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Generation Gap & Brahmins

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This discusses some true dimensions of the generation gap. It is no more a gap and we feel it is generation break what we see today. The misunderstanding of values and not understanding of its origin can not be termed as generation gap.

The youth of our Brahmin community is a stubborn lot today. They –as previously thought by us- are not confused. They –we thought – were the victims of arrogance and anger of older generations. We had a feeling that our parents failed to treat our youth as equals and did not share the family matters. That was the essence of our last issue.
We wish that we stand corrected. The parents of our community suffer for the sin they have not committed. In order to rescue the youth from the old traditional net they have fallen to the clutches of youth supremacy. What they told as encouragement to the youth had been taken as weakness of elders.
The freedom to select the collage, the choice to take the interested carrier and the option given to prefer the life style are all the earnest steps taken by our parents to reduce the generation gap towards our younger generations. But alas, those gestures of love and affection were not appreciated in true sense by our youth and were taken for granted to indulge and engage with elements of unbraminical nature. Our youth misled the elders very badly in this regard.

The unlimited access, our youth have obtained to explore the areas of entertainment, education and endearment has created a paradox. What they see in those avenues gets stamped in their hearts like a concrete slab. They fail to realize certain stems and plants to their liking there- though may be noble and special- can not be planted in the braminical soil. The flowers may be beautiful but can not have a place in the pooja room.
When this reality surfaces and stands before our youth they ignore and call it as the generation gap. They have no hesitation or second thought to defy, even to defame their parents. They are determined to go their way by hook or crook.

After letting the wards to their choices in every aspect the parents see it next to impossible to impose and insert the brahminical indent in the matters of faith like marriage. The generation gap is the name given on such occasion for the unilateral trespassing of the duties and obligations of youth.
We should not be blamed for making this presentation one sided and biased against our youth. The reasons of such arguable accusations are the actual happenings in our Brahmin society today. We have on record so many cases in which boys and girls of our noble community had misused their freedom to do what they want and brought misery and shame to their dear parents who loathed and loved their children. Loving too much and lavishly attached was their only mistake.

We wish to conclude this conversation with a note of caution.
Generation gap is not the thing to be avoided. Youngsters should be given enough space of their own. Elders should keep a safe distance with them- not far away- not very close. The arrogance and aggression of elders of bygone era was an evil.

The selfish and secret adventures of present youth is a disaster.

Courtesy: Brahmin Today February 2009

'அவரவர் இச்சையில் எவை எவை உற்றவை அவை தருவித்தருள்
பெருமாளே! - திருவக்கரை திருப்புகழ் '
Soundara rajan ji,
your last para Generation gap is not the thing to be avoided. Youngsters should be given enough space of their own. Elders should keep a safe distance with them- not far away- not very close. The arrogance and aggression of elders of bygone era was an evil is well assessed and nicely concluded. My point of view is though many say the present day youth are "intelligent", "wise" , "carefully thinking", "correctly judging"," Planning well" etc etc the independance they wish to avail to cruise thro critical stages of growth is causing concern , many times.
the biggest gift that a child can bestow, and which a parent can work hard, is trust.

ie earning your child's trust. so that they look upon their parents as the first stop to coming for clarifications, doubts, ambitions, worries, joys and sorrows.

as parent of 3, i cannot claim to have succeeded in that. or even whether i did get a pass mark. only time, and my children can tell that.

many a times, we repeat behaviour, to what we ourselves have experienced. it takes some sense of alertness, to stop midway in our thinking or action, to go through the current situation in a mindset of what we wish to be as parents.

then adjust our behaviour, so as to ensure that whatever we do in response, is in tune with our child's standards and expectations.

children, of all ages, have a strong sense of morality. they know right and wrong. fraud from truth. as parents, we cannot do one thing, and preach another.

also, it might be well to remember, that today's child is exposed to far more in terms of knowledge and experience than ourselves. t.v. came to madras in my teens. till then, i had only books to broaden my knowledge.

