Understand the Generation Gap

Understand the Generation Gap

This thought process, compiled by Late Varaaha (supported by his own graphic), is centered on relationship between members of families in India. He uniquely rests the concept on turbulence visible, on the secular structure.


Since days unknown, a powerful invisible force is bringing about change in human behaviors and their ways of life. It is TIME that is marching ahead with powerful steps silently unhindered. History can just take us back to the time when tribes living in a small area crossed their limited borders and confronted other people belonging to different faiths and languages. They fought to establish their supremacy over the other tribe. Kingdoms were founded. War weapons were improved.

Humans fought in the name of religion. There were crusades and Jihads. Religious institutions dictated terms to kings or rulers. The power of religion over society was once so great as to burn a girl (Joan of Arc) alive, because she pleaded that saints spoke to her.

Time went on making changes in human behavior. Man was busy in finding new methods of enforcing his superiority over people of newly captured lands. Helpless humans were sold as slaves.

Great men taught masses that all humans were born to enjoy self respect. Slaves were liberated. There were world wars; highly powerful war weapons of mass destruction were developed. Man learnt to fly and drop bombs to destroy a whole city. Wars went on till the worst kind of weapon of mass destruction, Atom Bomb was dropped on Japan.

Time allows man to think and act in his own way. Man felt it futile to spend resources, time and energy in waging wars. Nations united to work for liberty, equality and dignity of human beings. Major wars ended. Enlightened leaders had thought of communism, socialism and democracy as political means to bring peace and joy to mankind. Industry, commerce and trade created wealth and prosperity to nations.

Today, amidst the reports of suicide bombers killing many innocent people, newly married young couple are being killed in the name of Honor Killing, because their marriage was against the traditional customs. Moral police is harassing young people who have assembled to celebrate a happy occasion. I received two marriage invitation cards which roused my attention towards the great changes, that time has brought about.

One of the invitation cards was exactly in the traditional form followed by orthodox Brahmans. But the contents were far from orthodox ways. The tradition dictates orthodox Brahmans to select a suitable boy from a dignified family of another orthodox Brahman of the same sub sect, and hand over their girl in marriage with the selected boy. But the invitation was for the marriage of a Brahman girl with a non Brahman boy, which is a daring deviation from orthodox customs. The most touching part in the invitation was that the parents of both boy and girl had requested us to be present without fail.

My wife and I made it a point to attend the marriage. The huge crowd in the marriage hall consisted of people belonging to all castes of Hindus and many from other communities. The rituals of the marriage began exactly according to the custom of Brahmans. The custom of non Brahmans followed this. May be, this prolonged rituals caused a lot of physical strain to the bride and the groom. They looked a bit tired. The dinner was the most enjoyable one. People of different castes sat together exchanging joyful conversation. We were wondering whether there was any barrier of caste or religion in our country.

The other invitation card was a blatant disregard to our tradition. It was in the form of a photograph of the boy and the girl seen close to each other, at the top of which names of parents and a few words of invitation were printed. We could not attend this marriage. But people who attended the marriage reported that there was no warmth of people participation and the lunch was also peculiar. A menu card was issued to each person and one had to select an item which may please him. This marriage was between a boy and a girl belonging to the same caste. The marriage was totally a show of economic status of the families of the bride and groom.

When time could bring about a great change in human relationship so that an inter-caste marriage in India could be celebrated in a grand manner, there are yet people who cannot come out of the clutches of old customs and tradition. If such marriage was to happen in an area where people feel themselves protectors of tradition, the newly married couple would be killed in the name of Honor Killing, and the supporters would be banished.

France has banned Burka. This brings back to our memory that an Islamic organization in India has banned Jeans, and use of cell phones for girls. We also remember that some film artists and politicians have silently rejected Burka. A women’s organization could force the in-laws of two women to take back the daughters-in-law, who were decreed by Mullahs with Talaq.

There is a shocking news from Aliah University, West Bengal, which follows the guidelines of U.G.C which does not mention any dress code. Here a woman has a right to choose a face veil. But Sirin Middya, a lady guest lecturer was thrown out for refusing to wear Burka, inside the class room. Abdus Sattar, Minister for Higher Education and Minority, instructed the university to reinstate her. The force of students’ council was so strong, that the university could not abide by the instructions of the department or the minister. Female students began to wear Burka. Students’ council wants the university to strictly enforce the Islamic dress code for women. This is another instance where a rigid custom is being thrust upon unwilling people.

These are the days when women cannot live confined to religious restrictions. Men and women have to work together in this enlightened society.

Violent enforcement of rigid customs of the past is now being silently and forcefully rejected by the society. The economic trend of the world has changed the structure of families. Today young men and women go out to work for nearly fourteen hours a day. They cannot spare time for the needs of elders and children at home. They can make arrangements for child care and other needs of children. Of course the elders at home are there, ready to take responsibilities. But these elders also need better attention at home. They feel that they are not properly cared. In some countries, there are reports that robots take care of the elderly people at home. Such arrangements lack the warmth of relationship which the elders need most.

There are other points which haunt the old people. Retired people remember their bright old days when their wishes were implicitly materialized in society and also within their family. Retirement has taken away all tier power and authority. The discipline which once ruled the family is today outdated. Children who came up under their strict guidance and care, find no time to speak to them. Old people feel that the cannot understand our views about society and family. Younger people also cannot understand why their beloved parents are not able to understand them. They work hard and earn enough money to equip their houses with all kinds of modern equipment. But these things cannot bring their old parents closer to their hearts.

The wide gulf of understanding between the old generation and the new one is termed as Generation Gap. Time has its own way of bridging this gap. Old age homes cannot infuse the warmth of a family life, where grand-parents and grand children together bring about a heavenly joy, and the young people feel themselves free to spend holidays as joyfully as they can. Accepting the changes in social order leads to understanding one another. We are marching towards a world order, with happy families contributing for the human race to enjoy tranquility.

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