Bhagyam was busy with the festivals that would normally be celebrated during the month of Adi (Tamil month). Her niece Aditi was staying with her. Aditi was an engineer and was about to join a big company in Pune. She had wanted to spend some time with her aunt prior to taking up her job. Aditi was reading out aloud from the newspaper and Bhagyam was meanwhile preparing for the Garuda Panchami Pooja. This was done in order to seek the well being of the brothers. A gift would be placed in front of the deity and made over to the brothers. Pathi Vittala Bai of Bengaluru was known to do this year on year.
"Athai (aunty), the former Reserve Bank Governor has stated that less than five crore Indians pay Income Tax and this needs to be corrected. I will start earning and will pay tax. Most of the citizens are not paying and are burdening the salaried class", stated Aditi while reading out from the newspaper.
Bhagyam responded by stating thus, " Dear Aditi. India is made up of families and not individuals. We have imported the concept called 'I , me and myself' from the western world. Our country may have 140 crore people but they are part of about 30 crore families. Therefore 5 crore families are paying Income Tax. You must also remember that the rest pay the indirect tax called GST. Therefore every single citizen and family contributes towards our tax collection. The average Indian family consists of about 5 people and the average American family consists of just a little over 2. The smaller family size made them buy more cars, houses, computers and appliances but we do not need them in those numbers. The socialists, communists and capitalists are on the same page but with different reasons. The capitalist wants to sell more and make money while the socialists and communists want to destroy the family set up in order to promote their ideas. However, the Indian is made differently and hence the problem. "
"But you see Athai, the companies have to make money and pay dividends and bonuses. This helps in fetching good returns in the stock market and how will this happen. Do we not need all this ? You cannot stop growth and should not Athai. How will we grow?" queried Aditi.
"You see Aditi, none of us are against growth. We want a stable economy and it should not suffer from booms and busts. Our economy is based on our family values, culture and a content lifestyle. Indulging with awareness has been the key. That is why we use expensive things during festivals , public celebrations etc., The idea is to live happily ever after. Our family system offers quite a bit of social security. Some one looks after and one need not worry about problems that arise when they get old. There is moral and physical support. The value of this cannot be fixed by any market. Are we not paying huge sums at the Michelin star rated restaurants? Similarly the service offered by our family members is worth a fortune. You cannot rate them for it is first the heart, " smiled Bhagyam while placing the flowers on the Pooja platform.
"Yeah Athai, I did not think of things in the manner that you have thought of. Well, what to do Athai, it is not that youngsters do not want to be with their elders. Work snatches them away. Should they not have job security and financial freedom? Is not wrong to come in the way of their empowerment. Don't you think that they should gain the exposure?' stated Aditi while flipping the pages of the anti Indian newspaper.
"Well well Aditi, you have not got it fully as yet. Experience is more important than exposure. A fleeting view is not enough and it may distort the thought process. Exposure is like being clever but experience begets wisdom. I would want you to be wise. The Corporates of today are big enough to think properly. Can't they fix this. Look at this gentleman Sridhar Vembu of Zoho Corporation. He has fixed this issue. Jobs provided by his company ensure that the kids stay in their native places. This has helped society in many ways. The elders are safe while the youngsters gain a lot by spending quality time with them. If technology is used properly, a lot of things are possible. Why only youngsters, everyone should be financially literate and that will make them enjoy financial freedom. Freedom is meant to be enjoyed in the company of our friends and family," smiled Bhagyam while placing the Gold Gowri on the Pooja pedestal.
"Did not think of all this Athai. You seem to have a point. But you see the orthodoxy, rituals and caste system are coming in the way of good friendship and fellowship. Also, we end up losing our privacy. No one has answers for all this Athai," grinned Aditi.
"I am coming to that now. Everyday, we are putting our 'status' on our smartphone. Are we not making things public and everyone watches this and responds. Well is it not peeping into the affairs of others? Instagram, twitter, whatsapp and facebook have destroyed our private spaces. Have they not ? Aditi ours is an inclusive society. We are very flexible and no one is forced to visit a temple or fast or do a Pooja. It is by choice. We have 33 crore Gods and have no issues in adding many more. The problem is because the others are not interested in including our faith. Rituals can be tweaked and no one is forced to perform them. Please do not mix up the ones who are studying philosophy with all this. These guys are doing it on their bidding. They are never forced. Now, coming to the caste system. We just had four classifications and now there are many. Language was not meant to be a barrier but today linguistic fundamentalism is separating our people. The situations those days created some systems. We can revisit them and get them modified to suit our requirements. No one is stopping us. Each one is welcome to create their own system and such people are never called apostates. So many Gurus and mentors have come up with their own studies. They have identified systems and are not people taking it up. The other Hindus do not oppose them. I remember the work of Narayana Guru, Karunakara Guru (1927 - 1999 ) among many others. Their sects are doing well and have in fact grown in recent future. In fact his ashram is very popular and his ashram is recognized as a Social and Scientific Research Organization by the Government of India. The other Hindus have accepted many of these cults and sects with open arms," added Bhagyam while getting ready for the Pooja.
"Yes Athai, now I am able to understand better. Good that I came here before beginning my career. My work will become even more fruitful. I am really happy and will spend more time with all of you. Our culture is a solid bedrock and the family system has created a very strong economic foundation. No wonder we withstood the tests of time, " added Aditi while trying to help her aunt.
Meanwhile Damu who had just been a mute witness to the conversation opened up, "Very good Aditi. I am glad you had this chat with your aunt today. I am really impressed with the two of you. She is mature and you are ready to assimilate. We , I wish to add a few points here. About 80 % of the Indians live in their own homes but only 66 % of the Americans have been owning homes. Indians have their own wealth and also shared wealth. Wealth of individuals is never disturbed unless there is a crisis. Similarly there are common assets like the home and business. The home is owned by the family but the business by its stakeholders. Familinomics has been our mainstay. Our financial well being was based on that of the family. We are free but interdependent. This is often misinterpreted by the western and communist thinkers. They simply want to disrupt without any rhyme or reason. A lot of intellectual genocide has given birth to cultural genocide. This has happened over the past 100 plus years. Lots of good things have been destroyed under the garb of social justice. Our families had their own economic systems and these were fine tuned to suit the members of the family. They understood that one size does not fit all. In fact nowadays we are forced to standardize. If you look at standardization deeply, it is actually creating an orthodox set up of a new kind. The families were very flexible and their economic plans were reliable. FAMILINOMICS should be rediscovered in the interest of our collective well being. Aditi, I think you should begin your journey with this quest and remember to create a team for this purpose. "
Aditi was very happy and she agreed to take up the study of FAMILINOMICs as suggested by Damu and Bhagyam. The couple were happy to see their niece connecting herself with the good practices of the past in order to have a secure and successful future.
Mr. Rajesh Govindarajulu is one of the founding members of The Verandah Club Pvt. Ltd. He is a leading columnist, historian, jeweler, entrepreneur, and a heritage enthusiast who is earnestly working to revive the past in the light of the present. Experiential learning about the history of Coimbatore is his main course of interest and he is also a panel member of many colleges in the city.
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