30 Jan 2012

Is there Strength in Unity?

In an era of liberation and equality, it is not to be wondered that everyone wants to be recognised as an individual and not merely as extensions of their families or work place.There is nothing wrong in it, after all a person is not merely the sum of all the things that make up his family, he may not have certain characteristics that they do, or possess some that they do not.He is then just a small tile making up a big mosaic, and his identity, while fitting in with that of his family, is still unique.

However in a large number of cultures this individuality is not recognised and a person is first seen as an extension of the family.Anthropologically speaking, such seems to be the case in the societies that have existed for longer periods of time. In such societies, the primary characteristic seems to be its focus on group interactions through the recognition of family and caste or tribes.This is quite understandable.Most of these societies came into existence when man was fighting nature for his very survival and banding together to supplement resources meant better chances.Thus the worth of a group of people was far greater than that of a single person.Even in the great epic Mahabharat (Written in an age when man was civilised and far better at survival) when the Duryodhan is offered a choice between an entire army and Krishna, he opts for the army, thinking that numbers meant strength.

Due to their coming into existence during the ages when unity dictated the very survival of the tribe, these societies became group-centric, however while certain races like the saxons have moved on and developed a system of recognising individual worth, a large number still persist in considering a person only as a member of a group and in terms of their contribution to the group to which they belong.

This however has started to conflict with the modern sense of individuality and can be seen as a prominent factor in most households where children posess a different mindset to that of their more community minded parents.One such common example is that of the involvement of Indian parents in their childrens love life, (being 40% higher than any other community in the world, is now becoming undesirable.
It is not uncommon to find parents and children at opposite ends of the spectrum regarding an issue, any issue.The child may even disagree just to disagree because it means having a different opinion and that in some form is an affirmation of his individual thinking.We all have at one point or another chafed at the way we are simply expected to fall in with our elder's wishes or concur with their opinions.A good example of instances when this is detrimental is the election procedure where young adults simply vote for a party that their father votes for out of some misplaced sense of duty.Election is a serious business and the choice should be made after serious consideration of ideology and manifesto.Similarly parents caution their kids to do or not do certain things and while thats a good thing, some things are meant to be experienced.Let the kids make mistakes and learn.While their desire to protect the child is laudable, it inhibits the child's understanding.They should be made aware of the good and the bad but left to make their own decisions, rather than expected to fall in with their parent's dictates.

Group dynamics, while an ancient social force are some of the most ephemeral and substantive things in a person's life.While they were essential in the old ages, civilization has brought to fore the importance of individual person, after all, what is life if not an expression of self in a quest to be remembered after we are gone? Therefore a suitable balance has to be found for between the old and the new and while the old order changeth, yielding place to new, it need not become redundant.Wisdom of the ages should not be discarded  to the whim of the youth but used as is a carefully tended reference book in the hallowed halls of a library, to be brought out when in need of guidence.


Shazia Khaleel said...

u write so well:), found u thru the grapevine
u won an award on my blog:) x

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