760 million young and restless

A pertinent article on the state of our Youth appeared in a magazine this week. The article entitled Youth Bulge, Youth Bilge draws an almost apocalyptic image of the 706 million of youth we love quoting to one and all as our greatest force. But as the author says in the article: unless we provide this youth bulge with education, employment, health, safety and liberty, we will soon have 706 million extremely pissed-off, marginalised, restless young people on our hands. That's the largest any nation has ever had to handle in human history. The article makes an interesting read particularly the take on Delhi Police. I leave you to discover it!

I am more worried about the morrows of these 706 million who may just become extremely pissed-off, marginalised, restless young people. And extremely pissed off people may do extremely violent things. We all saw what happened that fateful December night. The recent grudge we have against these extremely pissed off people is the motorcycle rodeos we are subjected to time and again. My home is located next to a Secondary Government School and a well known private school and let me tell you young lads from both these schools perform bike stunts. Even this morning while taking mu husband to the doctor, we were overtaken by five screaming young guys on a motorbike in their school uniform.

Let us just take a little time and see what our society has on offer for these kids. Let us start with those born on the wrong side of the fence as I know them well having been working with them for over a decade now. First of all they are regular kids who have the same dreams as any other child. But they are treated differently right from the word go. First of all in India's capital city boys go to school in the afternoon. This city has not even been able to provide adequate number of schools for their children, as all children should go to school in the morning and play or pursue sports or creative activities in the afternoon. And school for many of them is an overcrowded classroom, with scant teaching, lack of basic facilities. At the end of it all they get a school leaving certificate with low marks that does not open many doors to them. I still cannot understand why 33% is the pass percentage for our exams when access to a good and affordable university is 99%! This is all too suspect.

The boys born on the wrong side of the fence spend their morning loitering around. The city lads have dreams that are based on what they see around them and on TV which is an asset every home, however poor has. So these kids dream big. One of the most desired object is a motorbike and with the advent of credit, the dream becomes closer. There is no one to temper their dreams and wants with wisdom and values. No teachers to emulate; no parents to counsel. The slum kids live surrounded by violence: corporal punishment in schools and alcohol induced violence at home. Needless to say they too will repeat what they see when they grow up and see that their dreams can never become reality and find themselves condemned to a second class life. Their education is a non starter and thus their employment options bleak. The state has failed them in every which way possible.

Their counterpart on the other side of the fence may look to be in a better place but there too the absence of values, the lack of good parenting and the over abundance of money is turning our so called educated youth into an irresponsible, arrogant and uncaring lot. Their options are so prolific that they know they will succeed in some way or the other. Money power makes a heady cocktail for children who have not been inculcated with the right values and a sense of responsibility. If it is stunts on motorbikes for one lot, the others know that they can drive their father's expensive machines and get away with murder quite literally.

These 760 million have no role models. How long can a Mahatma Gandhi or an Ambedkar be the ones doled out as role models for a XXIst century kid! The role models these youngsters  chose are Bollywood or sports stars. What they see is corruption as a way of life and crime rarely punished.

There is a bomb ticking. It needs to be defused before it blows in our faces.