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Modern does NOT mean correct!

Modern does not mean correct


Talk about gay rights in India, talk about women's revealing dresses, talk about obscenity in bollywood movies – there’s a class of people who start shouting – Backward, Medieval times, conservative. These so called modern thinkers, who are basically western stooges, get their words out in the media because of prevailing conditions in the world - western thoughts dominate the world, western means modern. But at any time in history, aren't contemporary thoughts modern thoughts, anything happening in present days is modern. As per dictionary, modern means 'of or relating to the present time or the recent past'. It’s an entirely different topic whether its logically correct, is it scientifically correct, is it rational, is it right in the long run, do we want this trend to continue and are happy to give the results to our children and most importantly, do we have the knowledge to understand the implications of current or modern trends?

At any point of time, a person or a group of people do the best they can in the given circumstances. Based on their capabilities, constraints, what they do may not turn out to be correct, but because 'they' do it, they may think it’s correct. At any time, people also think they are the most modern and advanced compared to their previous generations. But modern does not mean right by default.

We can find numerous examples to show that our ancestors, at least in India, were more advanced and developed than present day humans in many ways:

Consumerism: A successful person in today's world is the one who consumes more - latest gadgets, latest cars, latest brand of clothes. If your phone is three years old, you are a grandpa mentality who has no interest in life. Does this culture not promote individualism, does it not promote growth at the cost of environment? Can the earth's natural resources sustain such growth? If every man on earth consumes like 'modern' americans do, will the earth be a better place to live? What kind of physical and cultural environment we will leave for our kids if everyone becomes modern?

Healthcare: No doubt advances in today's medical science have been saving lives, average life expectancy has increased drastically (compared to average life span in the west 200 years back). But do we have a holistic approach to health care? We have a specialist doctor for right hand, another specialist of left hand, none of whom cares that its the same human being eventually. Even if one is destined to suffer from a disease (high risk profile), there is hardly a preventive mechanism prescribed by medical science. 'Come to me when you have the disease, I will give you one chemical to fix the problem, another chemical to avoid the side effects of first chemical.' Recently, a study by chinese scientists found that regular use of cow milk can prevent stomach cancer. And we know cow milk is important part of ayurvedic system of medicine. Another study in US found that Trifala is an excellent anti-oxidant and can prevent diseases of several vital organs of human body.

Water: With rising population, the first thing that gets affected is load on water reservoirs. Should we not be much more meticulous in managing our water resources with rising population? With all the modern technology and science, we should be in a position to feel good about the state of this basic necessity of life. On the contrary, water table is going down, rivers are polluted and shrinking, seas are becoming ecologically unbalanced. with multiple ponds in every village, revered rivers and wells, our ancestors were much more advanced in handling water and maintaining good level of ground water than we are. Should we call ourselves modern? Well, we can because we live in present time, our ancestors lived in past (their present), but we surely are not more 'advanced' or 'developed' than them in terms of water management at least.

All this doesn't mean we quit all of today's scientific advancements and start living like people used to live a thousand years back. That may not be the choice in current scenario, but there are certainly things we can learn from our ancestors. Their style of living surely deserves some exploration, some discussion, some research and taking some good things from them will only do good for us. And yes, Modern does not mean correct!

Author: Arun Kumar 

Published: February 1, 2014

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