By M.N Sulehri
Old leaves fall and the new preen the trees. Every night is followed by a lustrous day and every winter gives a call of a green and colorful sheet to the deserted and grassless soil. This cyclic move is an irrefutable law of nature. It affects botanical creatures and does not spare human beings too. The old generation is replaced by the new blooming generation. The enthusiastic young people need the experience of the older ones to jazz up the process of life.
If is only possible if we have faith in our youth that they are capable of doing anything. The responsibility to restore trust to the youngsters rests with the parents and those at the helm. Educating the younger generation is like investing in the future. From the era of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan to the creation of Pakistan and up to now, the young people have accomplished unprecedented deeds to prove their worth. Despite their wonderful performance, they have been being termed as miscreants. No doubt, some of them have a tendency to negative pursuits. But, before, bracketing them with boors, we should seriously think of the factors that ignite them to follow the ways detrimental to society.
Mere, criticism can’t set the matters aright. A whole-hog blueprint is needed to galvanize the youth in a positive direction, especially in education. They should be granted the maximum opportunities to adorn themselves with knowledge, a force that turns a social animal into a civilized man. Present authorities seem sincere in this respect, as the youth is the focal point of the government.
Besides the government, parents are also supposed to understand the nature of their responsibilities. All-time scolding and cynical attitude towards their children embitter the situation. Parents always try to impose their will on kids that make them adopt a rebellious attitude. Such attitude, sometimes, ends in fatal consequences, at this critical moment the parents forget their own negligence and reprimand the children that are unfair, judged by any measures. They want the freedom to a reasonable extent to enjoy the halcyon days of youth. This provides the younger people with chances to practice anything on their own.
To judge the behavior of some parents, here is a dialogue that I had with a ‘learned’ father at a tea shop. It goes as:
“At night, I gave him a sound thrashing,” said a man sitting on the bench. “Oh! Well,” answered the addressee, “But you should have done it earlier”.
“Whom did you beat, Sir”, I asked hesitantly.
“Why, if you may please like to tell me”?
“He reads novels, and fritters away his time on the internet”, the father said staring at me.
“Reading novels isn’t a bad habit and the internet is a source of information for every one of us. So, why do you object”, I replied.
“It is the novels and internet that have spoiled the kids of rich families and I don’t want my son to be an impudent imp”, said the father.
“Ok!” I uttered a sigh.
“Tum Nahin janty Mera beta talwar hai talwar” (you don’t know my son is a ‘sword’ – very clever he means).
“Your son is not a ‘sword’ but a double ‘edged sword’ that can be used in any way you like”. I replied distancing a bit from that angry father – as he was getting red with anger.
“What do you mean by any way you like,” he said.
“I mean, if you treat him tenderly, he will be up to your expectations and if you follow the policy of “sound thrashing”, he would be otherwise”, I responded respectfully.
“Keep your Western philosophy to yourself, you are all equally crude” was his ultimate response.
This is the way he branded every young individual as a trouble-maker. It not only reveals his (father’s) ‘considerate’ attitude towards his son but also shows his ‘analytical’ approach towards literature.
The treatment of a short-sighted (pardon my saying so) father, meted out to his son forced me to brood over Hemingway’s novel, “The Old Man and the Sea”, that can, to some extent, be considered the story of two generations: the older and the younger. Santiago is the representative of the older generation while Manolin represents the younger generation. Remember, how veteran Santiago strives to transfer his experience to the greenhorn Manolin. What an excellent fictional example that should be followed in real life to establish good ties between the two generations. Manolin is a true devotee of his master. He is ready to shun everything for his senior’s sake.
If someone of our elder becomes a Santiago, he may find thousands of Manolins to serve him. Elders should adopt generous and mild behavior if they want the youth to become true and responsible citizens. The gap between the veterans and the boots can only be bridged through a mutual bond of love and affection, not by dint of ‘sound thrashing’ and unjust criticism. About this, Dr. Alexander John Malik once said, “The experience of the older generation and the energy of young generation are vital for development which can’t be attained without the existence of strong bonds between both the generations”.