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Freedom To Err

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by jayasala42, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    FREEDOM TO ERR

    -----------------------------

    Janu Auntie in her early 90s lives all alone comfortably in a single room apartment in Chennai. Contrary to my expectations she was very cheerful and jovial talking to me of her ( good old days ?) in a joint family.

    Joint family system is a unique feature of our glorious heritage.Actually it was a single man show by a patriarch. He decided and others simply obeyed. No arguments. No discussions. This was hailed as the strong hold of Sanatana Dharma.Now a days many sociologists and geriatric physicians sincerely suggest the revival of the system .

    But Janu Auntie who lived in a joint family for more than 35 years categorically states that the curtailment of freedom and constraints placed on individual thinking alone resulted in the disintegration of the joint family system.Women were brushed aside and relegated to the four walls of the kitchen. Barring a few , many men took life for granted. No reward for hard work, no punishment for laziness.No wonder, there was no dynamism.

    True, children had sumptuous meals, good health care,lot of cousins to play with and value for relationship.But “ are these the real objectives of life?” asks Janu Auntie.

    The main missing item was ‘individual space’.No fulfillment of desires and ambitions. No self identity.Individual talents were totally ignored.There was craving for freedom not only in the country, but at every door step.

    “Caged birds accept each other; but the flight is what they long for”Tennesse Williums.

    The head of the family gaining lot of importance,as is natural, others felt dishonoured or left out.The built in pattern of joint family system hurt the giver as well as the receiver.

    Ironically, the glorified advantages of the joint family system itself become the root causes of its failure also.The comfort provided by the system made lazy men enjoy the fruits of others’ labour resulting in a heart burn in the family.Nor were such people ashamed of their useless existence.The system which was meant for peaceful co-existence and mutual trust transformed into jealousy, hatred and agony.

    In this era of communication, all people cannot be ignorant all the times.

    “Ignorance may be a bliss;but certainly it is not freedom, except in the minds of those who prefer darkness to light and chains to liberty”( Robert Hugh Benson.)

    It took nearly 35 years for Janu Auntie to shed her hesitations and come out of the system.It is her relentless hard work and encouragement that had elevated her two sons to the status of eminent scientists.But for her right decision, her sons would have been insignificant .

    Janu Auntie recollects that many people accused her for transgressing the traditional norms and pointed out to her wrong decision when she suffered initially for a few years to make both ends meet.But “ Freedom is not worth having ,if it does not include freedom to err” says Mahatma Gandhi.

    I am reminded of the goat Chandni,( ‘Abbu Khan ki bakri’ By zakir Hussain) who was petted and pampered, left off all her comforts with a longing for freedom to play on the mountain tops and breathe fresh air ,even willing to sacrifice her life at the hands of wolf.

    At the end of the national struggle , the ruler left the country, but at the end of the domestic struggle the ruled left the home.

    “We need have no regrets about the disintegration of the joint family system.It is a welcome change and amounts to regaining ‘the right to decide’,the thirst of every human being.After a few years we will have youngsters with core values,high individual ambitions and right thinking who can lead our nation to the top.Nothing is more precious than preservation of freedom.This is a message for the Tamil New Year for the younger generation from a nonagenarian” Auntie smilingly remarked while I took leave.

    As I was returning I thought of my beloved mother.She was born, brought up and lived her entire life of 85 years in a joint family.She expressed in the last phase of her life” my only desire in my life is to have an independent hall in which I can lie down peacefully on the floor and think, talk, weep or laugh with freedom”.

    Jayasala 42
     
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  2. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    Very true. Joint family system as it was in those times truly stifled growth of the individual. However situation now is the other extreme where no two member of the family is able to see eye to eye on all matters. Freedom to ERR is good but freedom to not have empathy or have the minimum adjustments needed to get along with others who dont see things as you do, is also regrettable. However all this cannot be generalised.
     
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  3. nandinimithun

    nandinimithun IL Hall of Fame

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    It is good to have freedom and individual choice both.... Each comes with its own pros and cons....
    Every situation is different for everyone.... My mother grew in a different situation, i grew in a different situation and now my kids are different. However one thing that remains the same at all times is to love unconditionally and to build family values and be a kind person.....
     
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  4. GPriya

    GPriya Bronze IL'ite

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  5. GPriya

    GPriya Bronze IL'ite

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    Very True, Freedom gives one opportunity to venture into many things and if one fails, atleast, one knows how to correct and learns a good lesson too. Without freedom, one can't achieve anything. Freedom leads one to greater heights without being judged and criticized for even trying. Too much of protection is never good.

    Men brought up in joint family system are mostly lazy, and authoritative, and have an attitude. They are least compassionate and when needed they are hopeless to handle any emergency situation without being told by elders.
     
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  6. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Interesting subject. On the one hand people grumble about those good old days and on the other hand want freedom to disintegrate. We can not have it and eat too. No system is perfect. The only reason joint families are become nuclear is sons migrating to greener pastures with their wife and children. The women are educated, employed and career minded but the number is too little. Most of the women in villages and poor homes are still doing what their previous generation used to.
    Most importantly, responsibilities of urbanised women at home are still the same. In fact they have to do to jobs.
    It is one thing to 'err' at an advanced age when sons are well settled and entirely different to do so when young and with responsibilities at home.
    All said and done, anything done with calculated risk can not be termed as error.
     
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  7. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Gold IL'ite

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    Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" (published in the 1920's) puts the same thing in the context of the woman in the west.

    The idea of a "room" is to have the wherewithal to own or rent such a thing as a woman. Have the money, and the society's norms (in many countries women cannot rent/own their own space) to be able to do this. Money means the opportunities to earn it, or acquire it by legitimate and ethical means. Have the same rights as a man. VW lectured on the theme, and then wrote that book.

    The loss of collective family system is inevitable as more women have money/employment and the ability to acquire a room of their own.... to express their freewill. Eventually they will come to spice their own lives with the measured level of collectiveness they need. Like adding "salt to taste".

    A Room of One's Own
    by Virginia Woolf
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  8. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Urban or rural girls and women are now aware education and employment a must for their future security safety well being and to this end government propaganda machinery strive & get sizeable allocation of funds from central & state Kitty.

    As a result, many women in general are managing their nuclear set up riding both horses simultaneously hearth and office. What was considered bastion of men, one find a set of young women replaced men. There are banks managed completely by women.
    Patriarchal system joint family norms are given a go by and women are well empowered in emerging economics of nations.

    Given the age and primitive ness, one has to salute Jana MAMI’s for their bold initiatives.
    Thanks and Regards.
     
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  9. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Joint family system had its advantages but it was a totalitarian one with one absolute ruler, who probably imagined himself as a benevolent dictator but the others probably begged to differ but dared not. It was the hotbed of conservatism and new ideas were barely tolerated. Development of individuality was hardly possible. People were not encouraged to think on their own but were indoctrinated with mothworn ideas passed on from generation to generation On the plus side the system provided emotional security and financial stability.But was the loss of freedom worth it?
     
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