Moral Values in Indian Society
Human beings enjoy the maximum freedom and power for governing their habitat and environment. This power enables them to misuse the resources or exploit the not-so-privileged at will. Materialism, advanced technologies, and a lack of understanding of the basic cause of existence have led us to a degradation in our moral values. Let us take the case of India. We are the most ancient civilization.
Vedas were written here. Buddha got divine knowledge here. We are proud of our rich cultural, historical, and spiritual heritage for which, we are well known around the globe. But today, have we kept those ideals, values, and principles close to our hearts, which were so dear to our -ancestors?
Take, for example, the concept of joint family. Today, no young couple prefers a joint family. Nuclear families—on the pattern of division of the family in the USA and the West—create a sense of insecurity among young people. They are financially dependent upon their elders whom they have left. They do not want to be grateful to their parents. Rather, they want to disown them.
True, rapid industrialization and urbanization force young boys and girls to explore new and green pastures. However, old parents at home suffer due to the apathy of their children. The next most prominent degradation in our moral values reflects itself in the form of corruption.
In India, corruption is prevalent at all levels; peon, officer, SDO, telephone lineman, engineer, doctor, general managers, directors, ministers, cabinet secretaries, prime ministers, etc comprise the small cross-section of the long shocking list.
And the irony is that even if we accuse that they are guilty, they remain supreme. Rather, they have an opportunity to regain their seats in the state assembly, Lok Sabha, or Rajya Sabha. Examples could be cited of two recent scandals-prone VIPs—Sukh Ram and Narasimha Rao.
Further, Hawalaseam, Bofors gun deal, Fodder scam. Urea scam etc gobbled up the precious resources of the country in a slurp and nobody ever knew where the funds had gone. The politician-bureaucrat-criminal nexus has consolidated itself during the last two decades.
These developments do not augur well for the national economy and the moral conditioning of our younger generations. The common man has his own reasons to be corrupt. A head constable in the Indian police force draws a meager salary. He has to feed a family and support their basic needs. So, he forces his `clients’ to give them a ‘decent’ fee for his ‘services.’ The common man is caught up in the vicious circle created by poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance. He lias purposely lost his moral values to the new era of commercialism.
Free-market economics has added fuel to the fire. He finds that everybody is corrupt. So, he wastes no time in becoming part of a corrupt system because that suits him as well as his fellow citizens.
The famous model, Jessica Lal, was murdered recently during a cocktail party in New Delhi. Whatever may have transpired between the victim and her killer, it surely should never have led to a murder. In a bid to dominate or prove ourselves to be righteous, we go to the wrong extremes.
Another steep decline in moral values manifests itself in the form of our poor educational system and teaching methodologies. In fact, the poor educational system in all parts of the nation has led to poor moral values in society. And the educational system has deteriorated beyond compare due to rising in commercialism, thanks to the ill-effects of the free market economy.
The students do not respect their teachers. The teacher is forced to respect them (else he would either be transferred from the institution or he would be shot dead). Copying during the examinations is a compulsory exercise. Student unrest, politics it the campus, and inter-group rivalries put education, career Ind academic excellence in a backseat.
Best of the brains are drained to the West and we are left with nothing but chaff. If instead of importing goods and technologies, we could somehow stop the export of our talented professionals to the Western nations, we would need almost nil imports after ten years from now
The reason is that we would be self-sufficient due to our human resources and would be able to produce everything at home. But this remains a dream as money and materialism beckon our professionals from across the seas. The offers are tempting-and nobody misses the opportunity if offered once.
Another prominent characteristic of Indian society (especially, the youth) is overindulgence in free sex prior to marriage. The cable TV boom, Internet operations, cinema, and pornography have affected our young minds adversely. The teenagers are falling prey to the lust for the flesh and do not mind having multiple sexual affairs.
The moral degradation apart, this overindulgence is also spreading HIV among the youth. Ironically, the young minds are not aware of this tragic consequence of free and multi-partner sex.
Even the individuals from older age groups are making full usage 3f the free market winds that blow in our social and cultural lives.
We must find a quick solution to this menace; usage of condoms, avoiding multiple partners, medical testing of the partners prior to sex, and above all, avoiding sex before marriage could be some of the concrete steps for curbing this menace.
Further, in Indian society, respect for elders is taking a backseat in the name of modernization. Our cultural values have taught us to respect our parents and help them during times of their helplessness. However, the growth of nuclear families has led to the complete ignorance of parents and elders.
The offsprings even offend them so that they remain away from their personal- lives. What an irony of fate! The parents are forced to seek shelter in old-age homes because their children or sons-in-law (or daughters-in-law) are rude and insulting.
We never approve of such a deformed social and cultural chaos in our nation that was known for its warmth, empathy, and family traditions for over several hundred centuries. The decline in moral values in our social milieu has also manifested itself in large-scale violence and riots on religious grounds. Caste conflicts have been used by politicians for settling their scores with their rivals.
The bureaucracy and government machinery at the state or the central levels manipulate the masses and exploit them for their base ends. The industrialist does not pay full wages to the toiling labor. The prosperous businessman or trader takes away more from his employees than he gives to them. The entry of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) has brightened the human side of enterprise.
However, the MNCs have their typical snobbish attitude towards Indian workers. A highly qualified Indian (who is affluent as well) is eligible for a cushy job in an MNC. But a poor candidate, who has only merit to his credit, may not be able to join the same because he is not well connected or because his profile is too simple for a highly acclaimed multinational.
Materialism has put all the Indian traditions and values in the tile dump yard. Every Indian is running for well-defined and cash-convertible goals. Nationalism, family, society, and morality no longer matter for him. The solutions for this dangerous moral decay do exist.
We must break the bureaucrat-politician-criminal nexus. Bureaucracy must be separated from political machinations. Criminals should be banned from politics and should be treated with an iron hand if they try to disturb the democratic norms laid down by our Constitution. The Election Commission has done well by forbidding candidates with criminal records from fighting elections.
In our schools, traditional Indian values must be taught and reinforced. Schools can change the face of our society. Sadly, commercialism has started raising its ugly head even in schools. This must be stopped immediately. Educational and cultural programs must be organized in all the localities of Indian cities and townships.
The virtuous deeds of our national leaders and freedom fighters should be narrated through poetry, prose, and theatre. These programs should also involve children in whom, the basic social, cultural, and moral values have to be reinforced for building a morally sound nation.
Corrupt politicians should be tried by Indian courts and should not be allowed to take part in any political activity. Foreign culture, especially the MNC culture, should not be allowed to overtake our traditional, values. We believe in becoming modem and technology-oriented but not at the cost of our national dignity and social norms.
The concept of joint families must be promoted among young couples. This concept would enable them to take fruitful guidance from their elders and would also ensure a better future for their posterity.
Indian cultural heritage should be promoted and protected through festivals, music concerts, and conferences. Literary interests should be developed among the youth. They should be persuaded to take in more interest in Indian Arts, music, crafts, and historical monuments.
Education should be imparted according to Western norms. However, Indian values must also be enforced so that our children remain in touch with their roots. The promotion of gurukuls is one such example in this context.