Parents' Day 2020: Looking at changing parent-child relationship through the lens of history
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At the end of the Samar Parv (Battle Chapter, 36: 6) of the epic Mahabharat, one gets to read a beautiful and subtle shloka uttered by Vidur, whose celerity of mind was acknowledged by all: Na va Duryodhanam samharam cha Kauravam shatash, pratidavisht parijan priyajanm, yatha vinashaya pratipasthe (If only, Duryodhan and his hundred brothers had SENSIBLY loving parents, this catastrophe could have been averted).

Vidur, the man of nous, obliquely referred to Dhritarashtra and his inordinate aptya prem (blind love for Duryodhan and other wayward Kauravas). This shloka encapsulates the measured role and deep import of the parents and their emotional duty towards their offspring. Raising offspring is no joke and becoming parents entails a litany of moral responsibilities. Much more than the child, it's the moral obligation of parents to bring him/her into this world. Because a child doesn't come into this arena, called world, on its own. Shaad Azimabadi put it succinctly: Tamannaon mein uljhaya gaya hoon, khilaune deke bahlaya gaya hoon/Dil-e-muztar se poochh ae raunaq-e-bazm, main khud aaya nahin laaya gaya hoon (Entangled in quotidian wishes, misled by getting toys/ Oh the glitter of the world tell me, I've not come on my own, rather brought into this world).

A child's first teachers and mentors are his/her parents: Prathamasya gurunam abhibhavakam asti-Yagyvalakya Sutra. The combined role and concerted endeavour of one's parents shape up a child's existence and help him/her become a balanced individual. The Dutch saying Erbona el texla ent'or ebrin (We're what our parents are) is an ever-relevant adage that's germane to the bond that exists between a child and the parents. We are often spitting or extended images of our parents because their parenting and nurturing get embossed on the palimpsest of our minds, helping us grow and emulate them. But as they say, every relationship comes with a baggage or a certain caveat/rider. Even this seemingly unconditional equation between parents and offspring is no exception as you read at the outset that it was Dhritarashtra's unrealized dreams and aspirations that he wanted to realize by any means through his son, Duryodhan. Even after nearly 4,000 years, today's kids carry the same uncomfortable tortoise-shell or the Sindbad's old man on their young shoulders.

It'll be in the fitness of things and also very timely to dwell upon the fact that much more than the peer-pressure, it's the parental pressure that drives a child crazy and if he or she's unable to meet the impractically exalted academic standards set by the parents, his/her world shatters forever. This we realize all the more in Indian familial set up, where unattainably high hopes are accrued to a child by the overambitious and overzealous parents. Cloyed with the parental fussiness, kids have to flaunt their parents' unfulfilled dreams without daring to flout them.

And as we say, it needs two to tango, kids also have a moral responsibility towards their parents for giving them the best they could. May this bond remain forever intact and unsullied. On Parents' Day, let's pledge that we remain beholden to our mother and father and live sans a feeling of rancour and resentment towards them. A sense of gratitude is all that we need.

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