facing higher rates of discord and dissolution. Factors like the nuclear family structure, career-oriented education, excessive use of mobile technology, and a lack of positive familial support are contributing to this trend.
Factors affecting Married Life in the Present Environment:
1. Family Environment:
The rise of nuclear families has led to children often growing up with less familial interaction, as working parents rely on external help. This shift is weakening traditional values and creating conflicts, including an enhanced sense of individualism among educated women, contributing to marital rifts.
2. Employment-Oriented Education:
For career-oriented education, children are sent out of home to hostels at the age of 14-15 years. There they become accustomed to living an independent life. For this reason, they begin to feel uncomfortable with the constraints and responsibilities of married life. This is creating situations of conflict and tension in families. Employment-oriented education is certainly making children prosperous, but not cultured.
3. Increasing use of Mobile:
Today every person is spending more of his time on social media. Due to this, family harmony and love is coming to an end.
4. Indulgent Culture:
It is introducing children only to earning money. For this reason, life is flourishing in the circle of personal selfishness and narrow-mindedness. Negative thinking is increasing. Every person suffers from feelings of suffocation, despair, fear, and depression. Due to this, the rift is being created in relationships.
5. Lack of Positive Support from the In-Laws:
In the past, women were advised to adapt to their in-laws' homes, but recent trends show a shift towards encouraging personal independence. This change challenges traditional practices like Kanyadaan, where the bride is 'given away' and not expected to return to her parental home. The rising divorce rate, conflicting with our cultural norms, highlights a societal irony. In Goa, where divorces are increasingly common, pre-marital counseling by the Registration Department is being introduced to help couples understand their mutual responsibilities and strengthen family bonds.
Food, Clothing and Customs:
1. Food and Drink:
In recent years, there's been a notable decline in traditional and sattvic food consumption among the youth, with a growing preference for hotel and junk food. This trend, influenced by Western culture, contrasts with our values of fresh and pure food, integral for maintaining purity of thought and speech.
Indian culture is a civilized, decent, and cultured culture. Our sages had determined our dress in a very scientific manner by keeping climate, health, and public shyness at the centre. But today western style clothing is becoming our choice.
Our customs, like Holi and Diwali, are losing their traditional essence, with festivities often cut short due to time constraints and increasing tourism trends. The once extended celebrations of festivals like Gangaur are now reduced to half a day. Even mourning periods have been shortened, raising questions about our commitment to ancestral traditions and the respect due to them.
4. Young Generation moving towards Addiction:
There's a concerning trend of increasing drug and alcohol addiction among the youth, now spreading from cities to villages. This trend, fueled by societal pressures and the pursuit of short-term relief, is threatening our cultural values that once revered natural substances like milk and ghee over intoxicants. As addiction becomes a misguided status symbol, it's crucial to remember our bodies are temples deserving respect. On International Drug Abuse Day, let's commit to a drug-free lifestyle to strengthen our families, society, and nation.
5. Increasing Trend of Old Age Homes:
Traditionally, ancient India's Ashram system, like Vanaprastha, encouraged elders to seek spiritual growth. However, today's increasing reliance on old age homes reflects a shift away from these values. This trend, influenced by Western culture, often sees aging parents viewed as burdens rather than revered family members. This is a stark contrast to our cultural teachings of respecting elders, embodied in the Sanskrit shloka:
This translates to the belief that serving the elderly enriches one's life, knowledge, fame, and strength. Elders, with their wisdom and blessings, contribute significantly to the family's well-being and harmony. Our culture emphasizes not only caring for living parents but also honoring them after their passing through rituals and remembrance. The growth of old age homes challenges these deep-rooted cultural practices and calls for a reevaluation of our societal approach to elder care.
6. Gender Equality:
The pursuit of gender equality, often seen as an effort to make women identical to men, overlooks the unique nature and qualities inherent in women. In our culture, women are revered in various forms - as a girl, she is seen as Kanya Durga, as a bride, she embodies Goddess Lakshmi, and as a mother, she is worshipped by her children. This reverence is captured in the Sanskrit verse by Jaishankar Prasad:
Translating to, women are the embodiment of devotion and a continuous source of nectar in life. The Bhagavad Gita also emphasizes the unique qualities of women. In the pursuit of gender equality, it's vital to respect and nurture these inherent qualities rather than diminishing them. The efforts to impose identical roles on men and women can lead to societal conflict, as argued by noted personalities like Mridula Sinha and Gulabji Kothari. Embracing and fostering the natural attributes of both genders is crucial for societal harmony.
Even before this, society has been facing problems or challenges from time to time like female illiteracy, child marriage, the purdah system, the dowry system, and female foeticide. But the problems have been solved due to the diligent efforts of our social reformers. Even today, due to the influence of Western climate, some problems are facing society like the mouth of Sursa. According to the Shrimad Bhagwat Mahapuran story, at the time of the churning of the ocean, both nectar and poison came out. What it means to say is that both good and evil come together. The same is mentioned in Ramayana - Sumati, Kumati are the lives of everyone, but we have to solve the challenges with our wisdom and try to protect and preserve the society. Will be able to protect and preserve social values and culture.