Sunday, September 08, 2013

Indian Youth

I just came back from a birthday party of a friend's son. The little son has turned one today and his proud parents had thrown a party to celebrate that. Obviously as you can see such things don't particularly excite me. What was exciting was to meet a big gathering of Indians in the party and find out what was up in their lives. Most of it was about raising kids in London and long work hours causing hindrance in achieving work life balance. However it all sounded under control and more towards being the usual moaning Indian mentality... I have only seldom come across truly optimistic Indian crowd and today's was no different.

Well this blog post is not about this. What stood out for me was the conversation I had with my friend's brother, who has, a couple of days back, come from India. He used to live in Gurgaon (satellite town of Delhi) with his wife, owned a house (on mortgage) and both husband wife were working. On the outset, it would sound like a perfect set up. Young couple, so still have some time to plan for kids. For me they would classify as an average middle class nuclear family trying to live in big metro cities and making a living on their own. I saw no apparent problems with that and immediately associated him with the new India. However, as we started talking more, he revealed that he has just sold his house, his wife has stayed back in Gurgaon and is living in a paying guest with a female friend and he himself has moved to Ireland to complete a Masters course. A perfectly settled life now suddenly started sounding too unsettled. This major step was not taken in any hurry. The couple had long thought about it and they both felt this to be the right move. Going out of the country, no matter where just seemed the right thing to do. He is frustrated that even with two salaries and yet no dependents, they are not saving enough. The tax structure is flat and the infrastructure is not at all good to justify the high taxes they pay. So here I had, a bright hard - working honest couple who would regularly pay their taxes eager to leave the country asap and throw their lives into uncertainty.

The plan is that the husband will study in Ireland, the wife will join in due course and start looking for a job there and eventually they will settle there bidding adieu to India forever. Obviously I am nobody to comment on whether this is right or wrong being myself a person who left the country for a year but has stayed out for longer than five years now. But I at least do definitely want to go back. I have not, in my heart and soul, yet been able to bid adieu to India. I want to go back at the next available opportunity, just don't know when that would be. This story of a first hand experience of an Indian youth troubled me. I could see India as a push factor - where people like him are being pushed out of the country, where is the pull factor - so that people like me can return to the country?

Clearly the current government has failed. Ten years is a long time to shape a country and India has completely lost shape in this time. Shall we not be definitely looking for a change??? I don't know who is the best alternative, all I definitely know is that the track record shows that no further chances be allowed to the incumbent. Else we will be caught in his infinite loop of pessimism, anxiety and social unrest which will be very difficult to come out of.

An ordinary story like this has caused a lot of pain in my heart. India is under global watch and the next elections are crucial for the country. I wish I was in India to contribute to the turning point of the country, but can I request all my friends and well wishers to go out and vote in the next general elections and contribute towards the change. I believe in change and I desperately want to see a change. India has all the ingredients to become the next big thing, therefore let's just create the right dynamics to achieve that goal!

4 comments:

Renu said...

India will change, but everybody has to take part..why did that young man go out?..for material comfort only na?

All of us say all the right and ideal things but do whatever is comfortable and convenient.

If all the young generation becomes strict ..like follow law and order, rules everywhere and ethical behaviour in day to day life, we will change...

Satinder Rana said...

I must say, being the part of the young generation of India, I can totally relate to this post. No doubt that Indian government has not been able to work properly and able to retain the youth of India to work in our own country and help in its development. But I think this is not the only reason.
Our generation does not want to contribute in the development. They are lured into already developed countries and find the easy way out to go and settle there. I guess we need more people to have that feeling of coming back to India and work for its developement, like you.

Niedhie said...

@Renu: Don't be so bitter on that young man - he left because he found no platform / means to be able to follow his dreams being in India. What is wrong in wanting some level of comfort for the hard work one does? Today I came to know from a very close friend of mine that she is also leaving India. She is one who is very rugged, very down to earth. She lives a very simple life. She is moving out as she tells me that she works very hard, but is not able to get a good lifestyle in India. India is not appealing to the young generation as it is not able to provide what the youth wants. If one is working hard, they deserve a good quality lifesytle which has become very expensive in India, whilst the salaries have not increased proportionately.

I was a lecturer in India before I left the country, and with the salary that I was earning I was not even able to buy mangoes for 100 street children in the charity home where I was teaching. That's when I decided that I need money in order to help in the scale I want to help. Now running a charity in the UK, I raise more money here and send to India in a month than I would have been able to do in a year being in India.

People don't leave the country for material comfort - they leave the country out of frustration. Young generation is happy to follow the rules, but the older generation is so used to doing things the old way that changing them is next to impossible. Habits don't change easily.

The only solution to the problem is when the government starts being less corrupt and all the money in the country is actually spent on improving country's infrastructure and for the real welfare of the people.

Niedhie said...

@Satinder: The problem is that the youth who is trying to make it all by themselves in life (does not have a strong ancestral family earnings) are struggling. The salaries they are getting are not high enough, and the expenses in India in big cities are not low anymore. This coupled with skyhigh property prices is not helping at all.

I would not say that young generation does not want to contribute to the development, it is just that they have no time to think of it as they are so messed up with trying to keep up a certain level of lifestyle.

We appoint politicians and give them the job to think of infrastructure, welfare etc because we know that we will not have the time to do so ourselves. It has become quite easy for us now to blame the young generation and say that they are not working towards development, as we have given up and accepted that politicians just would not do what they are supposed to do. We have accepted them to be corrupt and lost all hopes from them. Why does not the older generation apply pressure on their older generation peers in politics? Why do they encourage corruption? I don't think it is young versus old generation issue, it is just that the country is not led by right leaders.

And all of us have to ensure that we change this - let's take out a day and go and vote in the next general elections. 2014 is critical and we have to make the right decision.