Fundamental Duties and Senior Citizens
The Constitution of India is by far the most important document spelling out what we Indians shall or shall not do as a nation as a whole. As a nation comprises of people, provisions in the constitution say what citizens should and should not do in very broad terms. Common man, when he hears the phrase Constitution of India, immediately thinks of Fundamental Rights guaranteed to him but rarely ever thinks of Fundamental duties binding him. Rights and responsibilities are two sides of a coin and one can not exist without the other.
As I have been working the area of welfare of Senior Citizens for the past decade or so (post retirement activity), I shall discuss fundamental duties of all citizens from older persons' point of view. The first duty asks us to respect the National Flag and National Anthem. When the National Anthem is sung, some people, even senior citizens, walk away or busy themselves with trivial things like talking on mobile. They are supposed to set an example to youngsters but do just the opposite. Event organizers should ensure strict compliance of this duty, especially as this is enforceable by law. This is the simplest of all the duties specified in our constitution.
The second duty viz "to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle" is fittest to be enforced upon senior citizens. They are closely connected with the last generation that sacrificed a lot to get us independence and freedom. If present day seniors do not understand or appreciate this, how can we expect youngsters who are far removed in time to understand?
"To defend the country when called upon to do so" is another fundamental duty. Senior citizens may not be of much help in a physical sense. However, fighting an enemy requires brain power and experience as well. Whatever contribution one can offer including encouraging youngsters to be enthusiastic and patriotic is well within the capabilities.
"To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women" is the fourth duty. Having seen life and strife, seniors are best suitable to renounce bigotry, petty feelings and narrow mindedness. Besides shedding feelings of partiality based on religion, caste, language, region of origin etc, older people should dissuade youngsters from being narrow.
"To safeguard public property and abjure violence" is the next one. We find strikes and bundhs everyday, where a common accompaniment is the loss of public property like buses and buildings. Elders can do their fundamental duty by bringing culprits to book, offer to be witnesses etc. In initial stages suitable advice to younger adults to calm down and see sense, might work. Keeping aloof thinking "this is not my concern" is wrong.
"To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual" is the final diktat. Here comes the ideas of life long learning, University Third Age, Distance education, productive ageing etc. No age is too old to learn. No age is too old to contribute to society. If elders can be active through out and contribute their mite to society by way of voluntary service, work, suggestions, advice etc our country will certainly progress much faster.
The above article written by me was sent to the organisers in connection with the award of UNV Karmaveer Puraskar - Karmaveer Chakra award given in November 2011 to me.
Dr P Vyasamoorthy, 30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278.My blog: http://vyasa-kaaranam-ketkadey.blogspot.com/
I have started a third blog: http://seniorcitizensdiscounts.blogspot.com/