Monday, December 19, 2016

The Problems of Modern Youth

Unrest among youth has been a problem since time immemorial. 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 however 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 impulse, instincts and intuitions have been 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 voices 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 state of defiance against the old order, whether that order comes from the “elderly generation” or the “power 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 this trying and turbulent circumstance that the best brain of the country starts draining out. This country does not seem to provide for the youth what they wish for or what they are capable for. They are seen exploited here and not given their due inspire of their putting in the best efforts. This treatment starts with the educational institutions, where the teachers and the curriculum both seem to him quite contrary to his tastes and aptitudes and his enthusiasm seems to get blunted in the start of his career and he feels alienated from the world around him. Once out of college he feels the whole world not ready to accept him and he starts to become rebellions in character. His parents start complaining about his behavior and during this crucial stage he is prone to some bad habits, like smoking, drugs etc. Many youth at this juncture seek market for their abilities and capacities but they find, their capacities least respected in the market. Those who succeed in finding jobs or some means of subsistence in this country 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. The most creative and colorful period of their lives is consumed and swallowed by activities most profane and abject in the ever exploding towns and cities. The bosses for whom they work are their targets completed, which is always out of their roach. They want to get rid of this servitude and start something of their own to make use of their talents independently but the constraints of finances and other problems bar the way and to keep the ball rolling, and wishing for a divine opportunity to cross his way, they continue with their present unfriendly job merely to make their tow ends meet.

If T.S. Eliot’s prufrock measured his life by counting the sips of coffee cups, the modern youth in India measures his life by standing in queues, jostling and pushing in buses and finally by removing the grey hair from his head. His problems are social, economic and psycho-emotive but there is none around who can share his sad and solitary existence. Compounded with his lonely state of life, the urban youth have remained immune to the profundity of spiritual heritage of the land, mysticism, the philosophy of Vedas and their formative years in schools, colleges and universities. Fed on scientific data and attuned to economic, political and social theories, the Vitim finds himself rudderless and utterly hapless when caught in the tempests of some personal crisis or jolted by some inexplicable tragedy. Even the telecast of two great epics on the television has failed to change his outlook because the symbolic and spiritual import of these epics have no penetrated through the thick layers of ‘rationalism’, ‘materialism,’ ’nihilism’, etc. Which like crumbs; he picks up from here and there and then flourishes them as props of his pseudo-scholarship.
Difference in class and social background contribute to the disparities among youth. It leads to the accumulation of tensions, which have an explosive potential. Youths belonging to the lower class of society, after attaining good academic and technical efficiency became angrier as the join the army of job-seekers and no more prepared to adapt the level  of their aspirations are not fulfilled. They want to earn the fruits of their toil they have put in to get their degrees through educational and technical institutions. They do not find people with whom they want to work, as friendly as they expect, so they turn rebellions to their society and their anger finds outlet through a behaviors which turn to be anti-social, at times.

The rural youth who comes to towns and cities in large numbers to seek employment after completing their courses of study seem themselves freed from the cramping controls of traditional institutions of rural life. The freedom gained and the energy released thereby does not find satisfying outlet, in the urban areas where they have to of adjustment in cities, in the case of language, manners, speech in the first instance and subsequently inadequate foods and residential arrangements. They feel suffocated in the city crowds and pollution and are unable to accommodate with the routines and life-style of the town. They cannot withstand the glamour of the urban areas and face psychological tension and insecurity generated by the more competitive, individualistic and impersonal environment which result in their inhibited socialisation. It has a direct impact on their prospects of employment and the become a soft target for the greedy employers of the city who take an advantage of their simplicity and exploit them for their personal gains. Many of them fall into the traps of some anti-social elements, who take them very fat into their network of evil-doing where from they do not find any route of escape and their life and career is spoiled. Despite their outnumbering the urban youth, opportunities available to the rural lot are qualitatively different. Here the inequalities that divide the educated and somewhat affluent urban and the unlettered and the underprivileged rural people, come in the way and the realities are denied opportunities as compared the urbanities. The condition of the rural areas has been deteriorating for lack of development there, and the development of real India which is in villages, does not seem to be on the agenda of development agencies, as such, the number of job-seekers, both educated and uneducated, goes on increasing day by day and their march towards cities and towns also increases day by day. Therefore, the deteriorating economic conditions of the villages and the more extensive development-cum-job opportunities of cities is the primary cause of youth migrating from the countryside to the slums and squalor of cities.

This influx of rural people to the urban areas signifies kind of “brain drain” towards the cities and calls for an urgent and immediate program for rural resource development of these areas so that the rot is halted and the problems that follow un-planned and haphazard urbanisation are put under check.
Independence was once an inspiring social ideal and the struggle for independence brought to the free ground 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 which had strong bonds with the people and which rose to the great heights of moral courage and dedication. In the person of Gandhi, India did throw up a leader who became 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 program of planned 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’ failure to inspire the youth with their ideal thinking and action has made the Indian youth 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 and the State has been an inability to realize 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 blood among these groups took up the cause of their communities and thus came in direct conflict and confrontation with the state authority. In recent times, many movements led by the youth, have been going on in different parts of the country and the only problem that the youth have highlighted is their assertion and reiteration that their separate identity and cultural entity be respected and restored back to its pristine glory and grandeur. The failure in doing this, alongside the deliberate provocations coming from interested quarters has resulted in the growth of both communal conflicts and sub-national assertions and movements that are greatly straining the authority and legitimacy of the Indian State.
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 property, 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 etc. proves beyond doubt that mere material prosperity is not the end of all problems. The largest number of psychologists and psychiatrists flourishing in America point to the widespread enigma of neurosis-cum-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 One”.
All said and done, modern youth, particularly Indian youth, can again contribute towards a big push to Indians growth and progress. Thinking and dynamic elements among the youth will have to organise themselves for serious self-education before they can organise the participation of the youth in this vital, national task.


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