Turn the Page

Young adults are no longer just the future of a country; they are the present as well. Dr. A P J Kalam is known to be an email away from the students of India because he believes in them and soon we will see laws being influenced by public polls on a very large scale with younger folks representing the majority.

A few days ago a report was filed against the creators of a group on facebook called ‘I hate Gandhi’. My first reaction was, “nothing better to do, eh?” and just for grins and giggles I searched on Facebook for other hate groups – I hate Jawahar Lal Nehru, I hate Pope Benedict, I hate Mother Teresa, I hate Dalai Lama, I hate Jesus, I hate God, I hate everybody…I hate myself. Anyway, some of us may be members of such groups too and I respect such groups, whether or not I agree with them.  Apart from concerns regarding the content of the group’s posts possibly instigating communal riots and national tension, did it raise questions on the ability of young adults to think rationally and build sound opinions? Did I see disparaging shakes of the heads of the senior Indians, thinking “Aaj ke nau-jawan samajhtey nahi”? Any discussion that I will have beyond this point would be in context to my previous question.

This incident reminds me of this crucial ‘personal’ issue that India is dealing with – of bringing the generation of the ‘midnight’s children’ and the generation of virtual avatars on the same page. I appreciate the senior generation’s efforts to be part of our lives by learning how to ‘Skype’, SMS script and accepting our relationship statuses despite coming from a very orthodox and conservative background. The outburst of technology and information has revolutionized communication, and outspokenness has received a huge ego-boost.

Two decades ago there would be congregations marching for a cause with one leader speaking for the mass, whereas today everybody has a say and is heard. This turns a movement into an emulsion of refined statements and a lot of curses hauled here and there. Our methods of expressing ourselves are undergoing a radical change, but please do not receive the change with scepticism. The twenty-five year old that grew up watching Rang De Basanti and Yuva is only beginning to grasp the potential it possesses to stir a ripple strong enough to reach out to every part of the ocean; time is what he needs to learn how to channelize this potential into something productive.

On the other hand, I have been mulling over, even saying it out loud and feeling it resonate in my ears, the words ‘freedom of speech’ and what they mean to young adults like me who have the power to share their thoughts simply by the click of a button. We are funny – we are high on everything! It is necessary that we slow down a bit, think about the consequences of what we plan to post for the world to see and also try to keep the bearers of our freedom, our parents and older generations in confidence. Enjoy the privilege of controlling the course of national events, savour shots of freedom, but maybe with just a dash of adrenaline. The magnitude of responsibility that rests upon us as the youth of India is unfathomable, but I hope we recognize the direct correlation between what we read, understand, believe, say and act to where India, and later the world, is heading to.

Divita Mathur

A nerd-looking young lady who is pursuing doctorate studies at Iowa State University. She is highly intrigued by the total perspective vortex conceived by Douglas Adams and often finds her mind tossing in and out of it! This exercise in mental cogitation results in her churning out epiphanies, thoughts, and eventually words that are at times random, but will hopefully be significant in the times to come.

Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/hectoralejandro/4358961421/]