A Lesson In Millennial For Nirmala Tai

The beef between baby boomers and millennials is the stuff of a Shakespearean saga. You know exactly what I’m saying. There is no way you grew up in India and didn’t have aunties and uncles twice and twenty-two times removed who didn’t tell you in specific detail what was ‘wrong with your generation.’ Like, really? Right in front of my matar paneer?

That being said, there’s a lot going on right now. No, really. It’s the reason explore and discover pages are even a thing on your social feeds. But, hey, I’m not going to make a blanket statement like that. That’s not what my generation does. That is a specific trait belonging to the Nirmala Tai kitty party. (Forgive me, I know the gender implications of referring to Nirmala Sitharaman’s colleagues as a kitty party are mediocre at best, but if you have a better phrase for what every photo of Cabinet meetings look like, feel free to drop a comment below.)

I’m not angry about what Ms Sitharaman said. I’m sure she has her reasons. I mean, I hope she does. What actually needs to be looked at here is a crucial outlook many governments across the world are exhibiting. Despite the fact that young people are speaking out more than ever about issues ranging from political autonomy to the climate crisis, there is a persistent face that is pulled by those in power whenever they hear a statistic. It is the exact same face I pull when I try a Snapchat filter. It is best displayed by Donald Trump. Click below.

Even if the Finance Minister wasn’t simply saying what came to her mind, and indeed quoting this survey, it still doesn’t justify her statement. For starters, she’s the Finance Minister, and this was a formal press conference. Imagine what would happen if there was a millennial in her place and they said something like, “Old people are causing global warming. We are working to solve this problem for them.” Chaos, right? Because just one section of the population is not responsible for a nationwide problem.

Here’s the thing. Millennials are stuck. Indian millennials specifically, have a wonderfully unique set of obstacles they need to overcome to be able to even think of living a life that advancement in technology and years of practised politics has promised them.

One of the biggest factors that impacts lives and how they are lived is the economy. In a capitalist system, no consumption is ethical and in a formerly socialist one, no action is invisible. This invisibility is accentuated by the fact that fed on social media (as opaque as that can be), millennial thought and consumption demands transparency inherently. Naturally, this doesn’t sit well with authority that rests on secrecy and a supremely placed sense of inaccessibility, RTI or no RTI.

Fundamentally, everything circles back to supply and demand. Every single problem in the world today can be traced back to supply and demand. Including this! Before the supply for Uber and Ola existed, there were taxi stands just around the corner. Once the economy supplied the service, demand was created. So, who is this really on? Those who encouraged the Uber and Ola expansion here, or those who use it (which I’m guessing was the goal of allowing them to do business in India)?

To say that the millennial generation is heavily dependent on technology is absolutely right. We are. And we’re not averse to the fact that digital payments are becoming a thing, Aadhar has an app and that taxes can be paid online. But, if you’re pushing all this as a government for the ease of 1.34 billion people, you don’t get to make 47% of the working population the villain as per your convenience. That’s just the most effective way of making sure you provide us with ample meme material.

Along with combating an economy that those in charge of fixing seem intent on ignoring, Indian millennials have a lot of other things to fix. Unemployment is still at a 45-year-high, more of us are depressed than we have ever been, the state shows no interest in maintaining crucial tenets of the democracy that we were born into. And of course, there is the omnipresent parampara, pratishtha, anushasan (tradition, honour, discipline) that we can never seem to escape. Being an Indian millennial is not easy. I should be allowed to take a cab from place A to B, without being shamed for it.

Oh, and while I’ve been speaking about how millennial transport choices have nothing to do with an economy that a government re-elected to power has failed in protecting, the Nifty just dropped 0.50%. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: Stock Catalog/Flickr.
Similar Posts

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below