THE ADULTERATION OF VALUES

Sugar was found mixed with fine plastic crystals that naked eye can’t see. However, if sugar with crystals is added to cold water, it will not dissolve and settle at the surface of the container. If this test is done with milk or tea, the result may not be conclusive as even adulterated sugar gets dissolved.

White chilli powder is dyed with ‘sudan red‘, an artificial dye to turn it into an expensive red chilli powder. Whole red chillies are adulterated with coal tar to enhance their appearance.

Adding glucose, dextrose, molasses, sugar syrup, invert sugar, flour, corn syrup, starch, or any other similar product, other than floral nectar to honey, adulterates it.

Adulterated milk is what we end up drinking these days. Other contaminants like urea, starch, glucose, formalin along with detergent are used as adulterants. These adulterants are used to increase the thickness and viscosity of the milk as well as to preserve it for a longer period.

When we hear the term ‘adulteration’, the imagery that immediately appears before us is that of adulterated food products. The word ‘adulteration’ comes from the Latin word adulterare which means corrupt. More than any other thing, the word ‘adulteration’ aptly applies to a degradation/corruption of value systems.

Civilizations have become advanced. Technological know-how is on the rise. Awareness levels have increased. Independence has increased. Economy has shot up. But, the latitude of acceptance has come down. Tolerance levels have plummeted. Conditions have taken the place of trust. Virtual relationships have taken the place of real-world relationships. With dysfunctional and single-parent families on the rise, the definition of family is gradually getting skewed. Lust has replaced love. Corruption has become a part of life – shell out money and your work is easily done without delay.

A group of teenagers came to me with the question, “Do values and integrity matter in this day and age?” I paused for some time before answering them, thinking that we are living in times where the very existence of values and integrity is being questioned! The information explosion at the click of a mouse, the lure of reaching heights of accomplishments, settling for mediocrity in place of excellence with a ‘chalta hai’ attitude has diluted the desire to conform to existing values.

We are living at times where a substitute can be found for almost everything. Live-in relationships as substitutes for families, internet games in place of the sweat and laughter of playing on playgrounds, extra-matrital relationships in place of the warmth of one’s own spouse – you think of it and you can list the gross adulteration.

Not that such things never ever happened previously. While the rarity of such occurrences in the past made people startle, the rarity of such incidents not occurring today, makes one marvel.

No matter how powerful the pull of the world may be, if our equation with the Almighty is strong, the likelihood of getting sucked into this whirlwind of adulterated values will be lesser. Yes, we may end up being victims to it all for the stand we take, but our conscience would remain clear of not victimizing anyone or ourselves of such dilution.