The youth in India is a burgeoning demographic. It is also one of the most vocal on current issues, the target of the food, business, fashion, publishing and gadget industry, and even in elections. This population is also more tolerant and accommodative.
There are many factors responsible for this phenomenon. Let’s take a look.
Literacy : The youth of today isn’t restricted to the age-old careers of medicine and engineering. They’re making bold career choices in fields hitherto unexplored and underestimated- literature, journalism, media and mass communication, pharmacy, event management, marketing, fashion etc.
This choosing alternate careers and working towards realizing new ambitions has opened their minds and broadened their thought horizons. It has built bridges between religions and brought people together. Plus, more young people are visiting bookstores, buying books and reading- something which has opened up their minds even more, ushering in logical and scientific thinking based on rationality.
Technology : With the advent of smartphones, laptops, Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp, the world is shrinking. This is a part of globalization, and a major mobilization for young people. Boundaries, all kinds, are melting. Everyone, irrespective of the faith they ascribe to, aspire to success, financial stability and finding a good life partner.
Urbanization : Swanky modern apartments, cafes, and other places where the youth can mingle, interact and exchange views are changing social dynamics. Combined with literacy and technology, it’s making sure that today’s young are independent, liberal and open to other cultures and schools of thought. This has, in turn, fostered tolerance.
Employment : Jobs have, in conjunction with literacy, technology and urbanization, given young people financial independence and security, plus a sense of success and confidence. It is a system which survives on meritocracy, talent and hard work, and doesn’t pay attention to region, religion or language. Anyone from any background can, with hard work and talent, rise to the top. This is also, apart from making the youth independent, also engendering inter-religious marriages.
So, as we saw above, education, technology, social media, urbanization and careers, have made India’s proliferating youth population a more tolerant one. They have fostered a kind of brotherhood amongst everyone, where all aspire to the same common goal, and work hard. In this, faith matters very little, but even so, people interact with each other, come to know about each other’s culture and even get married inter-faith.
It’s because modernity has ushered in an age where one’s religion is not one’s identity, but a part of it. The youth identifies itself by personality, education, merit, passion and profession.
The youth of today constitutes the leaders of tomorrow. We youth are living in an age of information technology- the globe is shrinking, boundaries are diluting. We are less parochial than our parents were. We are more open to ideas across faiths, societies, cultures and populations. The youth of today has a more globalized outlook, and therefore it can lead the country in inculcating inter-faith rapport and co-operation.
By holding cultural awareness programs in the community, the youth can make sure that political parties aren’t able to exploit religious differences for electoral gains. It can also hold functions where people can come and celebrate religious festivals together. We must make sure that people of one religion don’t see people from other faiths as ‘the other’, or that people from one religion aren’t made to feel alienated from the rest of society.
And who better to do that than an enlightened youth populace?
As an educated population, we youth must push forward for positive social change that ensures all faiths come together to form a united nation. For example, take the recent meat ban in Mumbai. It was the youth brigade which led social media protests against the two-day ban on eating or sale of meat, recognizing it as a political gimmick to polarize communities. It also pressed forward the issue of personal liberty- the freedom to eat what one wants.
It is because of unanimous protests, on social media and on the streets, by this liberalized generation, that the Bombay High Court quashed the ban and resolved the issue.
This is a burning example of how communal co-operation and peaceful co-existence, the two ideals of any democratic country, were upheld by the young generation which is more open-minded and accommodating of differences in food, clothes, faith and other aspects of culture.
A more tolerant attitude in the youth has made sure they respect all religions, and stay united instead of divided, celebrating differences in cultures and ensuring peace.