Friday, August 19, 2011

India's Value System. Is 'Respecting the Elders' 'The' Indian value?

Every nation has a set of Values and Value Systems. For USA it may be 'Independence'. Howe ver, if  you ask any Indian or a group of Indians, the mostly likely answer you will get is 'Respecting the Elders' [80% probability].

But is it really 'The' Indian Value? Think about it!

I say - NO. Its another example of 'Fact' Vs 'Interpretation'.

This question  came to mind during the Samsung Induction Program. That particular session was by a 3rd party organization and was about Ethics in Corporate Industry. The Speaker (perhaps her name was Devyani, not so sure about it!) asked us to name few Indian values and apparently 'Respecting the Elders' as the clear winner!

However, since I had never paid attention to this kind of thought and it was intriguing, I thought its was worth some thoughts. As I thought more about that thought, I came to realize that 'Respecting the Elders' is not 'The' Indian Value as we all perceive today.

Its is indeed one of the values, but we have actually misunderstood it. Its a part of a bigger value which forms the basis of Hinduism and Indian culture in general. Its 'Humility'. Its being humble.

Its not just respecting elders. Its about having mutual respect. Its about respecting people with knowledge and skills regardless of age! Its about being modest.

This value 'Humility' is cultivated from the very beginning. By greeting with 'नमस्ते' [Namaste] which literally means 'I bow to thee' [thee means 'you' with respect]. We bend down and touch the feet of the relatives and elders. We are told to respect our teachers. Teachers and mothers are placed at a higher position than God.

So you see, 'The' Indian Value, or the Greatest Indian Value is 'Humility' [Being humble, being modest]. Its not 'Respecting the Elders'. May we all cultivate this value so that our lives become cultured!

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