Guwahati,

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The Age of Confusion

 For those born in the 21st century we are well on our way to crossing what was once happily known as the teen years. But such have been the information farragosweeping through the educational-cultural-social milieu from the very moment one is born that the lines that were once psychologically distinct between children reaching out to their teens on the one hand and thereafter to adolescence, on the other,have now become blurred. Gorging upon what is now thought to be a sure-success way through one-upmanship via various modes of relentless information little is left to a balanced development whereby a child is ensured a childhood bereft of confusion.   

Although much has already been written on this yet we can still consider whether confusion creeps into an adolescent's thinking process simply because as a child he has been glutted so very much by superimposed information, misinformation and contrary information from sources over which he himself has absolutely no control thatat some point of time his perceptions begin to get dulled, stunting his mental, and, more importantly, his moral growth. In the confusion born of such a predicament that stalks our every step in the 21st century, both individual and social hypocrisy have assumed generic dimensions.
 
But confusion is not merely about overlapping collective or individual activities. It is much more than that. It is something as vital as knowing one's bearings while sailing in a stormy sea. One instance of this confusion is over whether to believe the numerous assorted god-men, as distinct fromtime-honoured spiritual saints, who drum information into a seeker that what the former has relayed is the truth but nothing but the truth, so help me God. It is as if the new-age guru (irrespective of which religious he belongs to)has completely and surely done away with the wisdom gathered by the great religious progenitors of yesteryears.
Another telling instance relates to the numerous medicinal mantras prescribed by slick sellers, quick-fix apparently infallible measures based on either traditional practices wrapped in modern-day branded packaging or through multi-national, multi-million-dollar research-induced medicines that cure everything, from the common cold to cancer.With so much of across- the- counter prescriptions, it is as if God took up a job as a pharmacist without a consulting doctor as a stand-in.
There was a time when justice was arrived at either through the barrels of a shot-gun or a mob-induced guillotine. As civilization progressed, this most precious of human rationale came through theaugust portals of a courthouse. It was not just mere law. It was the collective wisdom of the centuries born of trial and error and abundantly supplemented by the erudition of man-made laws. To eclectic, reflective men and women were given the roles to interpret these laws, to dole out punishment, or, relief and exoneration, whichever and whenever applicable. "The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over," says the Katha Upanishads."Thus the wise say the path to enlightenment is hard." And so it is also to arrive at a judgement.
However, such has been the onslaught of Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and the ubiquitous know-all news portals,that more often than not, apparently final verdicts have already been arrived at instantaneously and declared in electronic screensand foot-in-the-mouth newspapers (remember how the American channels had craftily justified the war on Iraq, or, for that matter, what we know as post-truth nowadays was accepted as the truth itself simply through continuous repetitions) irrespective of the actual truth being at a later date unveiled in its justified entirety in the rightful forum. Then, again such have been the ideas on personal independence based on spurious information-diktat (Blue-Whale Syndrome?) that even suicides have become almost tantamount to a passing fancy, as if life and death are issues as casual as whether to take a daily bath or not.  
In the realm of academic education, too, buying a degreefrom crassly commercialized institutions isglibly encouraged(through systematic and ruthless advertisements) as being more valuable than the assessment and inculcation of age-old values, thereby leading to short-cuts to so-called success. Inevitably, among other consequences,this also leads to tragic corrupt practices while securing what were once fairly contested jobs. Tragic, because merit, on which mankind has always staked so much, is mercilessly reduced to a farce.
"The unexamined life is not worth living," said Socrates while on trial. Yet, spurred on by self-centric motives encapsulated within one's own professionalor living space we barely tend to examine the other side. We shout for equality, for oneness in humanity, for world peace yet everywhere one looks there is not only disparity but every attempt to foster this disparity. We are all equal, but my religion is better than your religion. We are all equal but my caste is better than yours. We are all equal but my racial roots are better than yours. We are all equal but women are lesser mortals than men. We are all equal but you can run over a dog in the street and worry more instead about the blood stains on your vehicle. We are all equal but turn a blind eye when we encroachinto forests demarcated for animals and birds and reptiles, creatures who cannot manufacture arms and ammunition the way homo-sapiens can. We talk of work culture yet frown upon our own children taking up labour-oriented jobs. 
We live in a world where the surreal is more real than reality itself. What was construed as a truth yesterday is conveniently turned to falsity the next day. The numbing ruthlessness with which reckless information has been bludgeoned into the human psyche allows the teenaged mind to succumb to any belief, however contradictory. And, thereby leading to more confusion. More often than not, we do not see the woods for the trees.Who is to blame for all this? How did this unholy delusion take place? When was its genesis? How far is the spread of unregulated nano-technology contributable to a general confusion, to an overall socially dangerous formulation in as much as the space-time required between information available and its actual time-tested absorption being now reduced to instant thoughtless gluttony that vomits so-called 'modernity' at the expense of balanced chronological and psychological digestion provided divinely by Nature.
What have all these to do with our beautiful Northeast, our own resplendent Assam? Nothing much, except to hold that our youth need not tamely and senselessly cave in as a collective unit to the mindless, often ruthless and confusing information that sometimes ravage our very own timeless beauty, whether in language, dress, food, herbal medicine, literature, dances, songs, and in our worship of Nature. How many regions in the world can perhaps boast of as many languages, as many religions, as many cultures living cheek-by-jowl in a climate as varied and rich as our region? And very few in our country can perhaps vie with our region's distinctive, egalitarian, smart, well-mannered, hospitable and highly literate youth. As we step into a new calendar year let happy things happen, let there be cheer among the youth and the elderly, let trees and rivers smile, let animals and birds move with the freedom that they were born for. Let us not shirk our duties simply by resignedly sighing, "It's a Utopian dream". And let not invidious information stunt our natural growth, moral and mental.