Mutual Growth: Society & Youth

Posted on January 12, 2010 in Society

Saakshi Mittal:

Who are the youth? What is the society? Why does the youth need the society and the society — the youth? On what basic parameters does this relationship thrive? Do you think of yourself when you come across the term “Youth of India”?

The answer to the first question varies in different regions and reports of the world. The United Nations General Assembly puts the age period of 15-24 years as the youth while the Common Wealth Youth Programme associates the term youth with the age group of 15-29. In a broader sense, we can link the youth to the group of age between 15-35 years (especially if we want to talk in terms of youth politics!).

Wikipedia answers the second question.

Society or human society is the manner or condition in which the members of a community live together for their mutual benefit. By extension, society denotes the people of a region or country, sometimes even the world, taken as a whole. The relationship of the youth with the society (and vice versa) primarily defines how the youth interact with the community they live in- with their parents, relatives, neighbors, friends, etc; how they view, work, develop and build the systems (such as education; politics; service, corporate and financial sectors; etc) that build them.

One third of the total population of India lies in the age group of 15-35 years, that is, the youth. Of this youth population, as small as twenty percent is what we term as the urban youth and the rest eighty percent is the rural youth. When I talk of the relationship of the youth with the society, with politics, with their parents and friends, I aim to highlight not only the interaction of the urban youth but also the rural youth with their community. Also, I have tried to understand these dynamics and present my views, without taking a conclusive stand.

The relationship of the youth and society, like every other, thrives on the concept of give and take. It would be unfair to draw parallels between the youth of yester years and the present generation, mainly because there is a prodigious difference between the variables (such as circumstances, education, exposure, etc) controlling the growth, behavior and reactions of the two generations of youth.

The youth of today is an empowered, confident and forth coming lot. They are more open because they have available to them a boundless arena of choices. The growing influence of media, the ever-growing competitiveness in all dimensions of education, the exposure to international job markets, the development of indigenous industries, etc – the factors that are often cited in every write-up have played an indispensable role in imparting new vigor to the younger generation.

In return, the youth is infusing in the society the spirit of achieving a new level of integration with the global world. They are playing the imperative role of re-structuring the thoughts of the Indian socio-economic and political culture. One of the distinct and vibrant (if I may take the liberty to say so) characteristic of the young generation is that they are willing to experiment with new ideas. Take the example of accepting the idea of gay and lesbian relationships and then voicing their support for the same. The legalization of prostitution has also found a tenacious stanchion in the Indian youth. From entering into professions that were dubbed as ‘side’ streams and lending themselves to their development to carving their own niche in economics, cinema, art, science, politics; the youth is painting the world with its colors.

There is however, a lack of initiative in the young generation today. It can logically be ascertained that for the growth of a developing economy such as India, serious entrepreneurial projects are extremely crucial. In the present scenario, employments of the conventional form that give them a hefty sum of money (ASAP) are the dominant attraction for the youth. The fast tracks to quick money define their life styles, thereby robbing the country of their intellect and risk taking capacity. The pro-active attitude towards social development is very well imbibed in this youth and a majority leads a self-consumed life.

Here, I would also like to point out to the disparity of resources and opportunities between the urban and the rural youth. Not only is there an absolute (and obsolete) lack of education of global standard for the rural youth, there is also widespread unemployment among them. It is an ongoing vicious cycle: poverty — improper education — lack of skills — unemployment — poverty. On top of this, there is the never ending crisis of ideology. The rural youth, in a bid to catch up with their urban counterparts fall easy prey to bestiality and violence and are thenceforth misused by political parties, religious groups or organizations having vested interests. This works up a negative cycle involving a good portion of the majority of the youth.

Youth participation and energy is indispensable for the evolution, expansion and advancement of the nation, especially one in which the youth forms such a large chunk of the population. However, it is of paramount importance that this energy be directed into channels of positive orientation and innovations.

Needless to say, it is impossible that this task be performed by the minority of youth — the urban youth only. The rural and urban youth must join hands together; bridge the gaps that separate them and build the road to a developed, economically and socially balanced nation for the society has looked and always will look upon its youth for lightening the baton of progress within its reaches.

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The writer is the Sub-Editor at Youth Ki Awaaz


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