Today, the word ‘youth’ is buzzing around everywhere. We keep hearing the cacophony sound of youth all the time — in our families, in markets, in our society, and of course!very much in our polity. It seems that we are ushering towards a golden era of the youth world. Products are being launched, keeping in mind the tastes and liking of the youth and accordingly, a youth market have been created.
Our society regards this class as an agent of change. The oldest institution of the world – ‘family,’ takes its youth members as the future backbone of its well-being and survival. Every parent desire their son or daughter, to shoulder their responsibility in the gerent phase of their life. The biggest selling theme in our film world revolves around youth-centric romantic sagas and last, but not the least, the world of politics is very much busy in catching out the symbolism.
A person passes through several phases and stages in his/her life, but it is his youth stage, which becomes the highlight of his or her life. Anyone’s childhood and adolescence, followed by the youth stage of life brings a deciding turn or change in one’s life.
However, this change could also be a misdirected one also, instead of going in the right direction. This is the age when one can go over either a good path or a bad one. It can go in either the disciplined way or the haphazard way. It can either take up the path of sacrifices or the way of indulgences. It can adopt either a positive & constructive agenda or a negative or destructive one. To sum up, this age can go either way; it can make, but can also break. It is like a two-edged weapon. One can become a dreaded criminal or just the opposite — a true patriot soldier of the country.
It is the duty of our system and our governments to give a proper direction to the youth. The quality of our youth depends upon how the society nurtures and brings up its young and moulds its talents and enthusiasm; because, talent lies both in a criminal as well as in a soldier. This talent lies in an explosive-maker and in a defense scientist in alike manner. So, the difference is that of direction they have chosen. One way is of ‘law-abiding one’ while the other is of the ‘law-violator one’. One is the legal way while the other is illegal way. One is social while the other anti-social. Now, the question arises — shall we frame a new broad-based agenda about the conditions and future of our youth generation, in the given context and circumstances, or should we just keep repeating the merely emotional juggernaut regarding the youth.
It is true that in every era, the mentality, attitudes and thinking horizons of the youth class have been different. However, the question is, for this crucial stage of life, can’t we have an established policy about their education, training, upbringing & orientation and career? We need to create huge infrastructures for the health, skills, personality and career requirements of the youth community.
When we talk about youth, it is imperative to discuss about women also. Because, unlike the impression we have, youth as well as woman are not a social class. Both classes can be termed as natural entities only. One relates it to gender while the other relates it with a stage of life that everyone passes through, which is known as adolescence stage of life. However, we treat them as a kind of a social class, which faces a class-war kind of situation in the society. The fact is that in a family, a male boy is dearer to the female mother, whereas a female daughter is much dearer to the male father. In a similar way, a female ‘daughter-in-law’ gets ill treated more by her female mother-in-law and vice versa. When we discuss these two categories of ‘women’ and ‘youth,’ we must always take them as natural entities, which, of course, have many further sub-categories; like modern women vs. traditional women, rural women vs. urban women, educated women vs. uneducated women, upper middle class women vs. lower middle class women, upper caste women vs dalit caste women, etc. All these classes of women have different environments, upbringing, nature & area of problems and issues.
For example, in urban areas women are fighting for their respect, whereas in rural areas women have to struggle even for their survival and they routinely face physical assaults. A similar situation exists with the youth generation, also. Like women, we have various social categories of youth, all having different concerns and issues. Even with respect to employment, which is a universal youth problem, there is one educated youth class which aspires for high salaries and big banner corporate jobs, whereas another class of semi-educated youth just aspires to get a job in a factory, where they can have, at least, the facility of provident fund. Relationships are also a common concern of all the youth classes. However, here too, there are differences between the various youth classes. In urban metropolitan cities, the youth aspires to get a good job so that he can have a boy friend or girl friend, whereas, in rural areas, a semi-educated youth hardly wants a Rs 10,000 per-month job, so that he can get a good marriage offer from a good family.
Manohar Manoj is editor of Economy India