“You’re never too old to become younger” – Mae West
Generation after generation the “youth” has been seen as a group that is synonymous with change and revolution that must be perhaps resisted. An exasperated sigh to express the total detachment from values and traditions of “this generation”, as we are called, is not uncommon. Yet, times have changed and so has the connotation with this word. Today major political parties are giving as much spotlight as they can to their representative youth icons. The awakened sensibilities of this generation are expected to bring about a change, a change long awaited in this corrupt and stagnating system of our nation. “Youth” today does not symbolize breaking away from the ties of tradition, it rather stands for breaking down the barriers of several traditions, it symbolizes reaching out, reaching beyond. “Youth” stands for a departure from prejudices of religion, caste and creed; it stands for knowledge, tolerance and perhaps most importantly freedom. Yet all said and done is “youth” only about a certain generation? Only about an age bracket? No, it is not so today. It has moved beyond this to become an attitude … A state of mind.
The “youth” of today does not condemn everything that is more than a decade old and neither does it dismiss the words of someone just because they are old. Sheila Dixit enjoys huge popularity among the youth of Delhi despite her age; it is because of her charisma and her youthful attitude; of course add to this her commendable track record. The fact that ‘being “young” is in the mind’ is the mantra currently. While some of the old brigade possesses an admirable youthful attitude towards life, there are some of us who are young in age and yet refuse to grow up! It is the attitude that is important, which surprisingly much of the “young India” forgets. In a recent television reality show, a girl very boldly said “gays are mentally retarded” and another young aspiring politician made a complete fool of himself in another reality show. Do they successfully represent the educated aware “youth” of the nation? Hardly so. On the other hand, those people who equate the “youth” only with branded clothes, gadgets, coloured hair, nightclubs and inexperience, need to think twice. In Kolkata during the Nandigram violence a group of artists had protested against violence which included senior citizens and noted film-makers like Mrinal Sen and Aparna Sen; while there were youth icons like Parambrata , a favorite TV and movie artist and Rupam , a band member. But the fact is that all of them were united in the cause, so was the case in so many other issues… the people who lit candles for Rizwanur in front of St.Xaviers, the school children who protested against Aarushi’s defamation, the students who protested against reservations… The youth today are not detached machines in a flow of modernization. They retain their humanity, their consciousness and I repeat when I say youth, I mean an attitude.
Today the world is no longer divided into the “young” and the “old” but rather progressive and regressive individuals. The progressive ones would not shy away from voting, and will rise up against the blame game that our politicians play in the parliament houses. Raking up the past seems a norm: would enlisting which law was made under which government and how many terrorists were freed under which government be of any help in the current situation? We believe in the present and we want to move with a surer step towards the future.
[Image source: http://www.davenportdiocese.org/images/CelebrateYouth.gif]