Nurturing the Roots

A candle light demonstration seems to be our answer to each and every evil in our society

A candle light protest has been planned by some Social organisations at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, this evening, to pressure the central and state governments to strictly follow the Supreme Court’s guidelines on ragging.

The demonstration is in memory of late Aman Kachru, a first-year student MBBS of Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College in Tanda, Himachal Pradesh, who died allegedly after brutal ragging by his seniors a few days ago.

“The family and friends of Aman Kachru along with students from various schools, colleges, universities and members of some organisations like Kashyap Kashmiri Sabha Gurgaon, Roots in Kashmir, etc, are joining the ‘Aman Movement’ on Saturday evening”, said Aditya Raj Kaul, senior member of Roots in Kashmir.

“Aman Kachru should be the last ragging victim”, the organisers of the candle light demonstration told Hindustan Times.

Just a few days after this case of ragging which ended in the death of the unfortunate victim, another case where the poor victim tried to commit suicide took place in Andhra Pradesh.

“The 20-year-old student of Government Agriculture Engineering College in Baptla town in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh consumed pesticides after senior girls in her hostel forced her to dance in front of them without clothes yesterday, police said.”

I doubt that candle light demonstrations are going to stop this horrible trend.

Of course, the authorities will have to see that justice is done, and done swiftly, not after a wait of many long years.

The Supreme Court has issued directives based on based on the recommendations of the apex court appointed committee headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan. Now it is up to the Central and State government to act upon these directives.

It is not as though there are not, even now, laws to punish the offenders. But our law enforcement authorities should have the will to do so. With elections coming up it is in our hands to elect representatives who will see that the Supreme Court directives are followed.

But doing only this much is not enough. It is said that just watering the leaves will not result in a healthy and fruit-laden tree. These remedies will be of limited use. Nurturing the roots is more important. And the roots are what we very easily forget because they are not visible. Have we failed to nurture the roots of today’s young generation?

In today’s ‘modern’ society youngsters do not seem to have any ideals in front of them. It has become the fashion nowadays to scoff at our historical figures which earlier generations held in high regard.

The great revolutionaries like Netaji Subhashchandra Bose or Bhagatsingh are dismissed as being opposed to ‘non-violence’.

I have heard people say that Chatrapati Shivaji was communal because he fought against Aurangzeb to establish ‘Hindvi Swarajya’ in Maharashtra.

Our great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata taught earlier generations about the triumph of good over evil and extolled the importance of virtues. But again, they are seen as ‘out-of-date’.

Having destroyed the old ideals, we have also failed to give our children any new ones that they can look up to.

We have allowed them- no- taught them, to despise any sort of regulations. So they feel that they are free to do whatever they feel like doing. They want freedom without responsibility.

Today’s young generation does not seem to understand the difference between Freedom and the Indian concept of ‘Swatantrata’/’Swatantrya’.

Swantantrata does not mean absence of any rules. It means that we may do anything that is in accordance with rules that we ourselves have set in place. And we are bound to set such rules that enable us to have a clear conscience.

Have we failed to instill this concept of ‘Swantantrata’ in the minds of our children?

Have we failed to nurture their roots so they may stand strongly grounded against forceful winds?



  1. to be honest with you, may be ya we r failing to nurture the roots….may be we are taking things for granted or may be we r overlooking at basic morals to be instilled in children from young age? may be its a full circle and its our turn!


  2. I agree with you – these days children want freedom without responsibility…I don’t know why this is so…I wonder if the media has something to do with it or the increase in the number of nuclear families…


  3. all is wrong with the school curriculum – that is the root of the problem. ( i don’t know what it is now –but it was during my days). One then has to forget what is learnt ( time and energy wasted ) and start all over again.manju — when i talked about breaking free of nehru when i was in college, i used to be considered weird and insane by my own family. so don’t blame the kids and the youth –if adult minds accepts everything as being taught in the mass media ( there it goes No.2 culprit ) all goes wrong.The food on our plate is wrong ! Period.


