Facebook and Twitter may have created the Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt. But in India, Facebook and Twitter are dominated by young people openly pouring scorn on 'pseudo-secular liberals', minorities and the so-called 'anti-nationals'. Young Indians proudly call themselves 'nationalist' without quite spelling out what their 'nationalism' means. While economic reforms have created an optimistic belief in private enterprise, hardline attitudes to minorities and preference for a hard State spell doom for liberal democracy.
So why are India's urban youth conservative and politically right-wing? The perceived loss of culture due to globalisation could be a reason why Indian "culture" is aggressively asserted even as 'global' lifestyles sweep through the metros. Pop traditionalism, albeit in a modern garb, has returned with a bang. Trendy clothes, skinny figures and latest gadgets coexist with a passionate attachment to religious rituals. If rituals and religious rites were once the activities of grandmothers, they are now being adopted by the youth as aggressive demonstrations of identity. No wonder marriage remains central to the youth's dreams and giving birth to sons is the preferred option even in the upmarket social strata.
There's a great deal to be proud of in the youth survey too. In spite of their own attachment to family, India's youth has chosen the self-made Sachin Tendulkar and APJ Abdul Kalam over scions born into privileged 'royal' families. But the survey contains portents of the future. India in the next two generations will be powered by a majority of success-oriented, deeply conservative citizens whose ambitions are narrowly focused on money and status. Poets, bohemians, rebels, intellectuals, dissenters, freethinkers, adventurers or even risk-taking entrepreneurs may become a vanishing breed.
Sagarika Ghose in Hindustan Times. More Here.