Amazon and Pepsi are not only the exemplary token of today’s consumerism; both should be regarded as the ambassadors of modern living with slogans like ‘Aur Dikhao’ and ‘Ye Dil Mange More!’ It’s been decades Humans have gotten rid of the orthodox values like being modest, living simple and thinking great. The times demand that while flaunting the latest and high-featured tech-gadgets you should be flamboyant, live extravagantly and think only if it is absolutely inevitable in a life-and-death situation like, 'what should we do for the dinner?' Meaning which restaurant to go… not what to cook, you dated geek!
There is no need of a philosopher to preach what is the best way of learning? ‘Example (or model) isn’t another way to teach, it’s the only way to teach…’ said Albert Einstein, the legendary Scientist who wanted to stop all scientific research for he could foresee what human would be capable of if the scientific and technological development continued and how it would go beyond the control of humans. Anyway, we have long passed that now and, whether we like it or not, we are standing on the verge of an Armageddon! And that’s what we are teaching our children as they learn better by imitating, developmental psychology says!
Believe it or not, I have met children in pre-primary and nursery schools (‘do we need any of them’ is a different story just like ‘do we need old-age homes’, but later on that) who had ambitions of being a Doctor, IT Professional or even a Politician! I was as surprised as you are (am I assuming that?) and couldn’t figure out where does it come from when I realized the theory of conditioning. How on earth the kids who are still being toilet-trained are so ‘calculative’? It’s simple… they (over)heard it; or they are made to hear to it, repeatedly. The daily soap effect, you know… saying a same thing 3 times with same expression with different light and sound effects. ‘It makes an impact...’ one of the TV Gurus said to me…!
TV, the Media is the second ‘teacher’ of this generation who can actually live on it. Remember a Student who comes from a family that earns Rs. 3,000 a month but manages to travel the whole country by Air and replay the same tape everywhere that once was hit at a ‘Cultural Program of Poetry Recitation’ in a university? This generation is really smart and knows the worth (read: face value) of everything. And they have learned it from their icons, their idols… the celebrities that are celebrated for not any specific contribution but their status that they have earned with their impeccable ‘Art of Having’!
Have we got everything right in a nation where... a Chief Justice breaks in tears in a National Conference, people and cattle are dying for water and the visit of politicians to offer them solace (not water!) is costing hundreds of thousands of liters of water to prepare helipads, women are considering themselves liberated by snatching their ‘right’ to enter the sanctum sanctorum of ancient temples and continuing the ‘tradition’ by following the ‘rituals’, a popular sport event is being celebrated and a rampant fire burning Museum of Natural History that destroys countless collections of the country's flora and fauna and possibly invaluable reference books is being said 'tragic' and moaned on the backdrop of Reserve Bank Governor’s earnest remarks about the economy… to list the minimum. Although there are also few positive things happening in the midst of this, their endurance, volume and impact would be negligible in the long course in absence of one major virtue that is missing – integrity!
Unless and until everybody, each and every one of us who considers himself/herself ‘Indian’, doesn’t make ‘Integrity’ the way of life and live by it every moment, there is no point in teaching children ‘Honesty’ by narrating Moral Stories. One who doesn’t practice what s/he preaches is a hypocrite and as we consider Einstein the intelligent one, we must agree that ‘example is the only way to teach’; what can we expect the next generation to become who is watching hypocrisy all around… noble ones?
Sustainability is not just a matter of Policy; it is a matter of individual and institutional ethics. It takes people of integrity and appropriate institutional structures to realize sustainable and inclusive development.
(A Righteous) Way to go…!