On R-Day, here's what young India thinks...
Is it good to make money? Is it ok to be gay and is pre-marital sex acceptable? The 59th Republic Day is a good opportunity to check out where India and its youth stand on these issues, and more. Yashwant Raj finds out.india Updated: Jan 26, 2008 04:19 IST
It was never going to be easy. And it hasn’t been easy. But slowly and slowly, the country is growing up and confronting issues that it would have ducked earlier. And hey, look where it is. <b1>
Ten years ago, greed was a dirty word, and acquiring signs of wealth – whatever money could buy – was pejoratively attributed to consumerism. There were many names for people who bought, bought and bought.
Now, here is the eye-popping thing about the new India: a bulk of the people interviewed in eight major cities said, “Greed is Good. Pursuit of money is fine.” And Gordon Gecko (of the iconic film Wall Street) is God.
On the occasion of Republic Day the Hindustan Times commissioned a pulse-of-the-nation opinion poll to track what we are, where do we want to be and what (and no poll is complete without them) we think of politicians.
The poll was done for HT by research organisation C-fore among 1,500 urban Indians in the age group 18 to 35 in eight cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Patna, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Bhopal.
Only Kolkata seemed a bit coy on this – are you surprised? – but most cities voted yes with their hands and feet. Check this out: 83 per cent of the Chandigarh respondents said Greed is good.
Across India, therefore, it’s ok to make money. Being “money-minded” is not a social offense and bring back home the millionaire uncle who was sent to social Siberia for being miserly, and learn from him.
This is the new India. It works hard and plays hard. Most respondents believe in going on vacations every six months – most so in the cities with decidedly higher average incomes such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
And Chandigarh. Just look at this city. It may lack the girth of Delhi and Mumbai, but it behaves pretty much the same – it believes greed is fine, wants to vacation as often as these bigger cities and likes it drinks.
When asked for their favourite beverage – alcohol scored the highest in Chandigarh; Chennai and Bhopal were almost anti-alcohol. But, hey, this has nothing to do with the country growing up.
It has to do with where does it think it’s going. It is certain college is a good thing and that English is absolutely essential for making anything of their lives here. And stay tuned in, know what’s happening.
After films, most respondents like watching the news – preferring it to soaps (doesn’t this make you feel proud of being an Indian?) and documentaries (they have obviously not discovered the finer things of life yet).
If this is not enough, for most Indians newspapers are their favourite read, like them more than fiction and non-fiction. Some people actually like reading company brochures (Greed is good!!!!!!).
And here is a puzzle piece that you need to decide if it fits anywhere: Most Indians are still not ok with gays (and lesbians), but Delhi and Mumbai disagree. Is this about growing up?