Old People, Are They Really a Burden?

Yesteryear’s actress Geeta Kapoor was allegedly abandoned by her son, Raja at a Mumbai hospital halfway through her treatment. CBFC member Ashoke Pandit and filmmaker Ramesh Taurani have paid the hospital bills of the veteran actor. She has now been shifted to an old age home.

She accused her son of torturing and starving her. “He used to beat me up as I did not approve of his philandering ways. He would give me food once in four days, and sometimes, even lock me up for several days. I was not ready to go to an old-age home, that’s why he planned all this. He deliberately kept me hungry and I fell ill. Then, he got me admitted and fled,” Geeta Kapoor told mid-day.

We often assume that dangers come to us from strangers on dark streets, outside the protected walls of our houses or from violent men who might break into our houses. The sad truth is that the highest perils of brutal and persistent violence lurk within the intimate spaces of our homes, from those to whom we are closest.

This is a really brutal and harsh reality that parents, who are the benefactors of their children are neglected and abused by them at a stage when they need their children the most.

Parents are often neglected and abused within their own family, by their own children. The possible reason for that is, elderly people are not capable enough of contributing towards the economic growth of the family, and as a result, they either face abuse or are forsaken by their own people. They are deprived of food, money and health facilities within their own home.

The abuse elder reports are common across social classes and cities. According to a study by India’s leading age care NGO, HelpAge India, four in 10 old people testify to verbal abuse, three to neglect, and a third to disrespect. One out of five recounts enduring such abuse almost daily, a third around once a week, and a fifth every month. Six in 10 reports the daughter-in-law and an almost equal number the son as the major sources of abuse against them. Just 7% daughters are abusive of their parents, and no grandchildren.

We must protect an old building because it is a symbol of a rich, living history but it is perfectly acceptable to throw out an old relative because he or she has lost any form of material utility. This ideology is being followed by a number of homes in India these days. The savage incident of Geeta Kapoor stands as a testimony to the vicious and dreadful condition of the elderly even inadequate houses. They are considered as objects of burden and considering them as a source of daily disturbance, turning them out of the house is thought to be a better option.

To stop this barbaric practice of abandoning elderly people, there must be awareness among all regarding the “Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007”, a legislation enacted in 2007, initiated by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India., to provide more effective provision for maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens.

It is our moral duty to take care of our parents when they get old. Parents give us life and are our nurturers; hence it becomes our obligation to protect them when they need us.

Pooja Verma

From Himachal Pradesh, Currently a Delhite. Literature student, a Bibliophagist and an Ardent reader. A Philanthropist. Cogent and Sanguine. Also a Fashion enthusiast.

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