All lines of communication are completely blocked, but what old people are doing – condemning the new generation – is wrong. I can see the reason why things have changed. The new generation is not responsible. It is not their crime. It is simply a totally different set of circumstances. And the older generation should show a little more understanding, a little more clarity, a little more readiness to listen to the new generation, because they are the future. In the past, the past used to rule the future. Now things are otherwise: the future is going to rule over everything.
I have been a teacher and I have been attending conferences of professors of the universities. And the whole problem to them was: how to create discipline, how to create respect? The students were getting out of hand, no discipline, no respect. I was the only exception. Finally they started dropping me from their conferences, because I said to them, “The whole responsibility is yours.”
In the past there were children married before they were ten. Sometimes children were even married when they were still in their mother’s womb. Just two friends will decide that, “As our wives are pregnant, if one gives birth to a boy and the other gives birth to a girl, then the marriage is settled, promised.” The question of asking the boy and the girl does not arise at all. They are not even born yet. They are not even certain yet whether both may be girls, both may be boys. But if one is a boy and another is a girl, the marriage is settled.
And people kept their word, their promises. My own mother was married when she was seven years old. And her parents had to tie her to a pillar inside the house when the marriage party was coming and there were many fireworks. And at the reception there was music and dance. And everybody was out of the house, and my mother reminds me still that, “I could not understand why only I was left inside the house and tied! They wouldn’t let me go out.” She had no understanding what marriage was. She wanted to see, like any child, everything beautiful that was happening outside – the whole village had gathered, and she was crying.
My father was not more than ten years old, and he had no understanding of what was happening. I used to ask him, “What was the most significant thing that you enjoyed in your wedding?”
He said, “Riding on the horse.” Naturally, for the first time he was dressed like a king, with a knife hanging by his side, and he was sitting on the horse, and everybody was walking around. He enjoyed it tremendously. That was the most important thing that he enjoyed in his wedding.
A honeymoon was out of the question. Where will you send a ten-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl for a honeymoon? So in India the honeymoon never used to exist, and in the past, nowhere else in the world either.
And when my father was ten years old and my mother was seven years old, my father’s mother died. After the marriage, perhaps one or two years afterwards, the whole responsibility fell on my mother, who was only nine years old. Two small daughters my father’s mother had left, and two small boys. So four children, and the responsibility on a nine-year-old girl and a twelve-year-old son.