The World is My Family – Some Lessons go a Long Way

The first connotation of the heading of this article probably might give you an inference that this piece is about the very famous, ‘Vasudeva Kumtumbkamam’. Something that holds supreme relevance in today’s global world. However, since this has been utterly and excessively written about I would beg to deviate from the actual meaning, to a quote that I recently read, which certainly gives a mantra to becoming the perfect citizen.
A Japanese Childhood, a European Adulthood and an Indian old age with an African Body’- Most of you may agree to this and some of you may differ, which is fine because disagreement is the key to new and innovative ideas. For some this idea even maybe utopian and confusing, so allow me to explain and maybe towards the end we can conclude the efficacy of the same.
Japan is a land where in the words of the Geologists, suffers from a resource curse. Japan neither has Coal nor does it have Iron ore reserves but it by far possess the best model of Human Resource Development. Japan was bombed in the year 1945 and that incident in every way converted its economy to shambles. It was precisely the lowest point in Japan’s history. With Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed by the nuclear bomb, there seemed nowhere for the Japanese to go. However, in the year 1964 Japan hosted its first ever Olympics which was not only featured the State of the art equipment but also the facilities provided were par excellence. It was a dream come true for every Japanese to see their country proudly rising from the embers of the ashes that it was smeared in. Twelve years is all that they got, to rebuild, remake and present to the world what Japan truly was. I am not sure that most of you know but in the quest of making Japan count in the creme de la creme of the world, most of the Japanese became Olympic Volunteers at a time when such a concept wasn’t very well developed in order to promote a spirit of internationalism and create and send a signal of being a peace loving nation. The examples of their dedication and devotion can also be seen from the course they follow if one intends to protest there. Protests aren’t the way they are in India, where either the CM sits on Dharnas or stones are pelted, and funnily these examples are from the land which gave the world the idea of ‘Non-Violence.’ In Japan, if a group decides to go on a strike all they do is wear black ribbons without the suspension of their regular routine. Now that is something unimaginable for our race or breed of Indians.
There is a point that I am trying to make here, which is the difference in Japanese and the rest of the world which is their strong foundation of ethical and moral values. There in Japan, students are not made literate but are rather educated. And believe you me, there is a striking categorical difference between the two. In fact for the Japanese their elementary education starts from the age of six and continues till the age of ten after which students join Junior School. For the elementary years, teaching is basic but stress is laid on developing skills and the development of a strong moral compass in the children. The entire society operates on the principles of trust and communitarian values where children are not treated as individuals belonging to their parents but as the wholesome citizens of Japan. Now imagine if every country instilled values in the way Japan does in their children, think about India and the vision of our motherland transfers our imagination to the India so imagined by our Freedom Fighters. However, will is something that we need to develop for the coming times.
Moving on to the aspect of ‘a European adulthood’, that goes without saying. The romantic air of Paris, the Roman and the Greek history, the beauty of Portugal, the development of the Scandinavia and the colonial ties of the Great Britain are something that we are all inspired to say the least if not completely blinded by them. But that is a very narrow view to the point that I intend to make, with the concept of ‘European adulthood’. Europe happens to be the hub of the origination of principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. Apart from the origin of the concept of ‘ orture’ and ‘ guillotine’  we owe France for giving birth to these principles. Principles that further back Human rights, which are rights guaranteed to each of us only for the fact that we are humans. An adulthood where one can freely enjoy Freedom and the various contours of it, to realise our potential to the best possible limit is a paradise that each one of us can only pine for if not actually live it. Imagine if in India, we get to enjoy these freedoms, which off course I’d like to mention bring reasonable restrictions to the table, then don’t you feel that we’d become better versions of ourselves? If we are able to choose, what we want to do, wear or eat without societal norms parochially dictating us, then don’t you think that life would be better if not easier?
If Sharma ji’s son’s performance in his exam isn’t the yardstick but the actualisation of one’s dreams are, then don’t you feel that we would be happier and self fulfilled than we all only portray to be?
The social paradigms of the French Revolution find a clear mention in the Indian Constitution, with being mentioned not only as separate Articles like that of 14 and 19 but also in the Preamble, which lays the foundation of the Constitution. And yet, we are miles away from availing these rights to the pinnacle of their scope.
These aren’t questions that we need to ask our society but are glaring questions that we need to ask ourselves, while we care to face our soul in the brazen reflection of our household mirror?
With novel ideas and unanswered questions, let me move on to the aspect of the ‘Indian oldage’. I know many opine that without the provisions of an effective social security system and lack of well equipped old age homes and facilities, India happens to be one of the worst options to experience old age. But my argument is a tad elliptical than this. The Ashram system in the Hindu Upanishads, carefully prescribe the ‘Vanprastha Ashram’ and ‘Sanyasa’ after the attainment of 50 years of age. I know that the idea of spirituality is more of a symbol today than something that people consider seriously. But think about this, if every old human being in an utopian India or at various other nation states, decides to follow a spiritual path which doesn’t expect them to abandon the world completely but encourages them to accept their transformations and be more at peace with themselves then don’t you think one’s last years would be spent for the first time without distress and my times healthy and disease free. The idea of spiritual enlightenment in one’s old age is rumoured to be attained only in India, which is infamous for being the land of Gods, myths and traditions. Its the world centre of Yoga and spirituality and then why do we not use it to the fullest?
Lastly, the comment about ‘African bodies’, well I know I would’ve penned a paragraph about them too. But hey, after the spectacular performance of Usain Bolt (who is of Jamaican-African origin) do you really find a need for me to comment? 😛
Karan Singhania in Rang De Basanti states, ‘No nation is perfect, you need to make it perfect’ so just as the Indian Constitution the borrowings of which can be attributed to the various structures of the world, why not our society becomes the same and treads on the path of acceptance and learning of ideals that would strengthen our society from various spectrums of the world?
The article was submitted by Kudrat Dutta Chaudhary.

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