By Sanniah Hassan
There was once a time when family values and familial love was cherished above all else, now, not so much. Back in the 70’s and the 80’s we were taught by our parents and they by theirs to give respect to all relations whether parents, spouses or children, if they wished to have a peaceful household but increasingly these values can be seen diminishing.
My mother once told me how she and her siblings used to watch the comedy series 50/50 in their youth and how it had a great impact on them while growing up but, what resonated with me was the fact that on a visit to her khala’s (maternal aunt) house during the summer, her khaloo (maternal aunt’s husband) had advised them to not watch such things. Why? Because although the humor was harmless in the day, it was setting roots for an idea that can demolish any long-standing society – they were planting seeds against sacred relations, such as that of wives and mothers, advocating the concept of ridiculing them.
This idea stuck with me over the years because what my mothers’ uncle had said rings true today. So many of us mindlessly or maliciously spread jokes and messages that seek to make fun of husbands and/or wives, mothers and/or fathers, and even making jokes at the expense of peoples caste, creed or faith. In my opinion, such things should be frowned upon but, sadly they are enjoyed by the masses.
Why have I referred to this phenomenon as ‘poison seeping’ into generations? Because that is precisely what these jokes do. They gradually poison the minds of people (especially kids) who over time come to believe in the fabricated and exaggerated truths within such messages and jokes. There is no harm in having a laugh but so long as ones relations are not targeted with the intent of poking fun.
Merry-making should be acceptable so long as the intent is to laugh with the person instead of at them. Many a time I have been labeled ‘conservative’ or ‘old-school’ for thinking like this but, truth of the matter is, that any society if they wish to flourish thrives on two principles: (a) good and quality education (one that teaches children to think for themselves instead of following the norm) and (b) respecting other people (be it a relative or some random person you may meet on the streets); because every human being demands and deserves to be regarded with reverence.
We are so engrossed in our social media personas and our virtual selves that exist within our electronic devices, that we have lost sight of what truly matters. Perhaps it is time that we all take a few moments from our busy schedules to bring perspective into our lives, and just maybe, we can unite for the prosperity of our families and our societies and step into a better future.