Who is this Youth?

December 15th, 2011

I often wonder, what is this entity called “Youth”?

From whatever little I gather, I come to the conclusion that to be a Youth, one must have some qualities, likes and  dislikes.

The Youth must be hooked to Internet, at least 17 hours a day, the Youth must “work hard, party harder,” the Youth must use Blackberry for Facebook and Twitter updates, the Youth must be an anti-corruption crusader and support candlelight vigils on occasions of national calamity or terrorist attack. The Youth also loves to party, get sloshed and splurge in New Year and Christmas. And  of course, the brand-conscious youth likes wearing Khadi, occasionally though. For general information, the Youth buys an apartment at the age of 28, and a car at the age of 31, and in most often an IT professional. And obviously, the Youth likes Kolaveri Di.

Now the dislikes. The Youth will never ever — and that is an absolute NO NO — watch television soaps (wonder where the channels get their TRPs from). The Youth must dislike spending time with those pestering  relatives who come with a new marriage proposal everyday, and Youth must not excessively enjoy visiting places of religious interest.

Now that I know what it takes to be a Youth, I see, Internet also provides a list of Youth icons. Narain Karthikeyan, Rahul Gandhi, Sania Mirza, M S Dhoni, Priyanaka Chopra are Youth icons. Several years ago, even Anil Ambani, Shahrukh Khan and once even good old Orkut, managed to be Youth icons at one popular television channel.

No doubt, these people are achievers in their respective fields, but do a majority of young people in India really connect with these so-called ‘icons’?

How does the young man, somewhere in his mid-20s, selling Jhal Muri (for those who don’t know, it is one of the most popular street foods in Bengal, and someone told me the English version is dried fried rice with onion and chilly) at the bus-stand  relate with Narain Karthikeyan and or Anil Ambani? Does the teenage kid selling potato chips, who is as mature in counting money as a cashier in a big retail chain, endorse  Rahul Gandhi as his icon?

And what about those youngsters in rural areas who travel long distance for study or work and use  decade-old computers at cyber cafe, instead of Blackberry, to mark their presence in the world of internet? What about  those teenage girls and boys who get married right at the age of 18 or less, who, don’t understand the lyrics of Kolaveri Di? (Most of us don’t understand the lyrics I guess).

Google tells me that only 8.4 per cent of the population in India uses Internet. So why is it that we are so biased towards this handful of young people in  portraying an imaginary consumerism-driven  construct of Youth?

May be like, Financial Inclusion drive, we need one Youth Inclusion drive in India!

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