today, with internet, the child in india gets the same exposure as the one in south africa or argentina or canada. so they exchange notes and values, and we as parents, are not only struggling to enforce certain standards as valid to us, but also as valid to our children's counterparts in other countries as well.

the transition from a parent role to a friend role, i think, is best begun early. in single digit age. because, with teenage, comes even more complexities due to hormones, over which we have no control.

how do we continue to be a source of trust for our children? this is the biggest challenge, i think, for any parent.

to continue earning this trust, involves a lot of give and take. above all, to avoid judgemental reviews of actions. lots of compromises. willingness to listen more than desire to preach. and above all unrequited love.

in this context, soundara, i find the article in 'brahmin today', not too much in sync with my way of approach child rearing. to me, the article appears to have come from the mindset of a wounded parent, to whom the child has not met his expectations.

maybe i am mistaken, i see everything translated into material gifts.. ie i give you everything you want as a child. in return, marry someone agreeable to my norms. i wish if only life could be lived per such simple formulae.

also, references to his child's behaviour in the context of society and defamation, i think, is irrelevant, and one way path to misery.

i do not think நாலு பேரு என்ன சொல்லுவாங்கோ should be the judging criterion in our relationships to our children. who cares what the others say.

our children are our most precious gifts. earning, keeping and treasuring their trust, is the biggest benchmark, i think, of a wise and successful parent.

everything else, pales into insignificance, i think.

it is inded a lucky parent, who can point out to his grown up children and proclaim that these are his best friends. and get equal acknowledgement from the other side.

it takes a lot of work... but certainly worth it.
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But we, pannvalan ji, have much customs and rituals which we try to force on them na... We have many blind beliefs and rich culture, which the youngsters doesn't want to inherit at all. They are much westernised. Eating pizzas, burgers, and french fries. How can we compell to eat them idlis and dosais??

You can explain them atthanga, ammanji, 2 vitta chittappa, athimber, and all. Will they remember atleast their cousins in next generation???

You can recite Lalitha sahasrnama or chant some other slokas, do friday poojas, go temples, chat with elders etc... Will you compell your children to do so?? they have time to only do their jobs. In free timings, they chat with their friends (? what kinda friends, you shouldn't raise query. It means you are disturbing their independence), they will play all sorts of games in mobile, or else they will simply sleep. How can you make them or urge them to do poojas? Atleast sandhi today is questionable I think.

You may be telling that your leg is paining, unable to digest, eye sight decrease, some other sorts of disorders, do they lend ears to hear that??? Because, they too have similar problems...

This is today trend... Total modernisation and westernization. Dont search for culture from your children. They will be earning mucho mucho much... But, never cares for your words. Dont expect any rituals from them... They have only rights. They will fight only for that.

Am not degrading the youngsters of our society... But, the worst situation is like that. Our cultural society is fading much, when compared to other societies. Thats all. Whom to blame???

If the parents compel anything, the children will rebel. They will do the just opposite.
Or when the parents are away, they will attempt doing something bizarre or dangerous.

But, wait, there's a way out. In learning, peer group learning is the most effective and elicits voluntary interest amongst all, particularly kids. (This is discussed under imitation and modelling).

Somehow, the parents have to ensure that their children get the right kind of friends - intimate friends - who have all the good qualities and habits, the parents want their children to acquire and sustain.

I am sure this is a more viable solution.

But, one word of caution:

Do not expect your kids to do what all you did when you were of their age.
I take a strong principled objection and disagreement to (at least) the following lines in the introductory post in this thread.- whether it is a repeat quote or member’s own , as he is endorsing the view.
“But alas, those gestures of love and affection were not appreciated in true sense by our youth and were taken for granted to indulge and engage with elements of unbraminical nature. Our youth misled the elders very badly in this regard……”

…………..”They have no hesitation or second thought to defy, even to defame their parents. They are determined to go their way by hook or crook.” unquote

This is blaming the Brahmin youth en bloc. Sorry, I cannot agree with that.

