“Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die,” said Lord Tennyson about the noble tradition of discipline in the patriotic fighting forces across the world.
The word tradition, however means, unwritten beliefs and customs handed down from generation to generation, which we all knowingly or unknowingly adhere to in our daily lives.
It is the emotional fabric, which binds us to our forefathers and makes us distinct from one another. In fact some of the finest moments in our lives are, when we uphold the traditions of our family, clan or country. Men have laid down their lives for upholding noble traditions and have become immortal and great.
Such is the noble role and significance of tradition in our lives, that it can never become an obstacle in progress. It lays down guidelines for simple and even complex decision-making and leaves us free to utilize our time more effectively.
Take for example the complex decision of marriage. If there is a tradition of marriage within the same or related clan, then the decision is far easier and easily acceptable. Its advantages are well seen in the Indian society, where there is a tradition of arranged marriages.
This has proved to be more successful than love marriages in the west, with fewer cases of divorces and broken homes. It also has a lot of emotional and ornamental value, which is practised very proudly by our armed forces. Some of these traditions have been passed down from the British Army, take for example the pulling of jeep by fellow officers on the retirement of a senior officer, or the ceremonial parade, flag hoisting etc. These are all fine traditions that should be maintained at all cost.
Tradition in fact is a stimulant to progress. We do not have to worry about how to do mundane or even very important things, as there is a set custom or procedure to do it.
In fact it is a scientific approach to life, where the final outcome is assured, without having to experiment. We are emotionally and physiologically at peace, which enables us to focus our complete energy for advancement and progress of self as well as the society at large.
The tradition of holding the flag high in the face of adversary has made many small men immortal and great. These men did not think twice, before laying down their lives upholding this tradition. Their act of bravery has at times changed the course of battle and even History.
Not all traditions are good. There is need for rethinking and weeding out some traditions like untouchability, child marriages and dowry etc., which have no place in the modern society. We are today more educated and enlightened to differentiate between good and bad. It should be our endeavour to promote good and weed out the bad tradition, in keeping with the times.
Following tradition, therefore, guides our lives and saves us from the many pitfalls and dangers. It is a virtue, which helps us lead a happy and progressive life.