  4. Sahaja- Well, we have to find the answers to these questions if we want to avert more tragedies from happening! BTW- Our turn for what?Sraboney- In some nuclear families, we see that the parents themselves, being free from the restrictions of joint families for the first time, act any way they want- so the children imitate them.


  5. Anrosh- I agree about the school curriculums not being suited to instill any sense of responsibility/ integrity.I remember our teacher in school once telling us with pride that Jawaharlal Nehru used to send his suits to be laundered in London. I remember wondering how he did that, when the British were ruling over us and were our enemy.


  6. Lighting candles has now become just another ritual of a new religion that helps keep its high priests in the limelight and in business.As you have rightly said, values have corroded, courage has yielded to cowardice, responsibility is being seen as being the opposite of freedom and everything is being dishonestly camouflaged behind the cloak of non-violence.There is an urgent need to re-visit many of the choices that Independent India has made to set right many of the ills that have emasculated the society as well as the country.


  7. “Chalta hai” “Hamare haat me kuch nahi hai” All these mentality is what most of people in our nation are having. Fighting for righteous things, living with moral values, having goal of being a role model, all have become glory of history only. No body has it now and those because no one taught to be so in schools or colleges. How many kids know real story of life of Subhash Chandra bose, Chandra Shekar Azad, Veer Savarkar and many more revolutionaries whose life have the strength of making real Indian for India? And the syllabus based education system where you learn and remember the text book lines only upto the 3 hrs on final exam and leave there after is good for nothing. And finally it ends in having educated people with no self respect.I was getting surprised when my friends while being ragged doing all stupid things killing their own self respect. I opposed of being ragged and it was not easy too! But I was worried that even the top class students also do not have the concept of “Swatantra”


  8. Deep questions ! And how thought provoking !It is imperative to think about these. When rituals have become mainstay sans the meaning they were associated with.When education gives you memory and computation without much application !When people give importance & reward mere motions and concrete action is abstracted.When Ramayana and Mahabaratha are mere DVD titles sharing the shelfspace with 'better' 'epcis' like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum !When current vote banks become more important than the future those who live..You know that the ground beneath is shifting. And perhaps we have reached a point, that going forward any further is going to have consequences that are disastrous. Or maybe the consequences are already playing out. Sigh.


  9. Vinodji- I agree, there is truly a need to revisit the choices that we have made in the past sixty years. We are simply throwing out all the aspects of our Indian culture which helped our children to grow up having positive human values. As Anrosh has commented- we cannot now blame the children.Pangala- You are right, children today do not learn the inspiring biographies of our revolutionaries in school. Then how will they learn the lesson of self- respect? If all the students oppose ragging, the few senior students who want to indulge in it, will not be able to do so. But, as you say, the students must have the self-confidence to speak up and oppose it.Unfortunately not many young people have this self-confidence/ self-respect.


  10. Manju,how smart of you to come up with thoughtful posts every now and Bones told,everybody wants freedom without responsibility.they they rave for is money and fun,no matter ‘at what cost’… //Chalta hai” “Hamare haat me kuch nahi hai” All these mentality is what most of people in our nation are having. how true…


  11. Manju – Very thought provoking post. It is so disturbing that a bunch of students can kill another student and the whole country does nothing( or little) to correct this. Yes ‘ Freedom without responsibility’ is a problem. Yes, our law enforcers need to have the will and we as parents, need to enforce values which clearly schools and colleges are lacking…


  12. you know how I feel about freedom..:)and about the way this new generation is forgetting so much..or actually not being taught at all here is something Vikram discussed and all of us too link works:)though it looks weird:Dcandle light vigils..*sigh*overdone na?but the public probably thinks its the best way and after the media coverage given to the Jessica lal murder, they also hope that justice will be done in other cases too if only the Media would cover the candlelight vigils and pressurise the authorities..


