In the past, Indians have been known to bemoan the lack of technological and economic progress of the nation on its large population that according to many is the Albatross dragging the nation down. Two decades of economic liberalization has changed the Indian scenario to a considerable extent, with greater foreign investment and inroads made by big multi-national and trans-national corporations, the economy is flourishing. Even the recent economic recession that had hit global markets hard could not stop the progress of Indian economy.
Economists opine that India is all set to take the world by storm simply due to the demographic advantage it enjoys being one of the youngest nations in the world. With a third of her population being below the age of 15, India will hold on to the title of youngest nation for quite come time in the future. In 2020 the average Indian will be only 29 years as compared to 48 in Japan, 37 in United States and China and 45 in Western Europe. The challenge before India is to translate this demographic advantage of possessing a young and dynamic workforce into actual economic and socio-cultural progress.
So what is the youth of India thinking? How do they visualize the nation and its future – that is the million dollar question. Indian youth have always been the driving force behind progressive change and have never been hesitant in rebelling against injustice, oppression and political apathy.
For the earlier generation born and brought up under the shadow of war, famine, protectionist economy when one party, Congress dominated the political scene and was voted into power over and over again. It was this generation that grew up socialist and joined into a struggle to change the political scenario in India, be it through Communist movement or Naxalite movement in Bengal or through supporting the Janata Dal during emergency years. Today, the younger generations are politically indifferent and often consider the indecent squabbling going on in the Indian parliament quite shameful.
The modern youth in India, is more materialistic, ambitious and technologically savvy with a drive to prove themselves. With the penetration of mobile technology and cable television, thanks to a liberal and open economy, globalization has touched both the urban and rural youth population. Indian youngsters today are much more conscious of the opportunities in front of them; they are global citizens whose ambition includes becoming rich and famous, goals they wish to achieve through education and enterprise. While the urban upwardly mobile youth population has little experience with caste distinctions, the rural youth population along with Dalit and Muslim youth are more conscious of the discriminations still prevalent in society and are no longer willing to accept them lying down.
The modern generation is more conscious about their rights and in voicing their demands, but instead of political agitation they have chosen the path of education and search of lucrative jobs as their means to change their present situation. Economic self reliance is the way to achieve a better quality of life and education is the way to reach that goal, Indian youth today is firmly set in this path.