Sunday, August 07, 2011

On Friendship Day

On Friendship Day


07 August, 2011

Pictures & Videos: Amar Singh Jyani, GS Mann.

Friendship – where is it?

An article worth reading contributed by Colonel R D Singh from Amabla who originally belongs to Pili Mandori, he recalls his childhood days, the value system and the bond that existed in those days.

30 July was the World Friendship Day. While in India it is on 7th August. But where are the friends? Suddenly they seem to have disappeared, giving way to cheats and frauds. You do not know whom to believe and whom not to. I badly miss my village days when we did not lock our house, did not have to worry even if 20 guests arrived all of a sudden, and never thought that our sisters were unsafe outside. Let me give you a glimpse of the days when we grew in the midst of friends and well wishers.

It was a small village (Pilimandori) in Hissar district in 1960s, with no electricity or water supply. But life was still very happy and healthy. There was so much of inter personal relationship, full of warmth, and selflessness. If there was no milk at home, we would just go across to our neighbour with a pot and get milk. It was always give and take. There was no question of any payment. If my mother fell sick while father was away from home, the neighbours will take her to the hospital. And if our guests arrived when none of us was at home, then the entire neighbourhood will come and sit with them to give company. They would feed the guests, give them a ‘hookah’ to smoke, and make them feel wanted.

It was a community living, a life of sharing and caring. A marriage in the village, was an occasion for everyone to celebrate, and chip in to help the girl’s family. The village will never allow the bride’s father to feel the burden alone. Each house would offer a ‘charpoy’ and bedding for the ‘Baratis’ (marriage party). The ladies would go to the wedding house and sing marriage songs. These were so melodious and festive. The marriage would last for three to four days, and the whole village would unite to make it a success. During this period, there would be camel races, wrestling bouts, and even kabaddi matches to entertain the guests. We, the young children, would surround the groom, and be at his beck and call. After all, every girl in the village was our sister, irrespective of which family she belonged to. There was no hooliganism or misbehaviour. Our tradition of ‘Athiti Devo Bhavah’ (the guest is God) was at its best. And we took pride in it.

Once, I remember, a locust had entered our village fields. Unless checked, it would eat away our crops. So, the entire village youth got together with the digging tools. They dug up a deep long drain in which the advancing waves of the locust kept falling, and were then buried. Such collective efforts to meet emergencies in the village were a common code of conduct rather than an exception. Helping others came naturally.

Yes, times have since changed. Modernisation has taken place. People have become rich with lots of material wealth. But why have we become so poor in human relations? Why have we become so self centered and greedy?

Urbanisation and modernisation does not mean we become like mechanical robots . No amount of wealth can give us happiness that another human being can give by way of love and gratitude. We may be staying in a mansion, but life will be very dry and lonely without good friends and neighbours, without moral values. Even the media baron Rupert Murdoch, who had the feet of clay, is an unhappy man today. So, can we please take a minute off from our rat race for money and power. Can we just think where we are heading, and for what. Let’s lead a simple and healthy life. Let us be a friend to someone, a nice and kind person. That will not reduce our earnest income. But definitely make our life more happy, and worth living.

Incidentally well known classical singer "' Pandit. Jasraj and Actress and Singer sisters, Sulakshna Pandit and Vijayeta Pandit also belongs to his village.

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