After Retirement

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The great dramatist Shakespare has written in his play ‘As you like it’ – in the forest of Arden the duke was whiling away his time as in golden times. Here, what is the meaning of the word ‘golden time’? Golden time means there was a time when men had not to work for his livelihood. From the nature freely he was getting food. So, there was no necessity for doing any work for his living. But today’s scenario is different – now people have to work from morn to dusk to make a living and maintain his family. So, people have different professions like agriculture, business, doctor, engineer, govt. service, private service etc. In the govt. services men is allowed to do his work to a certain age limit.

At present this age limit is sixty years. After sixty years, one has to retire from govt. service. Thereafter, he has to live a different life with a lower income i.e. pension and his new business and profession, if any. But retirement is a transition phase in his/her life with much emotional impact. Also, socially and economically he will be at a disadvantage because his social prestige might have gone down due to his retirement from service. But superannuation is inevitable. One has to live with it.

                   In this context I remember Charles Lamb – the famous English essayist of nineteenth century England. He was a clerk in the office of the India house of London. But he was a famous writer for his personal essays. His essay collection was called essays of Elia. One of the essays in this book is – The Superannuated Man. In this essay he has narrated his own retired life. He served in the India house for thirty-three years and then retired. But even after retirement sometimes he was visiting his old office and meeting his old colleagues and he had an emotional relation with the tables and chairs on his he was working.

He has said in this essay that retirement is a transition phase of life from the kingdom of time to a kingdom of eternity. That means while in service one is time-bound. But after retirement, he has enough time in his hand. So, it becomes difficult for anyone to do with this enough time. In this context, another English writer Mathew Arnold, the poet, and critic come to mind. He said culture is very much essential for a good personal life. He said – culture is sweetness and light which enhances the quality of life for an individual. So, after retirement, one should pursue the culture. Culture is what makes a man.

                   So, in order to get out of the depression of mind, one should read and write. That will keep the person in good stead. Man is after all an emotional being. If one is psychologically perfect and balanced then he will not think of the negative side of the mind. This state of mind has been expressed in the Bhagavad Gita and that is called ‘Sthita Prajna’ – the balanced mind in both pain and pleasure of life. There are many ups and downs in life. Life is a chequered history. So, we have to maintain the balance of mind in both mirth and mire. Then only we can face the hard realities of life.

                   Now a days what is seen that many govt. servants after retirement, are going to oblivion. This indicates the lack of culture in the common mass. Also, this has deteriorating effect on the longevity of life. This has become a major psychological problem for the society.We should learn that we have to accept life as it comes to us. We should not grumble and should not be displeased at any cost.

                   Human life is a unique life. it is an imperfect world. Nobody is infallible. Everybody is fallible. Everybody has got limitations. In spite of that we have to take a going concern. The show must go on. So, we should develop extracurricular activities alongside our service life. in British times, some civil servants were research minded. Side by side with their service life, they were pursuing their research. James Princep, who deciphered the Ashokan inscriptions, was a civil servant. J. D. Beglar, an archaeologist who did research of Samaleswari temple in Sambalpur and Nrusinghnath temple in Paikmal, in the district of Sambalpur, was also a civil servant. Charles Wilkins, who translated Bhagabad Gita, was also a civil servant. Some civil servants were anthropologists and ornithologists. They were known as Scholar – Administrators. They were men of wide learning, outstanding personality and obvious integrity.

                   We need to imitate them for their balance of mind. Then only retirement will not make any difference. Life will go on. The moral standard will also go on. The superannuated man will lead a happy life. and we get a happy society as well.

                   So, let us hope and do accordingly without getting depression. Rightly it is said—

          “Happiness

                    is the substance of things hoped for;

          And evidence of   

                   things not seen.”

(The views expressed are the writer’s own.)

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Radhakanta Seth is an Income tax officer in Sambalpur.  He is a freelance writer and his articles have been published in some Oriya dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Dharitri, and English dailies like The Telegraph and in a sociological journal ‘Folklore’ published from Kolkata.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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