P.P.E. – Pandemic, Parents, and Emotions


by Shoeb Ahmed Siddiqui

If their sacrifices result in abandoning them, then that would be more than death for them.

Parents are the original P.P.E for their children, they are our “Personal Protective Equipment” in our childhood against all odds, and elderly parents are an obligation on children, especially in Indian culture, care for elderly parents is perceived as a filial obligation. If not, it is the moral responsibility of the children to take care of their aging parents. Any child would go beyond his/her capacity to take care of the parents to ensure they survive this pandemic or at least live their lives with dignity.

While dealing with aging parents it is certainly stressful to control emotions as caretakers, helping them, smiling at them, talking to them, not letting them feel alone or left out. The very people whom you were dependent on in past, now they need your assistance possibly professional help.

More often children are considered as assets for supporting parents in their old age, however, it is devastating to read the incidents of children abandoning their parents at a time when the pandemic is gripping all over the world, while mostly the elderly ones being vulnerable to it, or the ones with comorbidities need to be taken care.

  • In a report 70-year-old paralyzed mother was abandoned on road by her three sons, who later took her after police counseled them.
  • In a shocking incident in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district, a man abandoned his 80-year-old ailing mother at a bus station and fled after she was tested positive for COVID-19.
  • A daughter denied performing the funeral last rites of her father in Telangana’s Suryapet. She drew his savings of Rs 4,00,000 and did not help him getting treated.
  • An 80-year-old father who worked for his entire life and shared his savings of Rs 8 Crore, went homeless later due to his sons.
  • In Medchal, a 77-year-old mother, who was unwell for quite some time, was left abandoned at a bus stop after his son snatched away Rs 40,000 from her.
  • A similar incident was reported in Hyderabad, an elderly woman was left, but later one of his grandsons took her back.

It is unfortunate to see such incidents occurring at the peak of this pandemic. Parents suffer and provide luxuries to their children even if they are unable to meet their own necessities. If their sacrifices result in abandoning them, then that would be more than death for them.

  • Akin to this, a 50-year-old single mother traveled 1,400 km in lockdown to bring back his stranded son on a moped, even the youngsters making road trips on their cruise bikes wouldn’t be able to take up such missions, but it is the love and determination that enabled her to undertake this extraordinary journey.
  • Migrant labor from on a 1,300 km walk from Andhra Pradesh to Chhattisgarh was spotted carrying his two children on a milkmaid’s yoke, this reminded many Indians the story of Shravan Kumar carrying his old blind parents on two baskets.
  • A woman laborer was found dragging her five-year-old son on a suitcase, setting on her journey of 800 kms. The incident wrenched the hearts of many during the lockdown.
  • In a similar experience, one of my close friends, traveled to look after his ill-father, it took him 28 hours of long drive that was 1,500 km road trip. With the fear that he would be dissuaded by the state police, he sought permits from about three to four states, and he spent most of his saving in treating his father.

Religion of Islam has ordained the children to honor and respect their parents and look after them while they are aging.

God instructs in the Quran to treat parents with great consideration and if either of them reaches their old age, do not even use expressions of frustrations.

“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], ‘uff’, and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” [Quran 17:22-23]

“And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.” [Quran 31:14]

Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said: “God has forbidden to be undutiful to mothers”.

Living parents are more important to be looked after than the holiness of Jihad, as narrated by Abdullah Ibn Amr, that a man asked Prophet (peace be upon him) regarding his participation in Jihad. Prophet asked him to look after his parents if they are alive, and said “Do Jihad for their benefit”.

It’s seriously disheartening to see people mistreating and abandoning their parents, while it’s incumbent upon them to understand that PPE stands for Pandemic Parents and Emotions.

Shoeb Ahmed is a contributor at The Milli Chronicle and hold Masters in Construction Technology.

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