Saturday, June 05, 2010

Hindustan bole to Youngistan

What makes India in its demographic profile unique from other countries is the young population. The median age of India’s population is 25.1 years, which makes it the youngest country in the whole world. But, how young we are in terms of social, economic and political scenario is the essence of this discussion.
Today’s young India is ruled by the old and graying politicians who are more than 70 years old. The experience of older politician is important, but most of the time it becomes a medium for many of them to drive their personal interests and greed than serious work. I am not advocating that the younger lots of population are saints in terms of greed and money laundering, but they are definitely not that skilled in manipulating systems and playing dirty politics. Youngistan can be a real asset to India’s development with much more political participation and opportunities for them.
Though, the Indian politics is still dominated by the grey hair and old age, there are other areas where Youngistan is changing the face of nation. Be it entertainment, business, literature or innovation. The young populations of India is no more living in a protected shell but are venturing to newer territories to expand their horizon. If we study their mind, they seem to want to get differentiated with others in terms of the way they are looked upon. They are more hungry and thirsty than the older generation of India. They are the biggest risk takers and they believe in “Do the New” concept.
India in last decade has seen a host of entrepreneurship from the young brigade, in fields of technology, science, education and even non profit sector. The risk taking abilities of the younger population is going to be a major advantage in the coming decades, as India is poised to be one of the economic super powers. The best parts of these startups are that they are not only limited to big ideas and business, but also many grass root level innovations. Few days back, I came to read about a company called “Villgro” which is trying to market grass root level innovations from rural areas through rural retail stores and assisting the village entrepreneurs in their business plan and execution. This is an example of social entrepreneurship happening in India. Today’s youth loves doing what they believe in and there are numerous examples in recent times, when they chose to take up a different path from what they have been doing and are successful.
Having a huge population of young crowd means a big consumption market for products across from the world. The youth loves spending money on education, lifestyle, fashion, food and entertainment. India’s consumption scenario can be termed as similar to the economic and social impact that happened post World War II in US known as Baby Boomers generation by marketers, which had resulted in a huge consumption party in US and UK. For the marketers, youngistan is the toughest consumer to service. They are really aware of their rights; they love choices, are tech savvy and spend time on newer media channels like social networking sites.
The youths have not only changed the economic environment, but are also the biggest ambassador of social change. They are more acceptable with respect to other caste, community and culture than the older generation. This acceptability is one of the biggest challenges today, as India still battles with the acceptability issues in terms of marriages especially with the older generation. The recent cases of honored killing because of inter caste relationships or at some places marriages within the same Gotra provide the social development status with respect to India being an acceptable and adaptable society.
We all need to understand that to make India a really developed nation, we don’t need to be only economically growing at 7-8% GDP, but be socially progressive also.
As a young Indian, I hope to see India as a real youngistan in coming few years charting its path to lead the globe socially, economically and democratically.