If variety is the sauce of life, change is the law of nature. “Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress” (Dickens).
Life, in its multitudinous forms, hues and colours, is there in plenty for a keen observer to explore and discover the ever-changing patterns and perceptions.
Change, we are often told, is the only constant. Every new idea or institution runs its course and every successful product outlives its form. None can deny the fact that “old order changeth yielding place to new”. Even good customs and concepts undergo a slow but steady process of metamorphosis.
East or West, traditional or modern, the process of change and challenge is always at work. For some change brings cheer, whereas for others it may mean moments of chagrin. Both painful and pleasant, a shift from the established order to a new one is inevitable.
The break up of joint family system in India is a case for study and a standing example of change that has overtaken us so fast. The emergence of nuclear family is a telling tribute to the process of change over which we have no control whatsoever. That the Indian society is at the crossroads is not a matter of fiction, but a rigorous reality.
How the social structure is undergoing phenomenal changes in matters of matrimony, body exposure, beauty contests, human relations and the like is something to be experienced in everyday life. Whether the changing order is for the better or for the worse, only time will tell.
The glamour and glitter that we see around is the result of consistent and conscious efforts that have gone into the making of ‘changing patterns of society’ everywhere under the sun.
“Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.” —Richard Hooker. As social beings we get so attuned to old customs and conventions that it takes a lot of persuasion and even pressure to adjust to the new realities that time throws up.
The evil practices of untouchability, child marriage, denial of education to females, etc. were some of the sore points of our social fabric that had to be changed, rather rooted out with legislation. Though healthy in intent and inclination, the change from worse to better does cause inconvenience and irritation to diehards and rigid mindsets.
Sometimes, even a good custom gets so corrupted that it becomes “an albatross around the neck” of one and all. Once upon a time the practice of “dowry” might have been good, but with the passage of time it has acquired diabolical dimensions. Anything that lasts longer than its relevance to the dictates of time and tide needs to be discarded before it assumes the grip of a ruthless foe.
Just as social ethos undergoes periodic changes, so do institutions that human beings create from time to time. If the Secretary General of the UN (Kofi Annan) advocates the need to re-invent the United Nations and its various agencies, he is not off the mark.
Countries like India too support the idea of changing the complexion of the world body, in view of the momentous changes that have taken place on the international horizon, in terms of political, economic and military equations. Under no circumstances can we thwart the momentum of change because every change is the result of introspection and a follow-up of the law of nature. Change may unsettle established ideas and ideologies, but its role in the march of human civilisation and culture is undeniable.