From the first post onwards, it appears that the “gerontocracy’ is treating the Brahmin youth as enemies, and not their own children.

I call upon the youth members of this forum to disagree with in this regard on the wholesale blame , and expose and disprove the old-heads with your experience and expectations and where they failed you.

I have to state only one point now and put the ball in their court.
(borrowing from an old Tamil film song)

Ethu kuzhanthayum Nalla kuzhanthai thaan
Mannil pirakkayile..

Pin nallavaraavathum theeyavaraavathum
Annai (Thanthai) valarppinile…

Nan Yaaroo….

ஏது குழந்தையும் நல்லகுழந்தை தான்
மண்ணில் பிறக்கையிலே
பின் நல்லவராவதும் தீயவராவதும் அன்னை(தந்தை)வளர்ப்பினிலே

Sorry…. நான் யாரோ....

I call upon the youth members of this forum to disagree with in this regard on the wholesale blame , and expose and disprove the old-heads with your experience and expectations and where they failed you.

I have to state only one point now and put the ball in their court.
(borrowing from an old Tamil film song)
I suppose I could be called as a younger member...

There is a fundamental dichotomy in the brahmin community - an internal hypocrisy. We talk about the vedas and shasthras, but aspire to be more affluent. One look at the matrimonial ads would prove this - no parent wants a traditional, culture loving, sanskrit knowledgeable, brahmin boy/girl. All that they care is the affluency, the degree of westernisation, and a comfortable employment (preferably abroad) that would ensure material prosperity (not intellectual).

So who is guilty?

The best way to teach is by example. The brahmin parents of today neither live up to their ideals of a brahmin, nor are they concerned about their state affecting their progeny.

The agony and the accuses start once they see their children behave independently. This is the impact of western education, the impact of modernisation. Is there one parent who wishes to live by the scriptures and adjusts his life to that level?

The present day elders had lived in tough times; survival was difficult and the anti brahmin wave was spreading. But, sadly, they did not learn anything of unity from this. They had let go of tradition in their quest for survival. Each went his own way, grouping only for ceremonies and when the need called for a vadhyaar.

When they had chosen their own ways, how could they possibly question their children?

Now, the article is a bit confusing - it talks about rescue from tradition and hence the reason for the parent to allow utmost freedom to the child. To be called a brahmin, one must follow the tradition; western education, free life-style etc are not the qualities that make a brahmin. Think this is an area where a grave error has been made.

The flood gates have been opened; now the parent can only wait for the deluge to subside, if at all it does.

The article is imperfect in reasoning. All that is quoted is relevant only if the concerned are not brahmins.

There is a always a gap between generations. It is applicable when we drag ourselves to lofty material pursuits.

The key is to live a life of simplicity, tradition, trust, and to abide by our dharma.

It is not blaming the brahmin youth en bloc. We are worried that many -note: not all - go out of the brahmin circle, thereby reducing our strength, not caring for the assiduously nurtured customs and practices over a long period, of which we are all quite proud of.

This trend - marrying out of one's own community - is not something new. But, incidence of this practice has gone up, after professional education and accent on individual freedom became more prominent. The economical independence gave the further thrust and necessary courage to defy the elders' counsel and it worsened the situation.

I know many parents who felt that they have lost their loving children, as they were snatched away from their (parents) lap, by someone whom these parents have never known so far. That pain and agony cannot be understood nor imagined by the present day's youth.

Because of the influence of cinema and tv, every youth today thinks it is his/her right and duty to fall in love with someone and if that could not happen, at least help somebody from their circle who is in love. If this could be done, it is seen and felt as a great achievement and as victory in the war against the whole society that condemns love.

You know, better than most of the members here, I can confidently say this.
I know the supremacy of love and its positive effects, which I have portrayed in my poems very vividly and descriptively.

At the same time, I always stressed the importance of arranged marriages and condemned false love, sprouted from mere infatuation. Love does not blossom in everyone's life; it is a god's gift. Very few people are fortunate and blessed to receive that gift.