  13. Nimmy, Smitha- It is necessary to think about how youngsters can have freedom without harming others. Why is it that they seem to mostly want freedom which will take away liberty or life of others, or trouble others in some way? Do others not deserve their freedom?Indyeah- I think media attention can help only in a select high profile cases. Candle- demonstrations seem to mostly help those doing the demonstrating, by making them feel they are doing something constructive.


  14. You have hit the nail on the head.We have strayed in the name of a modern, liberal secular and permissive education and lifestyle.Any talk of returning to the roots is sure to be condemned as a communal and any one would feel ashamed of being traditional Indian / Hindu.I have said earlier and I repeat – Hindu bashing is a sure shot formula to your 15 minutes of fame. And yes a candle light vigil / protest is another way of showing temporary sympathy with the victim and then forget them faster than you can say “Candle Light”. We need to go back to our roots. This is a national mission.


  15. I don’t think values have corroded. The issues with each era are different but the impairment done is same. We always have the tendency to say that today is worse than yesterday. But I am with you on overdone candle light vigils. I don’t remember when we picked that up. It is not going to bring any result. Actually I have always thought that media is the one which can actually shed some light and force the authorities to make stringent rules. Rallies help too. Something in-between meekness and aggression.


  16. Hi there. Great blog! :DJust what is happening in our society today? The ‘weak’ gets bullied (and not just bullied, mind you) and then students get away with it just because they are minors. I also doubt that the Candle Light Protests can help but at least they are trying to. It’s better than not doing anything. Justice should be served and minors be punished.I agree that people in my generation (I’m 17) lack interest in History, the Humanities and the Social Sciences. It’s like those things don’t matter anymore. No one really reads books anymore except a few old ones, some adults and some teens. People forget their virtues. Nowadays, it’s always about the freedom to do something. Freedom of this and that will lead to the destruction of society if people just continue to be stupid and fight about their rights and forget their responsibilities.


  17. Solilo- I agree, the issues with each era are different. But regarding ragging, etc., I think youngsters are increasingly having less and less regard for a human life. Of course there are many reasons for this- one being that influential parents pull strings to ensure that their offspring are not punished, whatever they may do. We see that this happens more often today. This leads the children to think that they are free to do anything they want,with no fear of punishment. As I, and others, said, only the children are not to blame. My generation is at fault in equal measure for not instilling a sense of responsibility in today’s young people.


  18. HalfCrazy- Welcome to my blog! Regarding the problems in society today- well, it’s really in the hands of thinking youngsters like youself to do something about it! 🙂


  19. You are absolutely correct. We have failed as a society to inculcate good values in our children.I like your sentence: “And we are bound to set such rules that enable us to have a clear conscience.”But this seems to suggest that those who carry out these bad deeds have some guilt in their conscience. My feeling is that they do not have that. Yes they have fear (of being caught) but no guilt.


  20. I think the burden of the whole society is carried by a few, like you, who have a conscience. The ones who carry out the dirty deeds, continue to do so, without any remorse. To them it is survival of the fittest and often these people believe that the ones who follow their conscience are fools.


  21. Children cant understand swatantrya at an age as small as 5. But its necessary that they know about rules right from this age. Its difficult to decide when and for what to give freedom. Sometimes to be able to decide on this parents have to keep pace with their childrens generation.They need to know what their children crave for, are inquisitive about, which friends they have or even what they read….Its then that such decisions would be much easier!


  22. punishment. strict punishment. that will fix all. college students are not kids. they should know what is right and what is not. they should also know what would happen if they wrong.


  23. L.V.S.- I think that you are right in saying that those who do the ragging, etc. do not feel any guilt about it. Such a sad state of affairs.Peppy- Yes, the disconnect is there between two generations, maybe made wider today when people are rushing around, too busy to even to talk to their family. The pace of everyday life has become very fast.Inder- Yes, wrongdoers should be punished. But it would be so much better if there was a way to avoid these incidents in the first place.


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