In­no­cence lost

The Hitavada - - THE OPINION PAGE - By DR RAMESH IYER

IN­NO­CENCE is the hall­mark of child­hood. It is this sin­gu­lar char­ac­ter­is­tic which sets apart a child from a grown up per­son. The sim­plic­ity, guile­less­ness, truth­ful­ness, trust­ing na­ture, are all qual­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with in­no­cence. While it is the most de­sir­able trait in ev­ery child it also ren­ders chil­dren vul­ner­a­ble to threats from vi­cious and per­verted char­ac­ters in the so­ci­ety. It be­comes es­sen­tial for el­ders to pre­serve and nur­ture in­no­cence in chil­dren at the same time pro­tect them from ex­ploita­tion due to naivety. As chil­dren grow up, they be­come wiser to the ways of the world through be­ing tu­tored by el­ders and peers or ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing by ob­serv­ing and in­fer­ring from events and hap­pen­ings in sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment. How­ever, in con­tem­po­rary times the in­flu­ences around chil­dren are so pow­er­ful that they are los­ing the sheath of in­no­cence very early and in the process ac­quir­ing dan­ger­ously neg­a­tive traits, which ham­per their holis­tic de­vel­op­ment.

Tele­vi­sion and par­tic­u­larly car­toons are one of the strong­est in­flu­ences on im­pres­sion­able minds of chil­dren. Just two decades back chil­dren’s car­toons were very in­nocu­ous and en­ter­tain­ing with harm­less and in­of­fen­sive con­tents and lan­guage. For in­stance the pop­u­lar shows were based on pleas­antly amus­ing char­ac­ters such as Mickey Mouse, Don­ald Duck, Win­nie the Pooh, Yogi bear, Tom & Jerry etc. The car­toons por­trayed an idyl­lic world with gen­tle hu­mour and sub­tle learn­ing in­puts. The un­spoilt, in­no­cent minds of chil­dren were not sub­jected to any neg­a­tive in­flu­ence due to th­ese car­toon shows. How­ever, in re­cent times the car­toons which are be­ing shown on Tele­vi­sion tar­geted for chil­dren are based on themes and char­ac­ters which por­tray un­re­al­is­tic and un­de­sir­able events and sit­u­a­tions caus­ing ad­verse im­pact on ten­der minds. The gen­tle and sen­si­tive char­ac­ters in car­toons of ear­lier years have been re­placed by vi­cious, schem­ing , vi­o­lent and bru­tal char­ac­ters. The story line and themes of such sadis­tic car­toons tend to make chil­dren in­sen­si­tive and ag­gres­sive. Even the games on mo­biles are hav­ing sim­i­lar im­pact on chil­dren. By ex­pos­ing chil­dren to such un­de­sir­able in­flu­ences the loss of in­no­cence gets ac­cel­er­ated and fur­ther leads to their de­vel­op­ing a wrong and patently mis­guided per­cep­tion about the world. This leads to fur­ther dis­as­trous con­se­quences as be­ing ob­served in chil­dren and adults ad­dicted to Poke­mon Go and BlueWhale.

Why chil­dren, even in case of adults there has been a rapid de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of sim­plic­ity and in­no­cence in the very vi­tal as­pect of life that is hu­mour. Laugh­ter is in­deed the best medicine and cure for many phys­i­cal and men­tal ail­ments. But the kind of per­verse hu­mour that is per­vad­ing and per­co­lat­ing in the so­ci­ety nowa­days is caus­ing deep con­cern about degra­da­tion in men­tal and in­tel­lec­tual fac­ul­ties in peo­ple. Once upon a time there used to be TV shows of Char­lie Chap­lin, Lau­rel Hardy, Lucy show, Yes Min­is­ter, Kakkaji Kahin, Nukkad, MrYogi, Wa­gle ki duniya etc. The hu­mour was in­tense at the same time in­no­cent, de­cent, sen­si­ble and palat­able. The en­tire fam­ily could watch the show with­out any trace of em­bar­rass­ment. classic movies such as Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Pa­dosan, Golmaal, An­goor, Khoob­surat, Chupke chupke etc set su­perla­tive stan­dards of com­edy and hu­mour to be en­joyed by all spon­ta­neously.

How­ever, the cur­rent crop of “hu­mourous” movies and com­edy shows on TV are a tor­ture for sen­si­ble and a de­cent so­ci­ety. An im­mensely “pop­u­lar” id­i­otic com­edy show has prom­i­nent pres­ence of a sportsman turned politi­cian who is con­tin­u­ously laugh­ing at inane jokes as if he has con­sumed bhaang or in­haled Ni­trous ox­ide. Crude dou­ble mean­ing di­a­logues, and semi-porno­graphic au­dio vis­ual con­tents abound in Com­edy TV shows and movies which per­haps may have great ap­peal to riff raff and vagabonds. The dras­tic fall in stan­dards is sim­ply ap­palling. John Mil­ton wrote the epic “Par­adise Lost” and now it is time for right think­ing peo­ple to pon­der on “In­no­cence Lost”.

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