Making simple decisions like what to wear to work, what to prepare for dinner or which movie to relax with over the weekend, repeatedly, can be exhausting and dizzying, can’t it? Wouldn’t life be much easier if all this was done magically and everyone was happy in the end?
Sigh! Life is a little more complicated than this. More so, if you are the mother of a curious 9 year old who is receptive, observant, hungry for knowledge and most of all, wants to be treated like a ‘big boy’ and be told the truth. Personally, this has been one of the harder parenting challenges I have come across.
While our children’s history books are all set to dilute the Mughal influence in the politics of our country and our lives in general, I cannot help reflecting on the time when save a couple of chapters where our entire civilization history was covered, our history books spoke extensively only about our freedom struggle.
Being a citizen of a free and democratic country is indeed a privilege handed out to me on a platter but what I wonder is whether controlling the historical content that our kids are exposed to everyday and considering the limited reading on a vast range of important topics amongst kids nowadays, sets us apart from the damaging stuff we know our neighbouring country feeds to their youngsters with a misleading intent?
The influence of dynasty politics in our country might be fading out in recent times but the colourful and checkered past of the one entitled political family is hardly a matter of surprise. Many skeletons have been out of their closet, while many possibly still remain. There is tons of literature available, yet how many of us take the time out to go through it?
Thank you for bearing with me with this long and deliberate digression as it was important to put forth the point I was trying to make. Recently, when the movie Indu Sarkar got embroiled in a controversy for trying to portray the facts about The Emergency, A and I had many discussions about the atrocities committed during that time and how we never learnt about it from anywhere as kids.
A Jr’s books sing accolades about how great our leaders were, while we know all too well how tainted the personalities of many of them were in reality. He is quite excited about an essay writing competition for Independence Day in his school today and in his practice essay is parroting the same thing his books taught him, that our freedom struggle was spearheaded by a precious few. I might just suggest a few changes there.
It is crucial to not bombard him with information his young mind isn’t prepared to process right now and that makes me keep a guarded silence. Sometimes I get angry and sometimes feel helpless though to see him struggling to make sense between what he reads in his books and the newspapers. I choose to answer his questions honestly and let him decide on his own. This is a part of personality development, yes?
I have tried to get through the basics of politics with him using examples like the feuding brothers in Bahubali, the vicious son in Gladiator and chosen excerpts from our very own Mahabharata. What troubles me is that will the shift from fiction to non-fiction be palatable for him? Doesn’t gore get gorier when it happens for real?