I stay in a dinghy, old appartment in Pune and it is not as though I am here by choice. I have enough money to rent out a better, cleaner, newer appartment. Yet even though the Supreme Court has ruled that there will be no discrimination against bachelors, the rule has not found its way to the aam admi (common man). Whenever I had gone to a better 'housing society' I am greeted with the sometimes unwritten 'rulebook' which wags its knarled crooked finger disapprovingly in my face "no appartments for bachelors". Even spinsters are not spared, making us wonder what it was that these 'housing society' people feared. Maybe the men didn't trust their wives and the women their husbands. All in all I ended up in this old, forsaken appartment from where the owner in his sixties moved into a better place a few yards away in a better 'housing society' and here I am sitting and writing.
Every year the prime minister or the president of this country or some other chap who has reached some position in his life, at the Red Fort or in the insides of some crowded auditorium infront of hundreds of young faces reiterates the golden words "the youth of this country is its future". I guess the words stop their way when it has reverberated in some young chap's hypercharged brain or the walls of the auditorium and perhaps when the 'IAS' written speech finds its way into some convenient dustbin in a convenient manner. True the words inspire a few young men and women to tackle the odds and rise high enough to whence they would deliver the same speech in front of another set of drooling faces. This is in no way to belittle the office of the PM or the President, let me not find the police when I return tomorrow to my ramshackle place. What I ponder however is what this country is doing when it is not listening to the aforementioned speech. " Oh these teenagers they are so unruly"..."the young people they play such loud music..." .."no regard for basic manners..." we the youth of this country have so many epaulets showered on us. Not one wherein someone is thankful or better still nurturing or looking upto the youngsters of this country and handing them the reins of responsibility. Is it me or is there the feeling that I live in a place which doesn't value its youth.There exist societies where the youth are valued, respected and forever reminded that the reins of responsibility rest with them. Here they don't believe that you are capable of choosing your own life-partner so I'm guessing the reins of responsibility are still a far way off. It is sad that I get to hear about the youth of the nation and its 'power' only from ads of a soft-drink maker and not from the front pages of a national daily. What instead rules the front pages is the public drama of some political kingpin or the gory images of a riot somewhere; anything for a little extra readership. We drool in the cesspool of political drama and highly disturbing images of mangled bodies, blood and gore and of wailing relatives. Reports of riots and personal loss are important, but what is disturbing is the image of a nation which greedily laps up this daily dose of gore every morning. We are more than eager to find new role models and we wallowed in pride when we had a president of the stature of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, but I wonder how many of this nation or is its press remember his observations when he compared the first page of an Israeli daily to an Indian one. The gist was that the Israeli one carried the news of some ordinary guy who had worked to create an invention on its front page while there was a bomb blast in the country which killed many, while the Indian one ran pages including the first one on a similar blast. The press of this country has a responsibility to its citizens but it is questionable if it is doing its best to work it out rather than to feed upon the negative psychology of the general populace.
We don't care for the least that the best of our minds leave the country in search of better pastures, except for some screaming headlines when there is nothing better to write of. It is been quite a while that we have been hiding behind the excuse that we are a 'developing' country and cannot provide them minds with the infrastructure that they are looking for. When everywhere we want to be counted among the cream of the 'developing' nations why don't we care that the people responsible for making this change leave the country at the first chance? We say the youth are unruly and that they have no manners. The youth of this nation did not drop down with the South-West monsoon and were very much a part of our households till they became the 'youth'. So we have only ourselves to blame if we have raised up a society which has no manners. I am not saying that the youth of this nation is innocent of all crimes like the pure white snow. It can and should think for itself. But fostering a society where the youth are at best onlookers is pathetic. If there are 'gropers', 'party-freaks', 'druggies', 'hippies' in the society it is high time we remember that education starts at home. If you dress up your daughters in micro-minis don't expect them to wear anything more when they are grown-up either. If you shower your children with unwanted gifts and aid him/her in becoming a show-off in school remember he/she will want exponentially more when they are growing up and it just might be that they no longer get enough money to satisfy their 'needs'. In all probability you didn't care or listen to them when they were growing up and didn't know that they were not 'just attending' school and college like you supposed they would be but also spending the cash on smoke and drugs and anything else they could lay their hands on. So they are into drugs and all sorts of shit and deal with the underbelly of this society (who incidentally are there because people like you foster them) and notwithstanding all the crap they are in may come to the situation where they are short on cash to pay off the dealer. Now you were negligent when you brought them up, such dregs of weak moral fibre, so it is hardly surprising when they decide to conk off one of you so that they could get their hands on some easy cash. And you are up in arms against the youth? You made them weak, incapable of taking any major decision, morally feeble, socially inactive (you can be sure I'm not talking of nightlife here). You taught them that things can be done in an incorrect manner as long as nothing fails. Boys are termed as miscreants and girls 'incapable' of doing anything on their own so it is hardly surprising when a large number of them become so.
There is a huge chunk of untapped young human resource in this country as stated by many experts. But for it to be worth tapping into the attitude of this nation towards its youth must change and so must its attitude of 'kuch bhi chalega' (anything will do as long as it works). Maybe someday the youth of this country will stand up and take its place, will be held accountable and will be worthy of shouldering responsibility.