“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt.East or West, North or South, youth everywhere, is in a state of restlessness and revolt.
It was so in the past and it shall be so in future as well, howsoever glamorous and glittering the social fabric might become, and howsoever secure and stable they might feel under the new dispensation. The young have never rested on their past laurels; nor have they felt contented with their present possibilities. The chords of their impulses, instincts and intuitions are always vocal and vibrant. No doubt, the problems of youth in different parts of the world, under different socio-political systems, differ in contours and contents. But one thing is almost certain that the modern youth is up against problems, the like of which did not exist in the past. ‘Youth in turmoil’, ‘Unrest among youth’, ‘Youth in revolt’, ‘Angry young man’—these epithets are not just literary coinage or journalistic flourishes, but a vociferous voice of protest of vast segments of populations that have seen and suffered the all-round erosion of values and the wreckage of their dreams.Having been influenced by the philosophies of ‘individualism’ and ‘existentialism’, the urban youth is in a state of defiance against the old order, whether that order comes from the elderly generation or the powers-that-be. If they find themselves in a state of alienation or estrangement in the present set-up, the fault lies as much with their socio-economic milieu as with the education system. Deprived of the opportunity to develop intellectually, many suffer from the problem of subjective isolation and self-estrangement. Among red-tapism and bureaucratic control over the strings of both private and public sectors, the cream of the country finds itself uncared and un-solicited for. It is under these trying and turbulent circumstances that the best brain of the country starts draining out.Those who succeed in finding jobs or some means of subsistence in India, do not find life a sweet-song or a care-free comfort. A host of problems keep staring them in their faces—inadequate houses, transport and sewerage; poor medical and recreational facilities; neurotic noise pollution, shortages, dust and smoke; crimes and ever-expanding slums and what not.live and colourful period of their lives is consumed andHlvltlcn most profane and abject in the ever-exploding towns. Bliot’s Prufrock measured his life by counting the sips ofl modern youth in India measures his life by standing inI ind pushing in buses, and finally by removing the grey hairHlk problems are social, economic and psycho-emotive, butm trnund who can share his sad and solitary existence.I With his lonely state of life, the urban youth have remained| profundity of spiritual heritage of the land, mysticism, thef Mtis and -Upanishadas and teachings from their respectiveN ftonvtheir formative years in schools. Fed on scientific datatfionomic, political and social theories, the victim finds him-*nd utterly helpless, when caught in the tempests of someOf jolted by some inexplicable tragedy.illltn emanating from differences in class and socialIkind the acute sense of these disparities lead to the accumulation” Ich have an -explosive potential. The ‘angry young man’i •> he joins the army of job-seekers, and is no more prepared, l of his aspirations to the prevailing realities. In most casesI • round peg in a square hole and vice-versa. ,I youth who comes to towns and cities in large numbers are I freed from the cramping controls of traditional institutions, ^nily, caste, etc. The freedom gained and the energy released |flOt find satisfying outlets in the urban areas, which present •Of adjustment and abound in unwholesome excitements and The inadequate food and residential arrangements, the : In educational institutions, the psychological tension and tted by the more competitive, individualistic and imper-.nt, coupled with the uncertainties of future employment, 1 socialisation. Despite their outnumbering the urban youth, l available to the rural lot are qualitatively different. This „,alities that have come to divide the educated and somewhat nI, and the unlettered and the underprivileged rural people in k The deteriorating economic conditions of the villages, and the rtw development-cum-job opportunities of cities is the primary .Uth migrating from the countryside to the slums and squalor of » Influx signifies a kind of ‘brain drain’ towards the cities and i M Urgent and immediate programme for rural resource development IHtf Igement of the rural youth in the development of these areas, so ftl ll halted and the problems that follow un-planned and haphazard ipMlon are put under check. J1 Independence was once an inspiring social ideal, and the struggle for independence brought to the foreground some of the finest qualities of the Indian youth. The nationalist struggle was undoubtedly associated with a moral ferment; it did throw up a leadership wliicti had strong bonds with the people, and which rose to great heights of moral courage and dedication. In the person of Gandhi, India did throw up a leader whobecame a symbol of Indian awakening. But Indian leadership in the period following independence has not been able to transform the challenge of national development into such an overpowering cause; the programme ofplanned development has not caught the imagination of the youth, nor has it released spiritual ferment and energy to any appreciable extent. The fundamental causes of this weakness are socio-political; they lie in the ambivalent attitude of the leadership, to the challenges of development and moral rejuvenation. The leadership’s failure to inspire the youth with their ideal thinking and action has made the Indian youth into either cynics or snobs, unable to cope with the day .to day problems and predicaments.
One of the big failures of the Indian models of development has been the inability to realise that we are dealing with a very different kind of society, comprising many linguistic and ethnic groups craving for recognition of their rights to preserve their ethnic identity and linguistic entity. Having been exploited and neglected for long, the young l>loodamong these groups took up the cause of their communities, and thus came in direct conflict and confrontation with the State authority.
In the West, the dilemma of the modern youth is born out of factors that are alien to the youth in the developing countries. If poverty, ignorance and unemployment are our curses, affluence and permissiveness are the bane of their homes, most of which are shattered, as well as broken. The cult of Hippism, Drug addiction, violence, aimless murders, et al proves beyond doubt that mere material prosperity is not the end of all problems. The largest number of psychologists and psychiatrists flourishing in USA points to the widespread enigma of neurosis-clam-mental sickness most prevalent among the youth there. In the countries of Eastern Europe, the problems of youth are that of transition from a closed society to the open.
All said and done, modern youth, particularly Indian youth, can again contribute towards a big push to India’s growth and progress. Thinking and dynamic elements among the youth will haves to organise themselves for serious self-education, before they can organise the participation of the yoifth in this vital, national task.