The Vibe in India

The zeitgeist among the young in Mumbai and across the subcontinent:

I’d have liked to ask Mr. Gandhi what that means: “I am young.” I myself no longer have a clear idea. Perhaps it means being so disillusioned with life in modern India that, quite frankly, never mind the Congress’s election promise of eradicating poverty, I’d like him to buy me a Scotch and soda now. It may mean being so angry at the larger failure of the system, the physical failure — the potholed roads, the power shutdowns — that one’s anger can become utterly mute from its weight. And it may also mean being so bored by the failure of cultural originality — the absence of anything beyond Bollywood, and the fact that most of our contemporary art is shamelessly derivative of Western work — that the inertia of imagination can knock you out cold.

via Young, Restless and Indian –


9 thoughts on “The Vibe in India”

  1. I thought that Siddharth Shanghvi made and interesting argument about redefining what it means to be young. What he experienced with Ghandi’s comment is similar to what we face in America today. Politicians am to please the “young” who are actually in their 30s and 40s, and yet do not listen to their concerns when they are directly involved. This reminds me of the twitter fiasco. While I agree that those tweets were inappropriate for the position he was in, I think sometimes it is important for people to say controversial things for the sake of progress and change. If not, then what is the point of government?

  2. The thing which here struck me most was that the idea of remaining in the United States under George W. Bush as president was repugnant enough to him to be a motivating factor in moving back to India. Of course it wasn’t the only motivation, but it was a major one. I cannot fathom what it would be like to find the policy of the incumbent president so repulsive as to prompt me to leave the country itself. I was alive, but young when president Bush was being elected for a second term. In my family, his election was a saving grace, defending us from the extremest notions of Gore. However, I could not claim to know what it is like to be a minority, particularly a minority from another country, and live under a conservative president. However, I do not think that the individual life of a person under such a government could be so negatively impacted to really make life unbearable here.

  3. The interesting thing about this article is that Siggharth Shanghvi didn’t want to stay in America, but he also wasn’t happy in India. He is right on when he talks about the young being restless because our generation is defined by our restlessness and our constant unhappiness. Today it seems as though nothing can satisfy the young, but everyone has to spend forever looking for the next best thing.

  4. It will be interesting to watch the unfolding of Indian politics as the large population group (10-25ish) gets older and rises to power. They are India’s most educated generation, but as mentioned above are a restless type of young. Will they stay and help with the reduction of corruption and further infrastructure in India, or will they find greener pastures where they can snorkel? The author himself left his home country, and other than writing an op-ed article with a “woe is me” feel hasn’t done much to help India politically or otherwise since returning. Perhaps the zeitgeist of India will mellow and have a more involved and determined attitude towards their country as they age.

  5. It is often the youth who point out their discomforts in their respective political systems, and it is made easier now by social media. Siggharth Shanghvi says that the youth are restless and unhappy. Yet, it is sometimes hard for older people to recognize the validity of the youth’s voice. I like that he wonders what Gandhi would say about the phrase “I am young” because it makes me reflect on what the founders of our society/revolutionaries would think of this problem today. If Shanghvi has to flee America because of his fear of the president, what does that say about us and our politicians?

  6. I found this article interesting, because though I knew India was developing to become a first-rate country, I didn’t realize how westernized the country is becoming as very similar culture to American culture is dominating the youth that comprises the majority of the country. The author seems to condemn this overpowering Americanization of the country because of the loss of Indian culture, while at the same time praising its modernization. However, it becomes obvious in the article that the more modernized a country becomes and the greater leisure that is available, the less content a society is.

  7. It is interesting to me to read this because I have been studying Hinduism in my World Religions class. In my class we discussed how modern hinduism preaches a nationalist Indian culture, but that at the same time they are being influenced by western culture more than ever before.
    It is incredible to see a country with such an ancient culture be influenced by foreigners. I have always pictured India as a Hindu state with a very distinct culture that is impenetrable, but the fact that the youth is such a large portion of the population makes it easier for customs and traditions to die out. Modernization has and will bring many benefits to India, but they can still preserve their culture if the older generations influence their children to believe in it.

  8. Can a country sustain economic growth for large periods of time? It seems like every country that experiences an outbreak of jobs and consequently money fails after a time. Its similar to what happens to young athletes when they start to make ridiculous amounts of money. Life is good, so they spend and spend and spend everything they have because money comes easy and they feel like they will be young forever. The truth is that knees get worn out, and the ability to make easy money dies each day. For a country or a person to really do well, they have to plan for the days when the money runs out. Saving money is so important. How many times have general authorities instructed us to save money or gather food and water? A country is no different.

  9. As the younger Indian generation gets older, I think that we will see India become more Westernized in both politics and culture. This may mean a loss of tradition, but hopefully western influences will help eradicate slums and improve the standard of living in this country and the elite will not keep their new knowledge and allow the poor to suffer. Making the statement “I am young” a reflection of the individuals who overcame the past negative connotations of this statement though improving their society.

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