No icon to look up to for generation next

“Youth is the joy, the little bird that has broken out of the eggs and is eagerly waiting to spread out its wings in the open sky of freedom and hope.”

-Henry James (An American scholar)

The Missile Man, Dr. Adbul Kalam Azad caught the imagination of children and young alike. Dr.Kalam was the favourite youth icon before he breathed his last while delivering a lecture to the students of Indian Institute of Management (IIM),Shilong last year.Millions of Indian youth were inspired by his books, speeches, and his interactive sessions with youngsters across the country went a long way in driving them to work hard to turn their dreams into a reality.

It is evident that youth icon need not be a person of young age. Which explains why Rahul Gandhi failed to connect with Indian youth and the advent of Narendra Modi could rekindle the hopes of young brigade.Even in young independent country, Nehru could most easily strike a chord with youngsters and even the age difference couldn’t prove to be deterrent. Ahead of general elections in 2014, Modi emerged as a prominent youth icon with his vision to transform the country.

But after becoming Prime Minister of the country, he seems to have lost in the labyrinth of power and governance and failed to establish a deep-rooted connect with Indian youth. They want someone who is strongly connected to them, speaks their language; understand their aspirations and gives direction to their vision. Dr.Kalam had the ability & tenacity to connect a large number of youth and had once stated that he aimed towards personally interacting with one-lakh students in a year. But a vacuum has created after his demise with youth having no prominent icon to look up to.

Bollywood and Cricket drive forward a point but for the serious minded, they either lack depth or fail to inspire. In today’s cut throat competitive world and TRP driven news channels, if media is joining the bandwagon of opportunism instead of helping them a direction by providing informative content then what would the young generation look up to?

While these dilemmas have been brought into sharper focus by larger section of the young. For them even the politicians of different strides are hardly a matter of esteem. In this digital age, youngsters seem to be venting out their feelings in social media. While it is helping them let off their anger or frustration, it is hardly of any help for those who are in search of deeper answers.

It may be politically incorrect but it is often said that Indian youth only think about “money matters”. It will be interesting to find out how many Indians go on to work in the country after passing out from IITs and IIMs. While youngsters work hard to get into these premier institutes, majority of them only contribute to brain drain. On the other hand we have a shortage of 16,000 officers in Indian army.

According to a report published by Forbes magazine – “Indian youth are most optimistic in world”. Well, we are forced to believe in it, as majority of the youngsters believe that something good will happen but never attempt to change the status quo. Indian youth is rebel on social networks but fail to make a lasting impression when it comes to practically doing something.

However statistics from National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) reveal a different side of the story. According to NCRB, India ranks number one in suicides. In every 15 minutes someone commits a suicide and 1 out of every 3 cases, is in the age group of 15-30. That means one youth is committing suicide in every 45 minutes.

India is considered a youth power and more than 600 million people in India comes in age group of 15-29, which equals to the population of US and Western Europe taken together. India is aspiring to become a developed nation but that can only happen if everyone contributes in the best of his/her abilities including youth.

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