What all picturised today is certainly not love. But chasing this mirage, many misguided youth forsake their loving parents and others in their family, only to join their lover. Is this justified? Is it correct?

All elders, particularly parents are not villains, in the life of their own children. They have invested more time, energy and resources in the future of their kids. Will they harm their children, knowingly or unknowingly?

If you are still unconvinced, I am prepared to continue my arguments.
Sri Pannvalan,

I can concur with you ( and many others in the forum) on the concern expressed.Even I feel concerned.I feel concerned on the dwindling numbers of our community.I feel concerned on the distancing from the umbilical cord of affection and values. I feel concerned what we can leave for the coming generations.Sometimes I feel scared. But....
let us introspect.What is our contribution to rectify or redress the ill effects and happenings?

Blaming the youth alone will drive then away further. Let us try to think from their side.How much confused and tense they are? At start they are pristine pure only.

Even Gold need some amalgamation metal to bring out strong ornaments.Hence a little compromise is needed in life.One step from the side of sympathetic elders will be compensated by the youth with two steps.I am talking from my experience.God is kind to me in that all the young boys in my family and my close relatives are still rooted to the values taught to them , also married within the community.Hence I may be little biased in favour of the youth .Many of them learn or show interest in traditional carnatic music,Rudram-chamakam, Nityakarama vandanams, and want to learn more.

My father used to tell me in my teens that- Thol Osarm vandaal pillayum thozhan.
He conducted himself with me like that.
My father's photo is the first thing one sees on entering my home(I feel horripilated with emotions while typing this).

So I appeal to elders that give the youth support,friendship, the confidence to confide to you....Our youth will remain bonded to the family, community and values....they are also concerned..

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I extend my hand of friendship, as you have mentioned. Let mutual trust and respect for each others' feelings form the bedrock of this bond.

Guidance is no interference and expectation is not demanding. You will reach my age one day. But, we have already crossed your age. Therefore, please have some belief and see some reasoning in our experience and the resultant appeals.

Why shall we blame our own youth? They are part of our own family. Our concern and prayer is to keep our stock united and to safeguard ourselves from the forces of possible distraction.

Though I am not one of the affected parties, I could empathise with the people who volunteered to share their agony and pain here. Yet, without turning into a mouthpiece for them, so far I have tried to do some balancing act.

I shall continue to be a bridge between the present generation and the older one.

May God bless you.
This seems to be a very interesting discussion.

Many interesting facts have come to light..the main being trust..I would rank mutual trust as the first. Parents need to trust their children and the children need to trust their parents too. Someone said 'the more parents control, the more children rebel'..it is not entirely true. The youth of today need some structure in their lives and a balance has to be struck between restrictions and freedom. It is but a fine line that separates the two. Too much of anything is not good.

The youth of today have more exposure to the outside world than the youth of yesterday. When I was engaged to be married, I used to correspond with my then husband-to-be on a regular basis through email and phone..my father used to jokingly say that there was no correspondence between your mother and me even using p-mail.. but they accepted the fact that we would be in touch, though they did caution about an over dose of keeping in touch too..

I grew up in a very traditional household. But my parents were quite open with us. When I was 15 I was involved in decision making..though my grandomother was not very happy. But my father insisted that I was made aware of what was happening. We were given a lot freedom, but my mother always knew when to pull the strings. Infact my father-in-law jokingly says that my mother and I have an entire conversation with our eyes and I listen to her..right from then to this day. Our parents gave us the freedom so that we would not go astray. On the first day of college, my mother told me to remember who I was and never let them down.. those simple words said it all..My athais used to think that my mother gave us too much freedom..but both my sister and myself married grooms chosen by our parents and I am very proud of that fact. I attribute this to the trust my parents had and have on us.

