I am a symbol of the youth of the nation who has a dream for change and needs the help of you all in turning that dream into reality. I am not here to sympathize, empathize or criticize. I just want you all to listen to me, question yourselves and think about what can be done.
For the past year or so I have seen our nation undergo a lot of change. I have seen the euphoric rallies against corruption that engulfed Delhi. The slogans of Women empowerment, banning child labor, making India a safer place are still ringing in my ears. Countless Facebook posts, Youtube videos and tweets on this Women’s Day drenched me with unbound hysteria. My heart was swelling with pride that the members of my generation were raising their voices.
A week up the timeline, I was on my way back home from work. There was some issue at the traffic signal because of which the auto rickshaws were hurrying off without taking passengers. I somehow managed to stop one of the autos and sat in front with the driver. Suddenly there was a guy trying to sit beside me, squeezing me between him and the driver. It was rather uncomfortable for me, so I choose to get down. Two guys replaced my seat. I stopped the vehicle and lectured them on morality for five odd minutes. Neither the auto driver nor the men blinked an eye. I went home wondering – Is this the same youth that had chanted slogans with great fervor and marched like a swarm of bees for one common goal – A corruption free India? a developed India? A free India? A safe India?
We are not here because our destiny was programmed to be so and to do so. We are a generation at the crossroads of time, crossroads of change and crossroads of being a part of a revolution. We are enthusiastic and exuberant, but we are pretentious too. We want to do things, infact too many things but we have no clue how to do it. Whatever comes our way, we run headlong into it. We often patronize others – Be yourself, follow your heart, aspire for your dreams. Little do we realize that does the heart know what it wants? Do you know how to be yourself in this hypocrite society? Even Google will fail to answer these questions!
To quote Arundhati Roy, “There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced or the preferable unheard”. So which category do We, the youth belong to? Is it justified to say that the youth today has awakened from their deep and long social hibernation? Are we not being fed with pompous words just to portray a picture where we come out looking all vibrant and socially aware? Do we really feel and believe what we say, and if we feel do we express it eloquently?
Let me give you answers to all the above questions. The truth is that in a nation where the average life expectancy in 65 years, a 40 year old is tagged as a youth icon. It is not that we are very happy with it, but nevertheless we accept it because we lack the zeal to do anything about it. The youth today are leading a nomadic life. A life which is a conflict between the existing social norms that are receding and the new ideas that are emerging. Our myopic eyes fail to see anything beyond the Facebook-Twitter world of the metros.
For 50 years, India has been a developing nation; it is high time we became a developed nation. What is it that developed nations have and we don’t – Is it money? Or resources? Or brains? Aren’t we patriotic enough? A nation with endless variety, India has the best engineers, doctors, industrialist, scientists and businessmen offering global expertise in their areas of development. So, what are we waiting for?
On behalf of the entire youth fraternity of India, I pledge;
- To never surrender my idealism for social approval - Yes, I am 25. Yes, I am single and unmarried. And NO. There is nothing wrong with me.
- To change the way the society perceives us and challenge its outdated mores - Just cause I have colored my hair red and wear jeans doesn't mean I have no sense of culture or am morally wrong.
- To not become so involved with my techno savvy world that I forget to dream - Read a book. Feel the emotion around you. Dance in the rain.
- To battle the thought process of the way things are supposed to be - Don't force your children to take up engineering or medical studies. Culinary science, arts, sports, drama, fashion are as good a profession.
- To respect everyone’s individuality - Not every man is a criminal, sexist or rapist. Not every woman is a sati savitri or damsel in distress. Never be prejudiced by the opinions made by the society. You have your own brain, use it!
We are not the reasons behind the ills of the society, rather we are messengers of change who should be empowered and encouraged. We aren’t only the future of the nation, but also its present. We need an environment where our voices are heard and our actions are impactful. With the current scenario of our nations, it is imperative for the youth to be involved in all the spheres of society – and not just tall claims and unproductive debates – but also actions. We have to joins hands in channelizing the energy and enthusiasm in the correct direction to achieve the herculean task of nations building.