Ways and Means to inculcate Ethical Values in the children to protect the nation from the depleting morals and ethical values under the shade of Globalization `Children are our most valuable natural resource. ‘ -Herbert Hoover “India will be radiant when our children are free to dance in the rain”- Azim H Premji, Chairman Wipro. “It is necessary that steps are taken to properly nurture them in the right direction at an early age,” says Sriram Kannan. Introduction
Ethical values generally refer to basic philosophical notions and professional norms about the morality of human conduct. Ethics deal with how we ought to live and with such conceptions as right and wrong. The evil is within us and it emerges from the depth of subconscious whenever there is a moment of the moral lassitude. Ethics gives us prudence to sift right from wrong and warns about what we reap as we sow. This idea is embedded in Hindu doctrine of karma, Islamic concept of last day and Christian idea of divine justice.
Ethics in India are not mere speculation but a way of living human and it is believed by us that highest morality is not reached through repression and asceticism but through the way of communion, fused with love, compassion and sympathy. Ethics is not about being part of any culture; it’s about being human. They keep society from falling apart, ameliorate human suffering, promote flourishing, resolve conflicts, assign praise and punish wrong. In the garb of modernization social and family values are regarded as obsolete and seem to be breaking down. But new values are yet to be consolidated.
The children are confused and distressed. Here our great culture and traditional values can take control and guide the child through the maze of ignorance, confusion and lack of information in an entertaining form and to inspire them to face the strife of life which lies ahead for them when they grow up, with grit, courage, Impact of Globalization In 1972, the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi emphasized, at the UN Conference on Human Environment at Stockholm, that the removal of poverty is an integral part of the goal of an environmental strategy for the world.
The concepts of interrelatedness, of a shared planet, of global citizenship, and of ‘spaceship earth’ cannot be restricted to environmental issues alone. They apply equally to the shared and inter-linked responsibilities of environmental protection and human development. The Nobel Prize-winning economist Simon Smith Kuznets’ research has established that increases in real gross domestic product are almost always good for the poor. Kuznets’ law states that increases in income inequality that occur in the early stages of industrialization are followed by increases in income equality.
This law effectively explains the benefits of globalization. There will be inequalities, however as world economies approach equilibrium, income disparities will diminish. The globalization of trade and information over the past half century has lifted vast numbers of the world’s people out of extreme poverty. Despite the doom and gloom that we often hear, world economic growth since the Second World War has been at the highest pace ever recorded.
What we are seeing in countries that are export oriented, and thus able to take advantage of the present age of globalization, is a reduction in poverty and a convergence of income per capita toward industrial-country levels. In India and China, for example, globalization in recent years has lifted the incomes of more than 1 billion people above the levels of extreme poverty. Globalization and culture Culture, the soul of people, is territorially conditioned.
Although ‘globalization’ is meant to be culturally neutral, the language and content in gaining access to it is made out to be culturally homogenizing. For some religious activists it represents a civilizational threat. They perceive homogenization of the globe on secular terms as imposition of alien values. Some non-religious activists both ‘right’ and ‘left,’ see it as the hegemonic power of the United States that ‘influences globalization to its own advantage, harming the economic, cultural, and environmental interests of the rest of the world.
A JOKE – ! Globalization ! Question: What is the height of globalization? Answer: Princess Diana’s death. Question: How come? Answer: An English princess with an Egyptian boyfriend crashes in a French tunnel, driving a German car with a Dutch engine, driven by a Belgian who was high on Scottish whiskey, followed closely by Italian Paparazzi, on Japanese motorcycles, treated by an American doctor, using Brazilian medicines! And this is sent to you by an Indian, using Bill Gates’ technology, which he stole from the Japanese.
And you are probably reading this on one of the IBM clones that use Philippine-made chips, and Korean made monitors, assembled by Bangladeshi workers in a Singapore plant, transported by lorries driven by Malaysians, hijacked by Indonesians and finally sold to you by a Chinese! That’s Globalization! (Source:Yahoo. com) To some, ‘globalization’ is seen in concepts such as: Coco-colonization – a market created to promote a consumerist culture. Cultural imperialism- overpowering local traditions; western ideals falsely established as universal.
McDonaldization – a fast food doctored to spread efficient, controllable, and predictable human practices. Americanization – the hegemonic influence of the values and habits of the United States promoted through the news media and popular culture. Whatever may be the good or adverse impact of Globalization on our culture, we have to face it as a changing phenomenon through out the globe and accept its values without forgetting our great heritage, culture and inner spiritual values. Ways and Means to inculcate Ethical Values in Children in the Globalization Era.
Few countries in the world have as ancient and diverse a culture as India’s. The variety of its culture is a special characteristic of India. Its physical, religious and racial variety is as immense as its linguistic diversity. Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of Indian civilization and social structure from the very earliest times until the present day. In the Indian culture, mythology plays an important role in forming the basis of ethical decisions. Heroes of epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are immortalized and are still alive in the day-to-day existence of the common people.
According to the Mahabharat the education and inculcating of ethical values in the child starts from the embryonic stage. We have the examples of Abhimanyu, son of the great warror Arjuna, learning the details of War before birth. Similarly the great saint Sukadeva had learnt the Vedas while he was in his mother’s womb. Once the umbilical cord is cut, the child is physically and psychologically more dependant on parents. The basis of the bond, which forms and strengthens the relationship, is communication. Ethical learning process begins in earnest.
Then follows the acquaintance with and an understanding of what it is to be human through bedtime stories. The contents of stories are means of exploration of the world and ways for a young mind to understand and appreciate its world and all those who share it with him. It is one very important means of making sense of what might appear to be strange and quaint. Initially the older members of the family through stories, help the children learn about their genealogy and religion- a very important aspect of life which determines our actions and destiny by inculcating moral values.