I grew up listening to Sri Sri Krishna Premi Swamigal. I used to be mesmerised by his upanyasams (still am). I grew up visiting Paranur every year.. but that does not mean I am a very religious person..I love God..but I dont know many slokams. My mother-in-law was horrified that I didnt know many slokams. I read the Ramayana (at least I used to regularly before getting married). But that does not make me a 'untrue brahmin'..Being a brahmin is not just following a set of strict rules and dictats..it is actually a way of life. No one can follow everything to the letter today.

We have to adapt to the changing ways of life.

It is easy to influence the youngsters today. Parents have to set examples for their children. 'Tholluku minji naal thozhan' is something that has to be kept in mind..and the children today need to remember that theri parents were young once. Mutual respect and trust and a better understanding will help turn the tide. Just blindly following the customs and traditions will be shunned by the modern society..but when the philosophy behind them is explained, it is easy to start following it. My grand mother always tried to explain why certain things have to be done and if they made sense I followed them..her comment usually used to be ,andha kalathula naanga velilaye vandhadhu illa..ippolam paaru kuttinga ethana panradhu'...but she accepted that with the changing times, they had to change..

Most people here on this forum are quite elderly people and I hope I have not crossed the line here.. all I am trying to say is change is inevitable today. Let us try to keep up with the changes but still not lose our unique identity. Identity is a major issue for the generation of today..through out the world. I met an old English man on the bus last week, and he was lamenting about the loss of culture amongst the English youth...this problem is universal...
........Most people here on this forum are quite elderly people and I hope I have not crossed the line here.. all I am trying to say is change is inevitable today. ....


I was raising merrily along in your post, enjoying the ride, till I came to the last para.

Boy, was it a jarring disclaimer, ‘Most people here on this forum are quite elderly people and I hope I have not crossed the line here’

there are many reasons why I find faulty with the above statement

in my view, age is numbers. You are only as old as you think. Ofcourse, the body says something different. Should that matter at all?

In that context, as long as what you say is from your heart, and presented well (as it is now), you should not have to have the disclaimer.

If there are such, who take offence, I would encourage them to come out and identify which part is offensive.

We cannot have a closed mind, and in order to please others with what we consider closed minds, tiptoe on our faith and beliefs, out of timidity.

One of the greatest pleasures of the anonymous internet, is that we do not know each other in person, and that, I think frees us from the hypocracy of paying pranams and pampering to the ego of the old of thinking, though not necessarily of age.

Ponnu, I wish to tell you, that being a fool is not the monopoly of the youth.

Believe me, there are old fools, and I think you may have heard the old adage, that there is no fool like an old fool.

The point of this note, if you don’t mind, is that it does not sound right coming from you, a blanket apology, at the end of a smart and well written note… just in case J

Boy, aren’t the young in England lucky, that they can openly say what they feel, with respect, without the garnishings of ‘RESPECT’ that we in india are still forced to do?

The smart ones among us old fogies, will take you for what you are, and appreciate. Those that don’t are not smart enough. These are best discarded than you bending low to pamper those idiotic egos.

The only thing constant in life is ‘change’. Every day, every instant, we are exposed to changes, and at a pace defying all sanity.

The best skillsets that we can possess, is how to handle these changes and come out on top. In this, our initial teachers are our parents. But if the parents themselves are calcified, their children have a poor chance to accommodate to this world.

This is why, I think, youth of tender years, act/speak/behave/believe like those of yore generations. Do you think, these have any chance of upward mobility, whatever you mean that to be?

Hope this explains J
Sri Kunjuji,

I was really happy to read your reply to what I posted...and yes, all that I have written is from my heart. There are more thoughts which are flooding my head, but if I started writing them all, then nobody will want to read it...(romba lengthy a irukum :D)

When I apologised, it was not to cover my back just in case, it was a heart felt apology to any one who could be offended...because people have been offended before when I have voiced exactly these same views of mine. As you have rightly pointed out age is a matter of numbers..

I think you are justified in saying that 'Change is the only constant in life' ...the rest are variables. As long as we are ready to embrace change and swim through the stromy seas, we will definitely succeed..with the blessings of those who are more experienced in the school called life.

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