Ideally, it should be a moment of pride for a 24-year-old, like me, to be a citizen of India, which is presently experiencing the “Youth Bulge”. I am a citizen of the nation where more than 50% of the population is below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. By 2030, it shall be the nation of youth, with a dependency ratio of just over 0.4.
Unfortunately, unlike many, these facts have not allowed my chest to swell up with pride and expand itself as large as possible to the most trending size of “56 Inches”. Primarily because today, as part of that youth bulge, I am feeling odd sensations. Yes, these are sensations of the rumblings of change, an unwanted, impossible to accept change. The land is shaking and it can be felt underfoot by all of us spread across the nation.
India is witnessing a spurt of growth of young population and will soon be the youngest country in the world.
As per the data, the much-awaited bulge will lead to many positive changes in the demography and economic environment of India. These demographic changes will promote the development of the world’s youngest nation. But, trusting the present, there is no wrong in assuming, that right now the changes brought in will lead us to the road that will completely deflect us from our vision of India. The present road might promise growth, but Young India, demands growth with and for a vision equal for all.
We are being made to avoid the question confronting all of us today “What kind of nation do we want to live in? What nation will our next generations take birth in?”
This generation of young and old is witnessing something critical and vital for the nation. We are experiencing the process of nation-building while fighting against all odds. A process of struggles, where the youth has been forced by the elders and experienced to make “choices”. The youth have been put to labor with the belief of choosing between doing good or doing well in life, between economic growth, or social growth.
We, the youth are forced to believe that we are inexperienced, and not better positioned to come out with innovative alternatives and approaches to drive the delivery of tangible outcomes. But now, we have had enough of being disillusioned and demotivated by the disquiet, uncertainty, and constant violence within and outside our lives making us and our will, frozen enough to take no actions.
And therefore, I want to communicate it loud and clear, We, the Young Citizens of India, are capable of bringing in the storm of change as I write, and you read. Every answer to your question on our identity, when we support movements demanding justice, is capable of changing the approaches and strategies of the so-called envisioned, unconstitutional growth of the nation.
I want to request our elders, leaders of the institutions and government, to not identify us as the problem that needs to be solved, but as the solution to the system, they have fractured.
We are not only mere voters, we are thinkers and doers. We think and envision a nation, with shrinking inequality, regenerating natural resources, opportunities enough at disposal for everyone to unlock their full potential, and benefit from shared prosperity. We want to live in a world where peace and harmony are promoted, love becomes the religion, and the focus is on improving lives by minimizing the harm of all possible forms.
For us, there are only three watchwords for this era: Reform, Resolve, and then Revolt, to bring in the former, as and when required. Presently, we might not have the best approach for all the problems, but we have the courage and consideration required to take the risk and do all the possible permutations and combinations for trial and error.
Understanding that our role is not only limited to help India reach its dependency ratio of 0.4 by 2030, we have to be working every day. And therefore we will be while being the largest participants in the workforce, shall also be participating in the gatherings that are required for fixing systems lacking democratic leaderships and de-accelerating the required growth.
We will balance professionalism and active citizenship. We will work towards our responsibility for the nation, taking it as our second job, if possibly not the first, due to many factors. This will be a job, a duty, where growth and progress of the economy will be our compensation. The establishment of constitution abiding governing structures and systems will be our motivational force.
It is vital to mention, many young citizens have started this journey of taking responsibility by being on the roads while building their patience and perseverance, required to embrace conflicts of interests and looking for alternatives through dialogue and equal participation of all stakeholders to help resolve it.
The youth is out on the roads demanding justice, but they will face challenges from those in power
We cannot deny that today, the youth is out on roads, because they feel the need to be there and their need has turned fairly into a personal want and nation’s call as well. They want and will be found outside every possible booth camp where they voted. They want to be there even after elections, to demand justice for their vote.
Essential to highlight, this journey is full of challenges and struggles. We are and will be questioned now and then for our individuality and identity whenever found supporting anything against the objectives of people in power at present. These questions will be a direct, de-motivating, and often open threat to one’s safety.
These questions can be as upsetting as: “ What are you here for? Why are you here? Who has funded you? Which college are you from? Right-Wing or Left Wing? What is your religion? What is your caste? Where are your roots from? Do you know the exact issue? Do you know what the government has done? Where is your Aadhar Card? Are you funded? Which council are you from? Why this bindi? Why Turban? Why burqa? What’s in your bag? Why is your phone out? What are you recording?” And we might fail to answer them all bravely and boldly. But every time, we fail to answer, we need to remind ourselves, the nation and its resources belong to all and can be used within the law and order for the benefit of all.
We need not hesitate to speak that each advocating for justice, could be less educated of the political interests and objectives but they are fully eligible to hold the people in power accountable for everything that is done, Right and Wrong. We might not have a vested political interest, but we do have high interests in nation-building.
We are united, to stand and demand dignity from the ones, who promised to safeguard and deliver. It is time to create a win-win deal. It is the time to stand with courage and consideration. Being one of the largest populated nations in the world, it is bound to have a large number of challenges.
With the ever-changing model of growth as per the influential factors of the external environment, we understand that the scale of problems within the system has increased, and, today we propose the need to change our response to it for a better future for all. Therefore, now more than ever it is possible, and it is required to not only merely inhabit this fragile democratic nation but make ourselves protectors first and then promoters of it as well.