Lost Children of the Millennium

In the year 2001, the percentage of population under the age of 21 in India was found to be 47.9% (Census of India, 2001). As far as total size of Indian population is concerned, this is a huge number. It also needs to be noticed that this census had come a little over a decade after the Indian economy had opened up to the world market. Globalization brought with itself a resurgence of hope. Money started flowing in. With such a huge number of young population, rapid growth seemed feasible. Terms such as “90s generation” and “The millennium children” were thrust upon the oblivious kids born during that period. Hopes were high, and it was not impractical. After all, a young population means more energy, more enthusiasm, more creativity, and more innovation. Sixteen years later, however, all those high hopes seem to have been lost in obscurity. The “generation next” has, sadly, become the most misguided one.

 

Rupak De Chowdhuri | Reuters || cnbc.com

Back in 2000s, landline phone used to be a prized possession for the few families who were fortunate enough to buy it. Slowly, influx of technology in our life started taking dominance and in about fifteen years it changed the whole society, directly or indirectly. The rise in telecommunication has been unprecedented. As per the records, “the smartphone user base in India crossed 300 million in 2016” (Gadgets 360, 2017). Simultaneously, there has been an overall expansion in the number of people having access to internet as well. Statistics suggests that “the number of mobile internet users in India reached 371 million by June 2016, and is on track to cross 500 million users by 2017.” (Neha Alawadhi, 2016). The number is indeed huge. With such an easy access to smartphones and internet, people have the ability to reach out to the world with the tip of their fingers. As is the case with any technology, smartphones also brought with itself a plethora of problems.
Advancements in internet led to a rise in the number of social-networking sites. What was supposed to be a platform for reaching out to our friends and families took a whole different turn when people, primarily the young population, started getting addicted to it. Development and modifications in mobile sector brought new varieties of apps to keep people engaged. Enhancements were done in cameras, particularly the front camera, leading to the foundation of selfie. Young people suddenly found too much power in their hand. They wanted to let the world know about their day-to-day life. They started craving for more attention. Ironically, the social networking sites which were made to reach out to people, ultimately, made them more distant to the actual physical social ties. Almost every day people can be seen coming to restaurants or coffee houses with the ulterior motive of hanging out with their loved ones, but end up spending time looking at their mobiles screens. The fundamental beauty of communication has somewhere been broken. Situation has reached to a point where the elderly have started struggling to learn these new gadgets, so as to keep up with the fast paced world and find a mode of communication with their children. Even toddlers can be seen fidgeting with their parent’s mobiles; unlocking the phone and playing games. It is disheartening to see that the feel of falling and hurting oneself is fading out among the kids. Playing games in a virtual world would never make one realize the beauty of breathlessness after running around with mortal friends.
Technology has given a voice to almost everyone. Gone are the days when only a selected panel of journalists used to pen their opinion in newspapers and magazines. Nowadays, even people with no knowledge of a particular topic give their piece of mind confidently. For instance, the demonetization step taken by the government of India led some people, having no prior knowledge of economics or finance, to comment: “The Prime-Minister has done a commendable job.” or “The Prime-Minister has taken a faulty step”. The big question here is: Do the people in support or against have any concrete reason or theory to support their claim? Opinions are supposed to be backed by a proper logic, and not pure sentiments. This can be said for almost every single issue happening in our country. Whether it is religious, regionalism, crime, Kashmir, or art and culture, people (mostly youngsters) find a way to outrage without properly researching about it. This vast conundrum of negligence among the masses will most certainly leave the country in utter chaos. Opinionated for the sake of it is never a healthy sign.
The present era can be termed as the era of excess. The movies, the superhero franchises, and the reality T.V shows are just a few examples. Trending has become such a craze among the current generation that they go to the extent of making idiotic videos of themselves. People share these clips among themselves so as to mock the person in the video. However, they are quite naïve to the fact that the person who has made the video is the true winner here. The joke is on the people. Another misplaced sense of proving how one is different from the rest is by voicing against a popular opinion. Take any movie forums, for example, there would always be a section of people who feel elated to comment any widely loved movie as over-rated. Undoubtedly, different opinions should be encouraged but making hollow comments to show superiority is highly demeaning to the craft. Art should be respected and debated, but not blindly bashed.
A popular topic prevailing among the youth is passion. Rags to riches stories of some pioneers in Silicon Valley, movie industries, art and culture, sports, and politics have made a lot of them to fall blindly into the rabbit hole of dreams. Passion and ambition is not wrong. After all these are the traits which give a person reason to fight and survive in this world. At the same time, following something one is not talented enough for can be disastrous. The notion that 9-5 jobs are monotonous and sad is highly misplaced. There are many people who are content, secured and live a happy life doing that job. Corporate job never means that a stopper would be put on the creativity side of people. There are abundant things to learn there as well if one really puts oneself to testing waters.
There is no denying the fact that the youth of today are crippled with innumerable issues. Most of them are forced to choose a particular career. They unknowingly get pushed into the rat race. The level of dependency on parents or someone elder is so high that their legs start shaking when the time comes to take the big, monumental step on their own. They find themselves in the darkness. Indecisiveness has crept in the young society. Technology has certainly made our work easier. Blaming technological advancements alone for the current scenario would be unfair. However, one cannot deny its repercussions. Too much reliance on technology has made people inefficient to put in an extra amount of labour. Almost everyone in the 21-30 age bracket are dissatisfied with their life. All the negative comments are direct result of this mindset. There is jealousy and this has taken the shape of hatred. A brigade is formed which are more interested in selfies than enjoying the true beauty of the world. Knowledge is acquired through internet feeds rather than books and newspaper. Mediocrity is prevalent. The entire situation is worrisome, and sadly, everyone, including you and me, are responsible for it. The young population has the potential. It needs to be tapped before it gets exhausted. And this can only be done when dissatisfaction, jealousy, hatred and mediocrity are replaced with resilience, admiration, deliberation and excellence.

 

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digit.in

Sources:
Census of India. (2001). Population in different age groups and their proportions to total population. Retrieved from http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_And_You/age_structure_and_marital_status.aspx

 
Gadgets 360°. (2017, January). India’s smartphone user base tops 300 million in Q4 2016. Retrieved from http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/indias-smartphone-user-base-tops-300-million-in-q4-2016-counterpoint-1652209

 
Economic Times. (2016, November). India to have over 500 million mobile internet users by 2017. Retrieved from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/india-to-have-over-500-million-mobile-internet-users-by-2017/articleshow/55543589.cms
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