This is a topic, I am not an expert on but then whatever comments I make is based on my general sense of good & bad; which essentially is developed based on my religious belief and upbringing which I defended in a previous post of mine.
I have in recent times witnessed a lot of lapses in Parenting but then Shilpa’s Post finally triggered me to right this one. Here are some instances I have witnessed-
“A small gathering in the house, and breezer was served. A couple with children, aged around 10 years, allowed them to have sips/gulps from the drink.”
“A party and a large gathering the entire family is invited, everyone is drinking starting from beer, scotch, to tequila including the non adults in the party.”
“A mother during a party gives some spoonful of vodka to her toddler less than a year old.”
“Two kids discussing when they meet in a social gathering, where one of them asks other to have a beer. The other one refuses saying the parental restrictions and the other one counters telling that he always has a drink with the parents.”
All these instances have happened in front of me, the background of the kids is generally middle and upper middle class. The parents are supposedly super educated i.e. have completed their B. Tech, Mtech, MBA etc. and maintain an English speaking culture amongst them and the kids, send them to classes starting from singing, dancing, karate to salsa, tango and personality development.
Now very honestly, I don’t condone drinking for anyone and when it comes to women I believe they harm them more and for kids my only reaction is being aghast, even at the thought of it.
I know in countries like UK & US, there is a agency or a watch dog which keeps an eye on how the children are treated and an act like any of the above would be deemed illegal for the parents. And for repeated offenders the agency reserves the right to place the children in a more responsible home. In short the way the children of the country are grown up is the collective responsibility of the country and is implemented quite responsibly and rigorously.
On the contrary, India is a different land all together where we as a country are struggling to implement education for all, abolition of child labor. I am very sure that there is a law which makes the parents condoning of Alcohol below the minimum drinking age illegal but then it is never implemented. In India you can never be sure of that if you tip off the names of the people your identity would be concealed (which obviously belong to your social circle) and also the cops would come and take a bribe from the parents and leave things at that.
Now my views are totally based on the premise, that alcohol is not the best of the edible things around, not for anyone and not for kids for sure. Given the situation in India some 20 years ago the people in your social circle it was against our culture and our religion too. There would be elders who would point out that’s wrong; and even the so called forward minded drinking people would not introduce their children to alcohol. There used to be a social taboo, a religious tenet against drinking and even the people who used to drink regularly were ashamed and avoided doing it in front of their parents, children and immediate family.
Now today, “I drink with my parents” is one of the most common answers I hear from youngster I talk to these days on the topic of alcohol. In my humble opinion the legal route to this problem would never work in a country like ours. Nor does this mean I support the route of “Ram Sena” and their act of vandalism in Mangalore. But the way we have diluted the fabric of our religious tenets for the comfort and forgotten that the advancement for the sake of advancement should not be accepted.
I certainly feel that there is a need to ask that what kind of world we are creating and who governs the individual decisions that have an impact on the overall society. Consider the family and child below (Excerpt lifted and mildly edited from Wikipedia)
“He was asthmatic and was given special attention in his childhood. He was educated at the elite Mayo College in Ajmer. He then completed two years of undergraduate courses in Commerce at a college in Chandigarh. He initially thought of completing an MBA, but he joined the family business instead. He also built up the Piccadilly hotel chain including a pub-cum-discothèque in Chandigarh, and a theatre.”
Everything sounds hunky and dory and great choices above but then I believe in the family nobody questioned that why a boy less than 22 years of age has started drinking or entered in pub & disco business. We as a society will only cry foul when that 22 year old boy shoots Jessica Lal for not serving him a drink. I question the fact that he got into Alcohol and nobody in the family was aware or did anything to stop him. I don’t sympathize or support Manu Sharma but then I also believe 22 is a young age and there are mistakes you might make. There should always be a social guidelines & a check on people to avoid them from being fatal for them and the others.
This brings me back to the initial issues that how do we, as a society, keep our checks & balances? How do we distinguish right from the wrong? Is our legal system strong enough?
I believe the answer is within a broad sense of right and wrong which essentially lies in religious tenets and way of life which continuously evolve with time.