Older Persons Have Great Role in Furthering The Human Civilisation
Blessed are the old persons who are being exposed to full cycle of the nature and mystery of life. Escaping death in infancy, childhood, and youth has enabled them to have such a great experience. The Death comes only once in the lifetime, and if she did not come earlier, it would definitely come in the end of the full life span, but a great relief for us is that no one has ever died of old age. Old age has never been the cause of death of anyone, and hence we may relax. Rather, the old age comes with great advantage. Most of the works of science, arts, and philosophy, apart from other subjects, have been the products of old age, most of the important projects of great importance have been led by the older people, and even most of the rulers, even the brilliant ones, of the world have been the elder ones. Therefore, there is a great hope and big scope of harnessing the energy of the older persons, especially of those who happen to be, by and large, inactive due to their falling in certain disheartening circumstances ranging from merely psychological reasons to the physical limitations that they have been experiencing.
Let us remind the contribution of the older persons in furtherance of well-being of the people and the civilizations. The great saint poet of India, Tulsidas started writing the famous Ram Charit Manas, which has been ruling the psyche of India for almost six hundred years, at a great age of 77-78, and completed in 2 years, 7 months, and 26 days. Lorna Page has surprised us all who is the oldest debut novelist on record. Her first novel – A Dangerous Weakness – was published when she was 93 years of age. Not only that she surprised us multifold when she spend the money she earned from to book not only to buy a bigger house for herself but also for few of her friends so that they could properly enjoy their golden years of rest of the life.
These are not merely some examples. One can find numerous such examples in our own time. Only a cursory look at the population, we can find that our greatest doctors, learned lawyers, seasoned politicians, brilliant artists, excellent artisans, capable industrialists, successful business persons, extraordinary scientists, and so on among the old age people. Though nature of life puts some physical limitations in the old age, these could not deter many of the older people even going to war. We have numerous examples of old people going to war as warrior from ancient age to our own present times. Many extraordinary warriors of the ancient Trojan War of Greece and the Mahabharata War of India had older people. Even Kunwar Singh of Arah in Bihar waged war against the British by picking up arms at the age of 80 during the first war of Independence of India in 1857. He led the revolt and his people gave very tough fight to the British forces. The whole freedom struggle witnessed numerous older people as participant, and when India became independent in 1947, the older persons gave their shoulder to reshape our country. The so called dwindling physical strength could not subdue several of our prime ministers who worked about 18-20 hours a day.
There are, however, a large number of people who in the nature of things develop a most damaging sense of loss. First by losing sons and daughters to their spouses and then losing their jobs with the most chilling word ‘the retirement’. Loss of their fathers, mothers, friends and several near and dear ones further increase the sense of loss. Many of them suffer even loss of their say in the family. This increasing sense of loss makes them melancholic, and either they lose interest in life or become despondent. They start escaping from work and even take refuse in even most damaging ritualistic aspect of religion. In place of growing in their knowledge, they start suffering from several psychological problems. The level of their emotions become unreasonably high and to retain peace of mind becomes too difficult a task in itself.
Such a situation can be avoided with only little efforts, irrespective of the situation an old person happens to be in. We are both our body and mind, and therefore both of them need to be taken care of, first by oneself, and then by giving an idea of the old age to the younger generation having no experience about what is undergoing an old age is like. Younger generation should be enabled to understand the emotional, physical, and intellectual requirements of the old. It is one of the most important task before us, so that the society could cope with the new emerging situation in which increase in longevity is likely to add more and more old age people in our population. As for the old persons, they can safely dream of living for a great cause. They should not only show care for their family members and other near and dear ones, but also should do something for the society and the nation. They must be aware of the great energy they still possess while avoid all the unreasonable swing of emotions and the pitfalls of the nature of being. The body and the mind requires great care, and they should exert together, to lead a happy life with enthusiasm until the fine day comes with a great kindness to relieve us from all the tribulations of life, and our contributions are recorded by posterity, while we proceed to the ‘unknown world ahead’ with the ‘pious merit’ (Punya) we might have earned in life. Since Dharma generates only by our work of doing something for others without hope of any return, we must do something now until the rest of life.
Dr Gyan Pathak
Writer is a senior journalist and author. He is one of the leading commentators on the issues of public interest in the country. His articles are published in several media outlets across India. He has PhD in comparative study of journalism and literature.