Survey shows that Indian youth are conservative
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.
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.