This and that

A couple of links is all I am sharing today. I think we’ve all had an overdose of the Mad House.

Here’s the first  – Stay safe online –

Here’s the second for dilliwalas ex as well as present. Delhi completed a 100 years this year. Love it or hate it, it is the capital of our country. It is beautiful, it is green, it is ever welcoming and you don’t need to speak a particular language to avoid being beaten up! I know there are rapes and murders but I am yet to come across a safe capital anywhere in the world. I don’t mean to dismiss them. But as Jammie said sometime ago – the fact that we survive this and still create in the midst of the struggle for survival, is commendable. Be it Diwali, Onam, Durga Puja, Christmas or Eid, there are public celebrations, there is joy and there is fanfare. I love this city and it is my home and I can’t be happier as it celebrates its centenary year. A lot of magazines are covering it. If you lived here, you’d want to know. If you have never visited and want to know more, this is your chance. Read on –

And a tribute to my city again.

And finally, a piece by Sagarika Ghose that I quite enjoyed. Shall copy paste for your reading pleasure.

Old at heart

Rightwing conservative youth on a collision course with liberal democracy.

Is it fun to be young? Not really. The Hindustan Times CNN-IBN Youth poll surveying urban 18-25 year olds shows that for 50 per cent, the source of their happiness is parents, more want to join government service more than any other profession, 60 per cent have never had a girlfriend or boyfriend and romance is very far down their list of priorities. For most a good salary rather than new challenges are most important when choosing a career.
‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven,” wrote William Wordsworth about the heady times of the French revolution. But the 18-25 generation in 21st century India, don’t want revolutions. Far from it. In fact they are highly risk averse, more politically rightwing than before, extremely socially conservative and disinclined to opt for rebellion. With such a shockingly conventional generation, where one might ask are the free thinkers, the adventurers, the Mark Zuckerbergs and the Bill Gates going to come from?
The young’s relationship with their parents is very conventional. Priyanka Todi and Nirupama Pathak may have chosen life partners in defiance of parents, Manoj and Babli may have defied the Kaithal khap panchayat, but the overwhelming majority of young want to marry and live according to their parents wishes. While this may be good news for those worried about the breakdown of the Indian family, in some ways it also shows that inspite of films like `Udaan’ or `Three Idiots’ which interrogate parental diktat on children destinies, questioning or challenging parents is simply not part of the mentality of today’s young. This is borne out in the unquestioning way that sons and daughters today meekly follow in the footsteps of their actor or politician parents or even in the fact that young men are prepared to murder their sisters if they step out of the family line. In return for this devotion, parents provide absolute protection. Even educated mothers dote on their children to such an extent that a la Manu Sharma, they will even bend the law to protect offspring who have committed murder.
How healthy is this fierce attachment of parent child, of total protection in return for total devotion? Rich parents in metros are rearing a generation of cossetted spoilt brats. Spoilt brats who will touch the feet of their parents in ostentatious mock respect but recklessly flout the law on the street in bout of drunk driving, confident that Dad and Mom will get them off any trouble with the law. The Indian family, India’s most prized institution, was once a classroom of good behaviour both inside and outside the home. Today the great Indian family can sometimes become a cynical trap of wealth and power where children and parents are united by a common rather feudal pursuit of status and family success, unmindful of social responsibility, public good or a consciousness of being part of a wider social world. Obedience and respect towards parents is wonderful. Yet it is individuals who tackle the world independently and on their own terms, who intelligently question their parents choices, who choose to venture into the world in a spirit of discovery, who are likely to become leaders, risk takers and original thinkers. Being cocooned in the family womb and making nightly forays only in Dad’s Mercedes may keep mother happy, but will not create an individual likely to enrich society.
The young are not only incredibly family- minded, they are also extremely socially conservative. Over 70 per cent disapprove of homosexuality and over 60 per cent want marriage partners to be virgins. As for politics, four times more young people prefer Right wing politics to Left wing politics. If two decades ago the political centre of gravity of the young was with the Left, in 21st century India, the urban youth are firmly with the political Right. This is not surprising. 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 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, yet at the same time 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 rightwing? The perceived loss of culture due to globalization 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 the latest gadgets coexist with a passionate attachment to religious rituals. If rituals and religious rites were once the activities of grandmothers, now they are being adopted by the youth as aggressive demonstrations of identity. No wonder that marriage remains central to the youth’s dreams and giving birth to sons is the preferred option even in upmarket social strata.
There’s a great deal to be proud of in the youth survey too. Inspite of their own attachment to family, India’s youth have 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.


15 thoughts on “This and that

  1. Very well put MM.
    “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.”
    I guess this line truly sums up the crux of the matter!!
    More’s the pity 😦

  2. I am pretty sure someone is going to blame DDLJ and S Barjatya for the Mummy Sey Pooch Kay Bataoongi school of thought.
    and re:safe capitals Islamabad before the jaadu ki jhappi suicide bomber was pretty staid and boring, going to sleep at 7pm types. Canberra is still very safe.The only acts of violence are those caused by sticking fork in eye out of boredom.

