Our elders: They deserve respect from youths

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Aug 2017 14:14:28




THE last few days saw news of some senior citizens getting knocked down by speeding vehicles in hit-and-run cases. Similar news items keep appearing in newspapers every now and then, thus becoming an unfortunate but integral part of the chaotic traffic we generally see in cities or growing semi-urban centres. In most cases, the details are more or less similar: The senior citizens crossing the road, or riding two-wheelers get knocked down by speeding vehicles, mostly driven by younger people. Is this the way we should treat our elders? 

This issue -- of brazen behaviour by younger people is becoming more and more serious every passing day in most places. Young people do not seem to care for anybody else, let alone the elders. Other  people may be able to tackle this problem of brazen behaviour of youth, but the elders find it difficult, mentally and  physically, to deal with such rashness of conduct. Unfortunately, the youths do not realise that their method and manner generally hurt the senior citizens mentally. They find it difficult to take the insulting behaviour.

One afternoon, I became a witness to an ugly incident that forced me to intervene. As one senior citizen was trying to cross the road when I had just come out of a shop, one mobike-rider zoomed by in menacing speed. Shell-shocked, the senior citizen said, in Hindi, “Nalaayak!” in sheer exasperation. The mobiker heard that angry reaction of the senior, braked his two-wheeler, turned around, came close to the senior citizen and asked in total rage, “Kyo be, zyadaa masti ayee kya?”  Still in a state of shock, the senior citizen asked, “Why don’t you ride your mobike a little slowly?” The young man said, “Don’t try to teach me. I know what I should do. Don’t say a thing, or I would box your nose!!!”  It was at this stage that I felt like intervening. I accosted the mobiker and did whatever was needed to take care of his brazenness. The fellow must have gone straight to a doctor later!

But the issue does not get settled in such a manner of instant justice. Nobody can take law in his hands the way I did. Such issues need a tackling at an altogether different level -- of making the younger generations realise their part of responsibility towards senior citizens. Of course, I quite realise that I am almost asking for the moon, in the sense it is almost stupid to expect a majority of youths to conduct themselves in a polite and responsible manner. They ride their bikes or cars in a rash manner. They use abusive language at the drop of a hat. They are willing to pick up a fight with anyone, including cops. They do not mind hitting the cops, too, when the cops accost them for violation of rules.

I realise that such generalisation is not good. And I admit that all young people are not like that. Yet, the society is experiencing a general tendency of the young people towards brazenness and arrogance and I-care-a-damn attitude. They do not like to be corrected by somebody. They hate being told to follow rules. They are also seen wanting to hit even senior citizens physically. How do we solve the problem then?

The answer has multiple prongs: One, the cops should be directed to help the senior citizens by ensuring disciplined behaviour by younger people; two, other people should team up to teach brazen youths a  lesson if the need be; three, the families should ask their youngsters to conduct themselves with an innate sense of responsibility; and four, the colleges and employers should insist upon proper behaviour of their young students or employees. This, of course, is a long-drawn process. But at this stage, there does not seem any other way to confront the problem.