September 13, 2011

Linking to the past is about accepting our essence

Linking to the past gives us balance and a sense of security of knowing where we stand and what psychological resources to tap in our life ahead. So in that sense, this connection with the past is a primeval need of all human beings for growing up in a life of peace and security. Knowing where we come from gives us a sense of comfort and belonging. The whole idea of nationhood and home is related to this. In the case of Maldives, we have grown up with our sense of belonging as from this island or another, or this atoll or another. We always feel a sense of warmth and friendliness when we meet someone from our home island or atoll. This can be translated into how we feel about our family too. Even a distant relative makes us feel a sense of connection even though we may have never even met.

However, in this changing and mobile environement, this loss of contact with the past is becoming more of a reality, and many of us seem destined to live far away from relatives and childhood friends with whom bonds have or needs to be strengthened. In Maldives, the mobility and relocation by many to Male from the islands leave behind such loved ones especially the elderly who remain back in the island devoid of the loving touch their children and grandchildren could offer. For the elderly this can be emotionally devastating, and for the children who grow up without that time with grandparents unknowingly forefiet an evolutionary step of connecting with the past. The deficits of growing up in such emotional deprivation would show up in later life. The lack of appreciation or respect for the elderly, arising perhaps out of this lack of connection with them in the children's formative years is a gap that will be difficult to fill with the conscious mind. It is the subcounsious that nurtures such lasting feelings of love, affection, and respect imbibed during the formative years of childhood and youth -- that parents can encourage. One thing as sure as the sunrise of tomorow is that we will all grow in age and before we know it, we would be at the receiving end of that lack of appreciation that we ourselves were nurtured with as children. The continuum of life is real, tangible and inexorably sustaining; its time will indeed come for all of us. Lets think of appreciating the elderly and not divide ourselves into a dichotomy of youth and the old as two distinct categoriest that will remain that way for ever. Our Holy Quraan reminds us repeatedly to appreciate our parents (the elderly) and care for them with compassion, for they looked after us when we were young and helpless. Building a more compassionate Maldives begins with appreciating the past, and those who populated our lives in those times.


Nishaan A. Sattar said...

What a conundrum. As a parent you want to provide your children with the best opportunities possible and unfortunately those opportunties are not always close to home. By letting your children fly off to pursue bigger and better, a huge peice of our selves is lost by missing out on the connnections between close family; the wisdom that can be passed from a grandparent to a grandchild. Is it worth it? What is the solution? Technology has been making leaps and bounds to create a global community but seeing a face on a screen can never substitute the warmth of human touch.

Abdul Sattar Yoosuf said...

Not easy in this age of globalization and high social mobility. But being aware of this dynamic and the social consequences of development will help craft new ways to keep up this contact.