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Survey shows that Indian youth are conservative

February 10, 2007

A survey on urban Indian Youth (18-30 years) by the India Today group, aired by the news channel Headlines Today and conducted by AC Neilson in 18 cities across India showed that young Indians are very very conservative. Appearances then, are deceptive.

The fears that fundamentalist parties have about ‘evil’ western influences ‘corrupting’ Indian youth haven’t materialised, at least not for the majority of the young people.
They don’t like to go for parties
Today’s urban youth are not party animals. Almost half (47%) of those surveyed said they preferred to stay at home during weekends and the other 32% liked to go for tame outings like the cinema.
They respect their parents
An overhelming majority (95%) would not smoke or drink in front of their parents. Ofcourse this does mean that the youngsters do not smoke or drink, it simply shows that Indian youth prefer not to inform parents about what they are doing. It is highly unlikely that 95% of urban Indian youth do not smoke or drink. This is more likely to be fear, rather than respect.
Women are expected to behave differently
What was disturbing however was that 90% of those surveyed (assuming a mix of both men and women) felt that women should not smoke. Now that’s true conservatism for you! Smoking is bad for health for all human beings but it’s the women who smoke who are disapproved of far more than men. The excuse that women are child-bearers does not stand the test of rational thought because even male sperm gets damaged due to smoking. But in India it looks like the age-old Indian tradition where women are supposed to uphold the cultural values and not men, is still thriving! Men can wear western clothes, go out for parties, dance till late in the night, date, smoke and drink…but nice girls are not supposed to do it!
No to pre-marital sex
65% of those surveyed said a big no to live-in relationships. Marriage is what they are looking for. However the fact that a good 35% said yes, means that where love is concerned, there are a lot of people whose attitudes are liberal. Love before marraige is a theme which has dominated Hindi cinema for decades now and still does. And cinema reflects society to some extent. So I am not sure whether this liberal attitude towards live-in relationships is a new one.
Indian youth value their religion
Religious values are strong because 70% of those surveyed said that they would not change their religion for love.
Materialism exists though not overhelmingly
Slightly less than half (44%) of the urban youth are willing to buy branded products – that means the youngsters’ purses are loosening up and they are want these status symbols.
Patriotism rules
It is good to hear however that the majority of our young (70%) do not want to go abroad to settle down. It would have been interesting to hear a city-wise break-up because another survey in Delhi earlier had revealed that the majority of youngsters wanted to leave India.
Fire the politicians
When it comes to our country’s development, a good 37% of them said that firing corrupt politicians will take the country forward. Well, I hope that these 37% vote, because the reason why we have corrupt politicians is because slum-dwellers sell their votes to anyone who gives them money, alcohol and/or gifts. And they come out in the greatest numbers to vote.
20% of the youngsters want schools to be built and 15% want better infrastructure. And a good 51% says yes to OBC (caste-based) reservations.
Paucity of youth icons
What I found really odd was when the survey asked the respondents to state their youth icon, Sachin Tendulkar got the maximum votes (14%). That Sachin got the maximum votes was not what surprised me. What surprised me is that Amitabh Bachchan, an old man, got 12% of the votes! Shockingly Sonia Gandhi, another elderly lady who has not come up in politics because of merit, came third with 8% of the votes. At least Amitabh achieved what he did on his own steam. And so did Sania Mirza the tennis star. She came fourth with 7%. Overall, I thought that there is a real dearth of youth icons for our youth.

(This survey was not available online.

Related Reading: Dating is alright, but only if you marry, say teens
Internet marraige bureaus becoming popular in India
Girls and boys in India usually date secretly
Why some people do never marry

5 Comments leave one →
  1. vicky permalink
    March 20, 2007 12:46 am

    well in my opinion the youngster are affected by the india 87% youngster like bollywood movie.that may be romance or love type of movie.
    yes they r not like parties.they never smoke or drink in front of the parents.that doesn’t means they donot smoke or drink.because our great behavior is india the youngster r very well like other 2007 if we calculate the india younster have a goodknowledge,good atitude,good thinking from the oher country.

  2. November 25, 2007 8:23 pm

    We did a study in our Agency called the remixed generation and it threw up very interesting result.. despite progressing access to better education.. somewhere the Indian youth is still very culturally rooted.. Indian is still largely a collective society unlike the west which is very individualistic hence parents and the society still have a huge impact on them.. Loved your blog.. a great recourse.. will blogroll you.. cheers

  3. November 25, 2007 10:41 pm

    @Dhivya: Thanks. 🙂
    Yes I agree about us being a collective society. We need the stamp of approval from the people around us to survive!

  4. kohinoor Devroy permalink
    March 5, 2010 2:59 pm

    Well it is not mentioned anywhere how many individuals were being surveyed by A C Neilson across cities and what does these percentages signify.But I differ from few above mentioned points like 1) No pre-marital sex,2)Women are expected to behave in a cetain way
    3)Materialism exists though not overwhelmingly

    Being myself a representative of the Indian youth Class and having more than 300 friends,cousins and relatives all over India both in metros and smaller towns never came across anyone who believes pre marital sex to be a taboo.In a romantic relationship love and emotion are linked and dependent on each other and any such incident taking place is circumstancial and not preconceived,if so its more like deal than a relationship.
    Apart from certain extreame unsocial behaviour women arent expected to behave in a certain way.Women not choosing to drink alcohol or smoke can be due to health consciousness or some other personal reasons but Indian tradition or Indian youth certainly do dont not promote it.

    And talking of brands ,its more product centric.If the product is good the brand ends up being a common name with everyone.There are ample number of brands who have failed because of poor product quality.
    All I feel is that Indian youths are more sensitive and innovative.They keep reinventing their image .An makeover contest is running in Facebook where one can win over free contact lenses ,switch from spectacles to contact lenses and get a complete makeover.On a lighter note ,if Nielson does a survey it might come up with a high percentage of Indian youth going for a makeover every year.And its quite an Indian tradition.For more details related to this one can visit :

    • vasudev permalink
      March 7, 2010 12:21 am

      hi kohinoor…wud like to agree with u 100+ %. only thing: india shud stop exporting its culture stuff and frankly proclaim to the world that we are as bad as them! we shud tell the world that we incest very frequently and we are as much the ‘mcps’ as they are.

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