When we talk of forefathers we may include our elders from the very early stages of life. So, if we see the life of the early man and that of ours today, we will have to accept that our lives are much better than the lives of our distant forefather – that is, the early man.
This is because, early man lived like an animal, with hardly any civilized existence. He went in search of food just like animals, lived in caves, wore next to nothing or, at the most leaves covered his body. From this standard of living of the early man we have come a long way into civilization. The comparison between his life and ours can thus hardly be drawn as, these are two types of lives of two extremes. The correct perception and comparison can be drawn, when we delve into lives of our forefather of say 2 or 3 generations back.
For this, I daresay that, life of our forefathers was much better than ours today. To conceptualise real life of the two generations, we have to assess what we really want from life, to call it better or worse. Life can be called good only when there is a balanced admixture of all the ingredients of life, that is, a proper balance of work and entertainment, duty, comfort and hard work. This peculiar and difficult balance could be found to some extent, in the generation that reigned in the middle of the present century.
Today we can, undoubtedly claim to be far ahead of our forefathers in scientific and technological advancement. These have provided for us several gadgets which make life for us very comfortable, and also give us a sea of knowledge. All these benefits did not accrue to our forefathers. They lived very simple lives and also quite comfortable ones, without much of a hullabaloo of fast growth, fast money, fast life and fast death.
Now, let us analyse where this so called modern progress is taking us. Yes, we do get storehouses of knowledge and entertainments at our very doorsteps, but have we ever pondered for a moment as to what all we have had to sacrifice for all this. We have had to give up all social get togethers and family outings which were a treat to the previous generations. So much so that we are in the process of breaking the family links. Each member of the family is busy in his own quest for knowledge, and enjoyment. No one member of the family is aware of what the other members are busy doing. Is this a family? When such families make a society, what can be expected of life.
In our times, the family and the society, the two stalwarts of the Indian nation are giving way under the immeasurable pressure of fast technological growth. Then, where does our generation go to find other necessities of a happy life, like love care and all else? Our forefathers enjoyed the plum pleasure of loving caring families, children who would served them in the evenings of their lives. Where do we go to search for these essentials of life, which make life worth living. These are the pleasures that we of today long for. Regarding society also I’d say that our forefathers enjoyed the pleasure of social gatherings which were meant for celebrating happy occasions in the family and the society. It is not that to –day have become platforms for showing off our all, to all others, than avenues of helping each other, as they were earlier. The family is fast disintegrating with elders having been thrown out of the family ambit. The small children are spending most of their time in crèches and the parents are busy in money brokering. Where are the ties, where is the love, where are the bonds which our forefathers savoured.
This life of so fast a pace is leading this generation to known and unknown maladies, their money spinning keeps them on toes, and they are forever on tenterhooks. Is this the life that we cherish, which is completely devoid of love, care and all that was? The new buzzword of modern life is tension – I say, tension of getting what? Here I would daresay that, this tension is not of getting all we want but, it is the tension of getting all that others have. This attitude was a missing number in the previous generation, and this is exactly what contributed to their high level of happiness, which is missing now. The happiness of the previous generation was I think due to the great gift of ‘satisfaction’ that they had. It is not that they did not try to improve their lot, or they did not want to live better but, they were happy with what they had and at the same time tried to improve their lot. This was a wonderful combination of attitudes, which I feel, kept the previous generation happy.
To-day we find no one, yes, no one at all satisfied with whatever he has. All people seem to want to have just what they do not possess, and all that the others possess. To this attitude I’d say there is no remedy, and it is just this which makes us unhappy in the midst of all amenities and affluence. This an attitude of living in a fool’s paradise, for we must realize that, all of us cannot get everything that all others have. If we keep struggling for all this, it is no wonder, we will always remain tense, and this tension will cause all kinds of ailments. We must remember at this point that our bodies and the minds are one composite whole, very closely effecting each other. If we are mentally disturbed, the physical aspect cannot remain unaffected. So, in this aspect also, our forefathers were better off than us. They worked to improve but, apparently, remained happy with whatever they possessed, and this was the master key to their happy and wholesome existence.
Regarding enjoyment also the irony of this so called progressed generation is that, they have all modes of entertainment, at their beck and call but, where is the time from money spinning. So, may I ask as to what is the use of having things and never being able to enjoy them – is n’t it worse than not having them.
Another thing though inanimate, was enjoyed by our forefathers in great abundance were qualities of honesty sincerity and devotion. These qualities found often in most people in earlier times must have made human relations easier, plainer and happier. Today finding these qualities in people around us is like trying to hold the wind our palms. It is this that makes life difficult and even miserable to most of us. Wherever we go, in whatever sphere we dabble we have to encounter dishonesty insincerity and lack of dignity. With all these negative qualities to be faced every where, where can we of this generation find solace and peace of mind. If we do not fit into the grooves of these disgusing qualities, we find it impossible to function. Here again, our forefathers have taken the cake. Today, life at home, in office and in society is virtual torture where can we claim to be better off than our forefathers.
Summing up the lives of our forefathers and ours, I am of the opinion that the lives of our forefathers were positively better than ours. They were happy and content which I think is the essence of life, no matter what else we have if we miss upon this, our lives are deserted. Today, all the good things that make life livable are missing in our modern pattern of life. Though we have progressed apparently but, the bug of dissatisfaction is grasping our very existence, and making life meaningless and void.