A Hindu child learns about the Rama, Krishna, and Durga, a Christian about Jesus Christ and a Muslim about Prophet Muhammad at his mother’s lap. The child also learns the vastness of the country and culture through numerous festive occasions and celebrations. It’s the basic duty of every responsible parent to not only teach the child about the vastness of India, it’s religious and spiritual wealth but also practice the same in daily life. This is the only way through which we can save our nation from the depleting morals and ethical values under the shade of Globalization.
A child’s mind is like a clean slate with one important difference: whatever is written on the impressionable mind becomes indelible and cannot be easily erased and more often than not lasts life long, as an adult we have not forgotten the stories read at younger age. Ethical stories free our minds from prejudice and dogmatism as they have a distinct action-guiding aspect. They set forth comprehensive systems from which to orient our judgments and carve a moral landscape in which fits the concrete society oriented values.
Just as the wheel was invented to facilitate the transportation of objects with minimum friction, analogously morality was constructed to serve human to survive and prosper. Ancient folktales of India come down to us primarily in two collections of stories, many of which are about animals. These are the Buddhist tales of the former lives of the Buddha known as the Jatakas, the Panchatantra and the Katha Sarit Sagar etc. The Panchantra or other Hindu tales, ingenuously linked stories told by Indian sage to invigorate virtue.
Most of the classic stories exist in realms of fancy because ” those things that are most real in life can best be conveyed through fancy”. The prologue of The Vikram (King) and Betal (Ghost) stories introduces the children to Vikram, as an honest man of faith whose every act was kind, good and just, and suffered but at the end his righteousness paid off. They uphold that an ethical man can live in the face of adversity. We can take the example of Panchatantra and ethical values it spreads since centuries not only in the tender mind of a child but also in adults also.
Panchatantra Panchatantra means “five formulas” and is divided into five sections of stories illustrating them called “Loss of Friends,” “Winning of Friends,” “Crows and Owls,” “Loss of Gains,” and “Ill-considered Action. ” Basically they were animal tales. Since ancient times, animals were the part and parcel of human civilizations. These animals were the actors in these tales. Actually, they were not animals but human beings wearing animal masks and that too quite transparent! All animals exhibited human tendencies and behaviour.
Naturally, people were drawn to the tales; no matter what color, country or race they belonged to! The stories spoke about the ethics of behaviour; very indirectly and subtly but very strongly and influentially affecting a child’s mind! A very interesting story lies behind the origin of Panchatantra which clearly shows the importance of this for children. In the city of Mahilaroupya, in South India ruled a king, called Amarshakti. He was worried about his three ignorant sons. He was desperately searching for a teacher who would make the ignorant sons wise!
After many efforts he came across an eighty year old teacher, named Vishnu Sharma who accepted the challenge to ‘awaken the prince’s intelligence’ in six months time and the tuitions began! Vishnu Sharma, unlike any other teacher, started telling the princes stories. The stories of animals: of lions and jackals, of snakes and pigeons, of oxes and tigers, of elephants and monkeys, and rabbits and even donkeys! The animals dwelling in the tropical jungles of India, and seen around in the then civilized world! Each story tells a new aspect of a human behaviour through them.
Gradually, the princes started internalizing the stories which very subtly and indirectly teaching them right from wrong, proper from improper, just from unjust giving them an insight into the wise conduct. The stories told in five different parts achieved what formal education could not. By the end of the six months the princes emerged to be the most learned, wise individuals, fit to be kings! The beauty of these stories lies in telling valuable morals like “wit is stronger than might” or “Unity is strength” or “Silence is Golden” without being preachy .
In very simple words or dialogues, the animal actors in Panchatantra give us guidelines to a better living.. for example, one Jackal tells the other one, “He who pokes his nose, Where it does not belong; Surely meets his end; For that is what happened to the monkey; Who meddled with the wedge, my friend! ”, and then starts narrating the story of the monkey…. The beautiful blend of moral and ethical values in form of poetry and prose makes Panchatantra, unique in its structure!
Similarly other greats stories like Jataks, Katha Sarit Sagar, Vikram Betal etc. teaches the morals and ethics of India Culture in a very interesting way. Closing Comments: Theories about how children think and learn have been debated upon for centuries but on one point where there is consensus is that a child’s thought process is greatly influenced by books he reads, stories he hears, the environment he lives and from the parents attitude and behivour. In India the Gita teaches us to explore about the real purpose of living, i. . , Swadharma. This is the call of our inner self which we have to follow in each moment. Similarly there is a law of the society and of the age. This can be termed as Yugadharma. Our ancient seers have uttered the great mantra of unity in diversity- Bassudhyeiba Kutumbakam means treating the whole world as a family. This process of globalization, liberalization, revolution in information technology and Internet is the clear steps towards achieving that goal as envisaged by our great seers.
But the western culture poses a threat to our great ancient culture at present. It is admitted by people in all ages through out the globe about the vastness of Indian religion, philosophy, culture and spirituality and its importance towards the progress of mankind. So we have to consciously come out of the present threat to our culture by synthesizing our Swadharma with the Yugadharma. The renaissance n India is possible by becoming flexible and adopting the benefits of the globalization and in the same time following our own culture in a modified way and inculcating these values in our children. The ability to differentiate between black and white and the underlying shades of grey in human life is not genetically ingrained. This fissure between ignorance and awareness has to be bridged properly so that our little Pilgrims Progress towards adulthood does not fall into an abyss and depleting moral values. =o=