Mother and Motherland – April 21 2010

A child was taught at school not to litter the classroom and the campus and that all scrap should be thrown neatly in the dust bin. Being a good little girl of four years who was just learning the ways of the world she was looking for a dust bin in the crowed market place to throw her chocolate wrapper. Since she did not have a pocket she was holding it in her hand. As her mother caught her hand the wrapper slipped from her little palm which she was holding so consciously. She bent down to pick it up from the ground and was shocked when her mother gave her a whack on her butt. ‘Stupid girl, how many times have I told you to throw it on the road? And now you want to pick it up from the dirty path?’ scolded the ignorant mother not knowing what damage she was doing to the child and to society. The child carried a sense of guilt in her mind all through the shopping and was also confused as to why mother was scolding her for a task for which she should be praised instead! By her conscience she was being a good girl but her mother thought otherwise. Her mother just taught her child to be casual and join the ‘chalta hai’ band which is now the normal population group in India and not just an abnormal sub-group. What a pity! But who cares?

Take another example. A mother pampered her only child, a son, with all the best possible goodies she could give him. She would purchase for him the best brands and naturally the costliest ones in clothes, cosmetics, shoes, and eat regularly in multi starred hotels. He got habituated to such luxurious brands and it was not his fault. The result is anybody’s guess- there were two natural fallouts of this ‘brand’ psychology. One, was that, his focus was neither on studies and nor on personality development but his focus was on extraneous factors such as showing off his brands to his peers (he also naturally choose a peer group that was similarly ‘branded’) and gaining brownie points from them. Two, was that, he developed a craze and praise for everything that was ‘foreign’ and hated his own country and motherland ‘India’. India bashing was a favorite pastime. Patriotism was an unknown and alien concept to him as he developed a desire to run away to the golden lands of the brands! He also had the privilege of going for many holidays abroad and seeing the beautiful cities. India was horribly underdeveloped, terribly poor, it was dirty and filthy and people had no civic sense of keeping it clean.

Such people often have memory lapses of their own great contribution to the filth.

Mothering is a great responsibility and no easy task. Mothers have to consciously think about their actions and their repercussions. Every action will be followed by a consequence. Their actions have far reaching implications and have to be understood by them. Mothers are responsible in a big way for building the character of their children. Good moral character with good habits is what children need to be taught. Developing discipline and good values in children is the need of the hour. Mothers should teach children the value of money and discourage them from joining the ‘rat race’. 

If mothers and fathers do not speak of their own country with pride, to expect the children to develop patriotic love would be ironic. If parents value every other foreign item as good and Indian goods as substandard the child has only learnt what he has been taught. If parents damn care of keeping their cities clean children only model after their parents. Thus children only follow the ideals set by their parents. If there are no ideal parents how do we expect ideal children?

Published in The Hitavada Womens World – 21 April 2010

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