  3. I did MBA in delhi and now my in laws live in Delhi…so my connection continues. Sometimes I forget how much I loved Delhi when I was there…..but some of my best memories are in Delhi……

    Also my now husband had asked me to marry me. I said my yes to him in Delhi, sarvana bhawan in delhi to be precise! and he did not even hear it because of the din!


    You made me all nostalgic!!

  4. Wherever I may live, it is the city in which I was born, and where I had most of my formal education. Still the city where I have lived for the longest time. Yup, Dilli meri hai:)

  5. I was born in delhi, and lived there for the first 21 years of my life, after which i left for pune & then Mumbai. My earliest memories of delhi are of being pinched and molested on the rare occasion that i took the local bus. Of the open bias against “madrasis” – this refers to anyone from south india, even from teachers in my very prestigious convent school.
    Of the extremely pretentious neighbors and classmates.
    I can go on.. but don’t wnat to dampen spirits here…

    P.S. unlurking after some time… love your space.

    • not at all. i think we all have childhood memories that scar us and end up defining a city. i know i hated madras for years because of a couple of small incidents. people calling me northie – without any idea of where exactly i came from. a Brahmin on the local train glaring at me and making a face and shifting away because the train was rocking and i, only about 7-8 bumped into him and apparently made him impure or something. my childhood molestation that i have written about on the old blog was also in Tamil Nadu.
      even when i went there as an adult and lived for a year i was quite taken aback by all the rental advts reading – only Brahmin, only vegetarian. i told the OA that I was moving back to Delhi alone if he didnt shift. i figured i’d rather have the Brat grow up with pretension than discrimination.
      but i also believe at 32 i have reached a stage where i can live anywhere and no longer have any strong dislike of a place. i like to think its age and maturity that takes me beyond the little bad incidents and reminds me that this too is part of the country i love and the people i am a part of.

      • I think you r right.. had I or for that matter you had the self esteem i/you have now, i would have told the idiotic Mrs.Singh that there is no such thing as a madrasi same for northie.. or slapped the guy on the bus who “bumped” into me.

  6. Delhi was my pit stop the first time I ever came to India! My in laws resides there and I always look forward to visit them and of course, Delhi 🙂

  7. I often feel guilty about belonging to this section of the middle class that runs after more material wealth. It seems like I currently belong to the section of society that at one time, the oppressed and downtrodden fought against(the upper-caste(society)/educated, urban, wealthy section of the society probably fought for power).

    I would hate to be on the receiving end of violence, like everyone else. But how can we hate the unfortunate ones in society who are fighting worst monsters than the British.

    I had been thinking lately about the low popularity of communistic feelings(even balanced ones, like low consumption, etc) among the younger population(even Kerala) and was surprised to see it on the article.

  8. I often think about where we are as a society. One of your recent posts where u lamented about the youth of today & their ways… I feel all of society has become selfish and absorbed in their own world, not people in a particular age range… With a new scam every other day, the competition for material wealth, it is really Kaliyuga…. And when I get very pessimistic, I think we will self destruct soon. Coz I dont see where this is going…

    I travel by public bus to office and regularly I see women / men of all ages not giving up seats for the elderly/ women carrying children. Just yesterday, a woman found an empty seat and sat down. There was an old woman along with her and she didnt give her the seat. Then called the old lady only after 2 stops when a seat became empty. I give up seat many times (not always) and feel annoyed as no one else seems bothered. People dont seem to think that one day it might be their wife/ sister struggling with a baby or their aged mother losing balance while standing…

    And this being inconsiderate towards others is everywhere, not just in buses. On the roads while driving, throwing litter outside houses/ windows/ balconies, on the road… this mad rush that we have to be first in everything…

    Ok, end of rant. Sorry for the long comment.

    Another article on same lines –,2

  9. Well..based on the number of comments this post has got and based on the number of comments on posts about members of the mad house..u do realize that no one ever feels like they get too much of the mad house, no?

    Ahh..Delhi…My sis moved there after marriage and I visited Delhi for the first time ,when we went to my sister’s home to celebrate her ‘Thalai Deepavali’ (her 1st Diwali after marriage)..couldn’t have visited Delhi at a better first time. I fell in love with the city almost instantly. My sis and I are hardcore Bangaloreans…n yet since she has moved out of there…she craves to go back. N may I add ..shopper’s paradise it is!

    Hmm..i donno sometimes I feel people are overdoing the analyzing bit If one doesn’t obey their parents, ppl rant about it. If one obeys them, ppl rant about it… These are my thoughts today, tomo, I could be cribbing about the world going to dogs. . Like EVERY generation, this generation has its pros n cons .Nothing wrong with analyzing, but I feel the youth and well everyone and everything should be given a break from excessive analysis.

    The yahoo safety site.. I didn’t get it 😐

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