India of today is the outcome of the deeds of the elder citizens. India of tomorrow is going to be the creation of today's youth. All our dissatisfaction emanates from what the leaders of our nation have failed to achieve. All our hopes are centred on the potentialities of our youth. Fifty years of independence comprising the work and. Achievements of nearly two generations have not overcome poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition.
Will the coming generation be able to break with the legacy of backwardness and discover some ways and means of forging ahead on the path of i progress to give India its legitimate place in the comity of nations?
India is a young nation. Last year (1998) it completed a year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary of Independence. But more than its duration as an independent nation, it is the composition of its demographic profile which justifies the christening of Indian Nation as young. More than 40% of our population of nearly 100 crore is in | the age group of 18 to 35. Human resources of this magnitude if properly nourished, educated and groomed can bring unheard of glory to our country. If we adopt a positive approach in assessing the youth of today, we will be struck by many a pleasant surprise.
In some of the walks of life, which attract attention of the print and electronic media, Indian youth have done remarkably well and have brought laurels for the country. Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble are rated as world's great cricketers and their action on the cricket ground is watched with excitement by people round the globe. Two of India's beauties - Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Roy were crowned Miss Universe and Miss World in a single year recently. Our Tennis Stars - Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati - have reached Number One ranking as doubles pair.
In Chess, Vishwanath Anand of India, currently Number 2 in the world is literally knocking at the doors of world championship. Indian Film Director Shekhar Kapoor has produced an English Film "Elizabeth" in the Hollywood which has been nominated for 7 Oscars. In short, the performance of Indian youth in the world of sports and entertainment is vastly inspiring.
Today's youth is much more industrious and competitive than the previous generation. In mental ability, Indian youth rank with the best in the world. Productsoi Indian Institute of Technology is eagerly picked up by world class institutions in Europe and the United States and they are contributing enormously to the scientific and material advancement of the countries of their residence. India's software export is almost exclusively managed by young computer engineers and software specialists and India's earning from software exports is experiencing an exponential growth.
Perhaps the most heartening achievements of Indian youth which have brought lasting respect for India are in the field of literature. While Vikram Seth's "Suitable Boy" became one of the most popular books among the English speaking people all over the world, Arundhati Roy's "God of Small Things" won prestigious Booker's prize and has sold lakhs of copies throughout the globe. Indian writings in English have now become inseparable part of English literature. Viewed in the context of India's creditable showing in the world of sports also, India's performance in world of letters has clearly established that India can compete with the most advanced countries in the world both in the sphere of physical and mental ability.
Indian youth is showing a great promise today. Institutional arrangements in the field of Education and Research in India are, however, far from satisfactory. India's young men and women have to go to foreign countries to prove their worth. It is a matter of serious concern and introspection for the entire society and before long ways and means have to be found out to create facilities for research on Indian soil to retain and train Indian brains to work for the progress and prosperity of our teeming millions.
Achievements of Indian youth in some important spheres of intellectual and physical endeavour should not blind us to certain disconcerting tendencies exhibited by a section of Indian youth. There is not only lack of commitment to the society among some youth; they have exhibited a total disregard to the values of discipline and civic sense. Progeny of the noveau-riche has been most culpable in this regard. A few teenagers belonging to wealthy families recently overran 6 persons in Delhi while recklessly driving a BMW Car.
While this may be regarded as an isolated incident, but no systematic and concerted endeavour has been exhibited by the middle class youth of India to help the weak and the exploited. The vast expansion of middle classes in India should have led to a vast increase in the number of Non-Governmental organisations and of their selfless workers working outside the Government to relieve misery of the people to spread the world of knowledge and promote empowerment of the women and weaker sections of society.
Youth of India is getting increasingly westernised under the influence of Cable TV. Consumerism is firmly entrenched in the young people. They spend lavishly on clothes, automobiles and entertainment. They are impatient with their parents and elderly relations. They do not feel as concerned with the idea of looking after their aged parents as was exhibited by the previous generations. It is likely that their parents will suffer from a lack of emotional support from the young. The youth, being highly mobile in search for better employment opportunities, will not be able to offer adequate financial or emotional support to their parents.
Youth today is much more outgoing and much less inhibited in relations with the opposite sex than the youth of yesterday. Young people of both sexes mix freely in metropolitan cities and give and obtain emotional support. Growing popularity of Valentine Day, which causes traffic jams on roads leading to restaurants, testifies to the progressive adoption of western culture by the youth in their personal relationships. They have more balanced views on sex. They do not generally allow sex to interfere with their careers and life-plans. They can develop friendships which improve quality of their emotional life. In contracting marriage, however, a large majority of youth still obtain consent of parents.
Academic atmosphere varies greatly in different parts of India. While educational institutions in Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai, Pune and Bangalore are maintaining high standards and are running regular academic sessions, universities and colleges located in the cities of Bihar and Uttar Pradsh have deteriorated sharply in recent years affecting the career prospects of student's community adversely. S
ome University Campuses in these unwieldy states of India have become breeding grounds for criminals and mafias who instigate strikes, dislocate classes and beat up teachers and conscientious students. Academic sessions are consequently delayed by almost a year causing loss of one year to students. Some of the well off parents sends their children to Delhi and other cities for studies. Youth of these States is generally demoralised as unemployment stares them in their faces. Factional and caste ridden politics of U.P. and Bihar have seeped into the academic institutions of higher learning taking a heavy toll of educational standards.