To begin with it rather appears very agitating but an admitted truth that ideal mothers have lost themselves in the mists of time. There was a time when a truism like “if a woman is educated the whole family is educated “, was commonplace and convincing and accepted as fundamental principle of life, but sadly it has lost its credibility and relevance in this paradoxically modernized world.
Decades ago being educated meant having wisdom even if you didn’t have a string of degrees and compellations. Nowadays, literacy rate has gone up, and we see more mothers who are highly qualified, but the impact of their qualifications doesn’t yield any significant results. Instead, there has been a considerable societal collapse due to their non-performance. Now it can be said that there are many other social, economical and cultural factors responsible for this change, but the bottom line is that the mothers are not performing as they used to. It is visible everywhere, right from poor education in the interiors of our regions, breaking family systems, low tolerance, no family bonding, lack of moral values, to drug addiction, higher crime rate etc.
To comprehend the situation better, we can describe what has actually changed on the ground. It is appropriate to list here a few of the common activities and occupations of our typical mothers in the present times and how their priorities have shifted.
We may begin with the dilemma of most of the educated women no matter working or homemaker. Their horizon of knowledge is wide, but their focus cannot expand beyond the comforts of their own children, and their professional accomplishments rather than grooming them to become good citizens of the society, having good moral values, good conduct and character.
In the case above they end up damaging their own children and in some other cases which need to be particularly pinpointed children of others are the sufferers. Scenario here in Pir Panjal is worse than ever and specially worrying. The Majority of households manage to obtain underage domestic helpers of poor families especially those having working women. Domestic helpers are lured by the employers in the guise of providing them education and thereafter employment. However, these people, that is domestic helpers, are registered in schools for name’s sake only and are not given the chance to attend the classes. At the end of the year they get a chance to appear in the exam personally or at times someone else writes the exam for them, which obviously is not about educating them. Ultimately they are able to get their certificates without going to school, and the influence of the household for whom the kid works plays a major role in this. Illiterate and ignorant parents are given the impression that their children are doing great, earning wages for them and going to school also. It is horribly disturbing when you think about the type of education we women are imparting to the ones who relentlessly work hard on meager salaries to comfort us all. Though we have a few exceptions, and I am reminded of a lady professor of one of the prestigious institutions of Jammu who guided and supported the ward of her domestic help who later joined as air hostess in the airline industry. But examples of women like her who are actually contributing for the welfare of the poorest and the weaker sections of the society which are serving the affluent, can be counted on fingertips. Majority of us worry only for our own children.I wish we were not so self-centered and had some empathy, which no doubt has become a virtue of the goners nowadays. Who can disagree that the children who work as our domestic help for years deserve to live a more dignified life, having quality education or any other skills to earn their livelihood when they step out of our houses.
Another factor among many others which prevents women from doing full justice to their motherhood is the intra couple dynamics within their marital lives. Now, according to a study an average male spends 365 days of his life staring at the fairer sex. And if that male happens to be promiscuous, it can have a very adverse effect on the marital relationship and the psychological state of the wife. We can understand that in a situation like this a great portion of the time and attention of a mother, working or not, is spent on worrying about their husbands that they might cheat on them. In this psychological state it obviously becomes impossible for a mother to focus on the upbringing of her children.
It is quite relevant here to mention a study that I stumbled upon recently which says that a human brain consisting of 100 billion neurons has more computing power than a modern-day computer, and it can contain as much information in its memory as is available on the entire internet. With utter dismay it has to be admitted that the minds of average mothers are occupied more with taking care of their houses, it’s decorations, cutlery planning menus, children’s food preferences, excessive concern with what brands they buy and use, fashion, make up and looks. In all this the overall growth and development of our children, the future of our modern India, takes a back seat. Majority of we women can’t persuade our children to refrain from eating junk food coupled with sugary and carbonated soft drinks and eat a balanced Indian meal consisting of daal, roti, sabzi, and an occasional non-vegetarian meal every now and then. Alas, we mothers fail to convince our children to eat healthy and a balanced diet and stay away from junk foods including cold drinks which are nothing but empty calories. Castillo Ronaldo an international acclaimed Portuguese footballer’s just a small gesture jolted the Coca-Cola industry with billions of dollars loss as he promoted and recommended drinking plain water over binging on soft drinks. What Ronaldo could do, we mothers can’t.
A woman who gives birth to her child, Allah ordains in Holy Quran that paradise lies under her feet. She has been freed from the responsibility of cooking, cleaning, taking care of her husband and in laws to give her a free state of mind so that she can focus and devote time for the upbringing of their children.
Finally, instead of giving my own conclusion, I would like to leave the discussion open for our youth and our contemporaries. Here are some questions which I want to put forward to you and request you give your attention to it. Can we bring change in ourselves to have a healthier and peaceful society, or we are approaching towards a day when values, cultures, traditions and virtues like empathy will become a thing of distant past ? Our society primarily our youth have already been influenced by the examples and definitions of power, glamour and what goes with it. It’s worrisome to imagine that our future generations will be brought up having little moral values but impregnated with lust, desires and greed greed. Now,may be in the distant future we are able to replace non-performing teachers with robots and high-tech computers in classrooms who would be capable of providing the students with best of the academic information. But what about the values, wisdom, fairness and character? What about love, piety, compassion, respect and fairness so essential and existential when to the human race? Will computers and robots be able to inculcate these value into our children ever? Can the mothers be dispensable, ever? Can we imagine the fate of the world filled with non-performing mothers ?
(The author is Asst Professor in Higher Education Deptt)