The Courts Worried about the Neglect of Parents

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13 Sep 23
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- Lalit Garg -

The Courts Worried about the Neglect of Parents

In the newly emerging social order and family structure, the life of elderly parents is becoming tragic. The neglect and indifference being shown towards elderly parents by their children in the society has increased so much that the courts have to intervene. Parents are not only facing disrespect, but they are also being deprived of essential necessities like-- food, water, medicine, roof over their head etc. Though, it is a one- sided story. Amidst the increasing dominance of materialism and money, parents are falling victims to the harassment by their own children. To control such growing problems, the courts have to intervene, but also have to force their children to take care of their elderly parents and respect them. One such decision by Madras High Court is going to raise questions on blood relations in today's society. The court has made it clear in its decision that it is the responsibility of the children to fulfill the needs and wishes of the elderly parents. This decision by the court is not limited only to property disputes between a child and parents; this needs to be seen and understood in a broader sense. Creating a sensitive mindset can change the environment of the society. The court wants that by freeing the elderly parents from indifference and neglect, the thinking of considering them as a protective shield should be developed, so that the structure of an ideal family can be revived and the health, carefree and frustration-free life of the elderly can be managed. The court has done a commendable job of awakening the society through highlighting the need of accepting the elderly as a matter of self-respect, not as a burden in the times when money is becoming more dominant, than relationships.

For this reason, serious problems regarding the elderly persons have arisen today, these problems did not occur suddenly, but over a long time due to the changing social values under the consumerist culture and the metropolitan modern consciousness, change in the thinking of the new generation, increase in inflation and a person's concern about his children and wife. Due to the tendency to be limited, an important aspect of thinking is to stop this wrong trend of neglecting the elderly; this is what the court has emphasized in its decision. Because the wrong way of thinking has not only made the life of elderly parents difficult, but has also increased the emotional distance between man and man. The question is that the parents who try their best to give a good life to their children even after enduring hardships, why do their children start avoiding their duty when their parents grow old? Why does their children's greed remain focused on their parents' property?

It is not that all children are neglecting their parents, but if we look around, such cases are seen increasing everywhere. The great irony and anomaly of the present era is that the elderly are standing frightened at the doorstep of their own homes; neglect of the elderly is becoming a black stain on the healthy and cultured family tradition. This is a sensitive thinking of the court through which the growing distance between children and parents can be removed; the court wants to create such an environment in which the elders in the family should never be seen as a burden on us, we should never think that their presence restricts our freedom. They should be kept tied to the family’s stream. But we are wandering in the narrow lanes of opportunistic, one-sided and narrow thinking; that is why, there is fear, insecurity and panic about the future in the eyes of the elderly parents, and there is endless pain in the heart. Aged parents need to be freed from these tragic and scary situations.

There is always room for improvement. We should respect our elderly parents in family life, for this we should move in the right direction, think right and do right. The increasing burden of lawsuits related to elderly parents in the courts is a serious problem, for this today not only a revolution of ideas is needed, but also an individual revolution and a family revolution.

Our India considers elders as God. There are many such examples in history that acting on the orders of their parents, great beings like Lord Shri Ram left the kingdom and wandered in the forests; Shravan Kumar, a devotee of his parents, made his blind parents sit in a Kanwad and made them travel to Chardham. Then why is the distance between elderly parents and their children increasing in modern society? This problem starts when the younger generation starts looking at their elders with neglect, and leaves them helpless to fight old age and loneliness. Today the elderly always suffer from loneliness, neglect by family members, contempt, bitterness, fear of being thrown out of the house or wandering here and there in search of a roof. Cases related to these situations take refuge in the court to get justice. Why do children who ignore their parents not understand that tomorrow they also will have to face the same phase of life that their parents are going through? The question to consider is whether the job of the court should be to advise children to serve their parents? When the water starts passing above the head, then the courts have to take tough decisions and make sharp remarks in such cases.

India is a country with the philosophy of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam'-- such thinking in which the whole world is one family. In a country that has given birth to such a unique idea, if children start avoiding the care of their parents and even start insulting them, then it is natural to get worried. This problem has also increased due to nuclear families. Free living and high consumerism have also deepened this problem; that is why elderly parents are becoming so frustrated and neglected. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are busy in shaping many plans for building a healthy and ideal society; they should also think about the elderly and implement old-age welfare schemes, so that the talent, skills and experiences of the elderly persons can be utilized in the new India. It can be used appropriately in building a strong India and can make the golden period of independence truly nectar-like. Elderly parents remain unhappy, because they consider themselves useless in society and family. There is a great need for concrete efforts by the government to relieve elderly parents from this sorrow and terror.

These days, many such incidents have come to light in the insensitive society, when elderly parents were even murdered due to greed for property. In such a situation, it can be easily imagined what mental trauma the elderly parents have to go through after seeing this naked selfishness happening with their own people. In old age, the parents are left with mental distress and only the hope of sympathy remains. Not only in big cities but now even in small villages, old people have to take shelter in 'Old Homes' when they are neglected by their families. Having a large number of 'old homes' is not a symbol of development, but a curse. This is really a matter of shame and embarrassment for us.

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