Visit your parents, or…face legal action! Sounds good? I’m sure most elderly who watch Indian television soaps and and old Hindi movies that are shown on cable television, where the younger lot (or someone in the family) will torture and make the life hell for the elders, would want such a law.
And such a law indeed exists, but unfortunately its not in India, that’s a new law in China. It compels children to meet their parents frequently.
And though its not a law in India yet, the fact is that the joint family culture in India is dissolving and many parents are living separately from their families, and a similar law could be beneficial to many in India as well.
A recent survey conducted reveals that that almost 40 percent of elderly people were living and dying alone in their homes.
So is there no law in India of a similar kind?
Under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, our law states that children, whether stepchildren, adopted or married daughters, have to look after their parents financially, providing them with Rs 5,000 per month. But unfortunately, it has only been implemented in some of the Indian states.
There are many who feel that anything that is forced is going to be resented. A better approach is to inculcate such values over a period of time. It also may not work for every family because different families have different dynamics.
What do the celebrities have to say about the issue?
I’m sure such a law must have been enforced after seeing shocking and disturbing statistics. Having said that, however, people can’t be bound by a law, where the problem is because of lack of morals. We are living in times, where everything else has taken precedence over family life and caring for older parents, especially, has taken a backseat. Instead of laws, small steps must be taken to ensure that the elderly aren’t ignored. Popular celebrities must take it upon themselves to promote campaigns — through films, media etc. — which talk about the importance of family life. The law should come into place only if a crime is committed against the parents and when there is a need to penalise criminals. How can you force people for an issue, where emotions are all that matter?
— Yami Gautam, actress