“Congress main ek alasya sa aa gaya hai” (a sense of laziness has swept into the Congress) pointed Ravish Kumar, on his 9’ o clock daily, as he and the other panelists discussed the much-awaited U.P. elections, to be held next year.
In this battle for the ballot, which some say also decides the fate of the incumbents at the Centre, the Congress party is pitted against, amongst many others, the BJP, which has also launched a vehement election campaign. Ravish and his panelist discussed agendas, covertly masked behind those election rallies and token visits to ghats and memorials of some of India’s men (and women) of history. It all comes down to votes that are not entirely decided by issues of social and economic development, but sadly, ones caste and religion. “Brahmin vote, Dalit vote, Yadav vote, Muslim vote…” the panelists excitedly discuss, as I think of my own religion and caste, something, which is of acute irrelevance to my family and me. Sadly, it continues to be that one crucial factor, which every five years decides the fate of our country.
In the backdrop of Ravish’s discussion and my own thought process, U.P. burns and is marred by communal violence, caste based atrocities and uncontrolled rape cases. What follows is the usual political gossip on national television, mud slinging and blame game.
How is it that we let our religion, caste, community and gender dominate every aspect of our life? How is it that we still can’t rid ourselves of social evils? How is it that our economic progress has not wiped out our trivial socio-cultural rules and regulations?
Are ambitious politicians and politics always to be blamed? May be not!
This time I choose not to blame any political party (although they are at the very core of this crisis), I do not wish to point at any ideology, which is being forced down upon this nation, any wave, any personality, any leader, any organization, anything that has the slightest of connect with our political system.
It’s time I analyze the role of my own people – the youth!
It is the youth that gives a nation, an identity, a thought process and decides its present and future. It is the youth that works hard, earns and brings about economic prosperity. India treads on a successful economic path and our well-educated youth are definitely a relevant part of India’s many success stories.
But there are also stories that India may not be very proud of. These are stories, akin to the ones brewing in parts of UP and Gujarat. Stories that sometimes also acquire forms of social injustices, honour killings, female feticides and infanticides, dowry deaths, rapes, religious intolerances and many more. These stories are not always determined by the generation that precedes us or any political organization, but the youth.
That these issues continue to haunt India, emphatically points at the many failures of our educated youth. Unlike, post independent India, when education was still a belonging of a privileged few, the youth today has access to a fine education system. This education, that they receive at private, public, government run and sometimes even illegal institutes, not only hones their latent skills, but also assures them of hefty pay packages. What follows is a technology driven life, investments, stocks, foreign travels and of course blaming the government for all the wrongs that surround us.
Despite this exposure of a unique kind, the youth continues to be dictated by social and cultural norms that are bound by caste, religion, community, gender and more.
Therefore, a well accomplished government officer harassing his wife for dowry, or caste and religion being the deciding factors for social union such as marriages, or honour killings or the continuance of xenophobic ideologies shouldn’t come as a shocking surprise!It is also the educated youth who overwhelmed by their own ideas of jingoism fail to recognize that what they perceive as being anti-national, are actually monumental failures of the state. It is also the same educated youth that sometimes praises and whistles for those who humour rape and walk free despite killing humans and animals!
While education has put India’s youth on the world map and given them an exposure of a unique kind, it has perhaps fallen short at various levels.
Education should be such that empowers opinion, harnesses strong principles and creates a being who is willing to take a strong and absolute stand against all the social ills that masquerade as familial, societal and cultural traditions.
Instead, our education system produces money-making robots! It is perhaps due to the presence of these robots that our nation continues to thrive on intolerance, which is not a politically generated concept but a feeling that resides within all of us, young or old, political or non – political, literate or illiterate.
Having said all of the above, I still wouldn’t blame the youth for everything. The youth today does make an effort to unshackle the burdens of the past and voices its opinion for a better future. Over the past few months, there has emerged a youth brigade in this country who’ve managed a political and social uproar. I do not entirely agree with their political gimmicks, however, it is comforting enough to know that these youngsters may not own a flat in Greater Noida, have a lal-batti at their disposal, or walk around in their crisp corporate attires, but instead have the will to stand up for their principles and are in the real sense of the term, India’s educated youth!