During this week, I have come across many unrelated incidences on the social media that made me wonder as to what kind of parenting are we doing! We keep hearing about the bad behavior of the new generation, but can we the parents absolve ourselves from the blame?
The incidences are not in any order. They are presented just as they are coming to my mind. The first one involved a former Editor of The Hindu, Ms. Malini Parthasarathy. When a well-meaning tweet of her was met with an abusive response, she chose to ask the person whether he was son of a particular lady and whether she would approve such a language. Ms. Malini was trolled on Twitter for asking such a question. What surprised me was the response from the mother, Ms. VS Chandralekha a well-known Ex IAS officer and President of the (now defunct?) Janata Party. Ms. Chandralekha’s reply to Malini was “I am a democrat and support my son Abhijit's freedom of expression however annoying it may be to others.” A democrat upholding the freedom of expression is fine, but a mother upholding the abusive language of her son? That too against a senior lady? I also found many people on Twitter celebrating the reply as a great thing! At least we should be sensitizing our children that the right to freedom of expression does not include a right to use abusive language against anyone!
The second incident involved a CEO of a startup company who is now facing allegations of sexual harassment at workplace. I am not here to judge the veracity of allegations. What surprised me was the most insensitive responses to the allegations. Instead of being apologetic about failing to institute legally required measures to investigate and redress the grievances of the employee, I saw a lot tweets to justify the alleged acts of the CEO. It appears that for many people staring at a female colleague at workplace or telling her how tight or sexy her dress is, was all a part of the normal work routine! As per the reports the CEO has stated, "I am a heterosexual, single man and when I find a woman sexy, I tell her she is sexy." Apparently, he is not even aware of the problem with his behavior. Who is to be blamed? What happened to our parental duties to teach the children about the need to respect others, especially the ladies? Can someone who is brought up with the right values justify staring at or otherwise harassing a lady colleague?
Third incident involved the anchor of a prime time news show on India Today Television. Its anchor, Mr. Zakka Jacob announced his debate with a hashtag #PappuCantWinSaala. The trolls on social media use the term Pappu for denigrating Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Can an anchor of a news channel use such derogatory terms against national politicians? It did not end there. Zakka Jacob came with another tweet, announcing the ‘taking down’ of the derogatory tweet. Looks at the language he used for the taking down: “In light of universal distaste at my last tweet, i am taking it down. please pardon my not-up-to-the mark Hindi.” Now the pardon is sought not for the use of a derogatory hashtag, but ‘not-up-to-the-mark Hindi’! One may not agree with Rahul Gandhi on anything, but should people like Zakka Jacob misuse their platforms to insult Rahul and millions of Congress workers? Obviously, there was nothing ‘not up to the mark’ in his Hindi, but can we say the same about his upbringing?
A few days back Kochi saw a protest from Shiv Sena (which does not even qualify to be termed a fringe party in Kerala) workers, wherein a handful of goons went around Marine Drive and caned young boys and girls who were sitting there. The objective of the drive was to protect the honour of young girls! And how they sought to do it? By caning them in public, that too in front of police officers! Back to the social media, I saw perfect gentlemen and ladies justifying these goons by saying that such interactions between boys and girls lead to Aids! They are convinced that every boy and girl sitting together in a public place are about to indulge in unprotected sex and catch Aids! The reaction to the moral policing was through another extreme act of Kiss of Love. People kissing each other in public as a form of protest! Is this the two extremes that we are teaching our children? Can’t a man and woman or a boy and girl share healthy friendship or even love, and spend some time together talking to each other? Even if they are indulging in any immoral acts, what gives the right to individuals to go around and beat them?
In my view, all these seemingly unrelated incidences have a common thread. The lack of right values in our younger generation. The values get imbibed in a child not from hearing the parents, but from watching the parents and society. Somewhere in our busy schedules, we have forgotten our primary duty of parenting!