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    So Much For “Indian Family Values”, Says a New Survey on Old Age

    Mukund Sharma is deep in a maze of bus trips to this court and that court – fighting a case against his sons. They sued him for property after Sharma gave his widowed daughter-in-law a flat. A conversation with him feels like a cloud of hard-to-follow legalese that he, despite being 81, seems to understand. When the conversation turns to bus routes, it grounds him – he has a multi-stop bus pass. His lifeline.

    Mukund Sharma’s bus pass is his lifeline. It is the only way he can do the various rounds of court visits to fight a case against his children who sued him for property (Photo: The Quint)
    Mukund Sharma’s bus pass is his lifeline. It is the only way he can do the various rounds of court visits to fight a case against his children who sued him for property (Photo: The Quint)
    Court Visits By Bus = 42, and counting...
    Surinder Kaur makes clothes for extra income. She has been doing this for decades   so that she and her husband could send all the children to school. (Photo: The Quint)
    Surinder Kaur makes clothes for extra income. She has been doing this for decades so that she and her husband could send all the children to school. (Photo: The Quint)

    Surinder Kaur is a fighter. She lives alone in a home that her son allegedly tried to claim entirely for himself after the death of his father. Her story points to the intersection of patriarchy, monetary aspirations and family dynamics – where the old, especially women, bear the brunt.

    Help Age India conducted a nationwide survey whose most recent findings hold a mirror to our commonly held belief that we have strong “family” values.

    Ageism is on the rise in a country which prides itself on its Indian culture and values. It is a sad commentary that 53% of the elderly interviewed said that yes, we as a society discriminate. It varies enormously from city to city. In Bangalore, 70% say they actually face abuse. Maybe it is because the city has developed so fast, with IT companies where there is huge performance pressure. Elderly parents coming in from outside are seen as not much more than caretakers of their grandchildren.
    Manjira Khurana, Country Head, Advocacy and Communications, Help Age India
    Percentage of elders who reported abuse in public spaces like the bus, metro, banks, post office, parks and roads: 44%
    Percentage of elders who say people get impatient with their slowness: 52%
    Percentage of elders who say that younger people get priority in a shop over an older person: 54%
    There are many types of abuse that elderly people here are facing – loneliness, neglect by their own families, or the aggressive greed for property whose value has skyrocketed over recent decades. I tell all the members of our community centre not to sign away their property to their children during their lifetime.
    Chairperson, Confederation of Senior Citizens Associations of Delhi

    (This admission season, The Quint got experts from CollegeDekho.com on board to answer all your college-related queries. Send us your questions at eduqueries@thequint.com.)

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