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Monday, December 31, 2012

Children See. Children Do

Our schools and teachers are doing a fabulous job of inculcating environmental consciousness and awareness among children. The past few Diwalis have been vastly less polluting while the recent Ganapati celebrations saw children urging their parents to opt for eco-friendly clay idols and tank immersions.

All of this is hugely commendable but unfortunately the best laid of plans come to waste…..when a mother tosses a discarded wrapper  from a moving vehicle or a father spits on the road. In a child’s eyes, the parent is infallible so what he or she does MUST be right. “Arrey, roads itne gande hai, toh kya pharak patda hai?” smirks the unabashed culprit and sure enough the child echoes this very same refrain 10 years down the line.

Now take two steps back and survey the environment or rather our immediate environment – our society. Do only schools and teachers have the responsibility to shape young malleable minds?  Gender sensitivity, equal opportunities for both sexes & respect for women are topics being flogged to death by the media. The callous police, the badly worded laws, the terrible lighting, the pathetic nakabandis – everything was pulled up and blamed for horrific acts of violation. But to a large extent the family of the miscreants are just as much to blame.

Sometimes I feel women are the biggest misogynists. All of us have heard women condemning other women for working late, for having male friends, for wearing a skirt, for having an opinion….Or worse, we know of women bemoaning the birth of a daughter or treating her little girl not quite in the same manner she treats the apple of her eye a.k.a her son. Then again, there is the grossly sexist husband and the ‘good’ Indian wife who puts up to the taunts without a murmur – a good example being the recent Hindi movie “English Vinglish”.

Won’t you expect the children to imbibe the very same ideas? That girls who step out on their own deserve what they get. After all that is what mummy implied! That girls have no business having a life beyond the kitchen or a girl simply has NO right to say “NO” to a man - Daddy makes that abundantly clear, doesn’t he?!

We, as mothers or fathers or neighbours or just concerned citizens have a huge responsibility towards our future generations and our immediate family – if we want to raise our girls to hold their heads up high and our boys to be more humble. 


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