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Brains Super Speciality Hospital
Citizens without Citizenship

“ABHIVADANA SEELASYA NITYAM VRUDDHOPA SEVINAHA CHATVARI TASYA VARDHANTE AYUR VIDYA YASO BALAM”

Taking care of the elders has been the tradition of this country from time immemorial. Our scriptures have given quite an elaborate note about such culture. It is not only a matter of duty but the immense benefits of doing such a good act with due respect and reverence also has been enumerated. However such nice cultural marvels and values got eroded with time. Even in terms of responsibility, it is heartening to see the parents running from pillar to post on various pretexts to protect the child. It starts with conception beginning with various health checks, maternity care, infancy care, vaccinations, schooling, education, marriage, and so on. Thus it becomes simply a moral reciprocation for the children to look after their parents.

But modernization, the nuclearisation of families, migration and professional commitments have changed the dynamics of the world as well as the commitments and mind set of the people. The newer generations are more into the wrath of the materialistic world entangled in the web of competitive worlds. Thus a new set of priorities and goals have crept into their lives. Technology though improved connectivity and communication brought in unseen distancing in physical relationships and bondage. This in turn made the traditions dilute and values fade with time. In our days such values were taught in schools using such amazing shlokas. Nowadays education starts quite early but a change of medium has changed the media itself.

Nevertheless, Western culture is very clear in setting its goals. It is more or less a mandate for a child to leave home and lead an independent life as soon as they become teens. Then the relationship is quite customary and so variable depending totally on individuals. Since these customs are well established there is no heartburn or any expectations. So every parent or senior citizen knows that they have to fend for themselves.

Whenever I go abroad I see senior people leading independent lives regardless of their age. But the governments are quite supportive. They take care of security, safety, health, and financial support. They have built wonderful systems that one need not worry about aging. The systems got so well established and function like a well-oiled machine. One need not run around or struggle to get things done. Rather priority is given by default.

The situation in this country is becoming very dubious. Neither the children nor the government is extending support leaving the senior citizens high and dry. It is a nightmare to think of life in this country as a senior citizen. Fundamentally we don't have security or social security. The safety itself is questionable. Paradoxically all the senior citizens today are those who deliberately stayed back and contributed to the progress of this country. Those who left the country are enjoying the benefits of the developed world. Those who toiled to build the nation, and paid taxes now have to beg for their basic comforts of living. Everyone has witnessed innumerable schemes time and again in various sectors, particularly in food and health. Yet all of them were temporary, short-lasting serving different purposes. Despite years of independence, we have not thought of establishing such fundamental rights. In the bargains, senior citizens are becoming losers in this country. Their seniority and citizenship have no respect or values. The recent developments indicate the progressive loss of priorities and privileges offered to them. It has become a matter of convenience to change systems and ignore the old systems. Senior citizens need unconditional privileges to keep their morale.

Safety, social security, health, economic benefits, social priorities, travel privileges. All subsidies and reservations must be extended uniformly to all senior citizens across the country. The central government should create and implement a uniform code for the senior citizens. Interestingly senior citizens in India are quite contributory. They continue to contribute in some way or another till the end unless they are crippled with some ailment. This mind set is quite opposite to that of Western countries. The country is made of its people and one of the biggest resources that India has is Human Resources. We must channel and use these energies effectively as well as support them comprehensively.