The American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler (author of ‘Future Shock’), once observed (and quite astutely so): “The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they — at some distant point in the future — will take over the reigns…” Let’s call this part (I) of the quote.
Although, his shrewd remark was based on his close observation of the American society per se, the principle as illustrated by Part I of the quote, essentially remains the same…especially when it comes to India. Not surprising if one remembers the Hindu Business Line February 2009 article titled ‘Younger India, Greying Politicians’, which reminded us that…’While 70 per cent of India’s population is below 40 years of age, 80 per cent of India’s politicians are over 70 years.’
Of course, if that alarms you…consider this: According to data shared by PRS Legislative Research in 2014, the Indian Parliament has been growing steadily older over time. What this basically means is that the society has managed to subtly and steadily sideline the youth when it comes to nation-building.
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Unfortunately, no nation can ever hope of progress and development unless it taps into its youth to unleash its power and potential…and that forms the part (II) of Alvin Toffler’s quote, “…the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely…because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.” Well, now that we know there’s no getting around the inclusion of youth when it comes to development, let us now take a look at a three-pronged approach on how the youth can create a Better and Brighter India.
Well, the society wanted to distance the youth from politics…and abracadabra… it was done! The youngsters today are more likely to know the names of Salman Khan’s “exes” as compared to know the names of the cabinet ministers and their respective portfolios. In fact, a recent DNA article (25th January, 2016 to be precise) read: “A few years ago, when youngsters were asked if they knew what ‘Tryst with Destiny’ was about, some of them actually asked if that was the name of Beyonce’s band.” Hmm??!!?? Now that’s saying something! Sadly, if the youth wants to change the system, it has to get inside the system. And there’s just no pleading ignorance…this time!
It was Nelson Mandela, who once said: “The working youth is critical to our future. The economy depends on you. With your hard work and efforts at improving your skills, you can make ours one of the most prosperous nations in the world.” When it comes to nation-building, the youth needs to work on skill-development, job-creation, and active economic participation. Hence, when it comes to bettering the country, the youth will have to become the battering ram…and break the glass ceiling.
It is time to bid adieu to one of the most dangerous words in the Indian lexicon: the “CHALTA HAI” attitude. Do you know what is the greatest sin? [Hint: And no, it’s not SALIGIA, aka the seven sins] The greatest sin is apathy — to witness an injustice and not do anything at all. In fact, for evil to succeed, you do not really need some “strong” bad men…all you really need are a few “weak” good men!