Sunday, December 27, 2009

Role of a Citizen

Role of Citizen towards the Nation
Dr Sivananda Murty

A citizen in a country is a member of his family as well as a member of the society. In the former capacity he plays the role of the son of his father and later in life the role of father of his sons. What he inherits as property from his father he may bequeath to his son. This varies in degrees increasing or decreasing. Other than this material transfer he has a cultural heritage including his religion, language, beliefs and customs to be transmitted to his progeny. He plays the role of a link in a long chain, but in this case this chain is a mere small family. A home is a unit of the nation and a family is a unit of the society. Thus, he is a link in the long chain of a perpetual society. Now a society can undergo changes as a nation in its religion through reforms or by foreign invasions. In all these matters citizen should realize that his lifetime is not a short time phenomenon or a matter of no consequence like the flow of current in a wire. A cut in it stops the transmission, similarly a citizen who did not realize his existence as a transmitting link in the long chain of a tradition or culture would commit the unpardonable mistake of breaking up of an age old valuable message of the past on to the next generation. A citizen has therefore a serious responsibility which should not be evaded in favour of a materialistic stupid existence which is of no consequence at all.

Coming to Hinduism, with its most valuable human values, social culture, spiritual beliefs and religious observances is too precious to be ignored. A Hindu citizen without adequate understanding and wisdom may commit the mistake of mistaking it and commit the sin of eschewing and discontinuing it much to the loss of his own progeny. Hinduism has a valid reply to any criticism and answer to any doubt about it. Today’s Hindu society has forgotten the value of tradition under the influence of half-baked criticism or under the influence of mushrooming new schools of thought many of which are not quite sound in their understanding of ancient religion. But it may be a different thing with the much needed reforms brought about by great men of wisdom who have not attempted to replace the same rather than cleansing it or updating it to suit the changing times. That it has been a golden rule in the Hindu India that one should not discontinue the tradition under any influence, but approach the wise and the learned in case of doubt.
What applies to religious traditions equally applies to the way of life, the culture, the language, the food, the dress etc., all of which belonging to the Hindu India have survived over many millennia. By the lack of understanding of these values a citizen loses his own identity both national and religious if he breaks the tradition and drifts into a different culture with no understanding about it. Keeping of traditions makes one a patriot faithful to his country. Patriotism is the highest value in human life. A Nation’s loss of a citizen may be small, but a citizen’s loss of a nationality is a loss of everything and is irretrievable.