Friday, February 24, 2006

Living in Two - "Young" & "Old" - India

Some time back, I had posted something about "Living in Two India(s)" - which was about the increasing income divide

This post is, however, about another kind of "cultural divide"

A year or so back, while working on a "professional" assignment, I had made a table comparing values, priotities and charactaristics of the "young" and "old" India.

Apart from the "professional" part, this was also based on a realisation that I - and people from "my generation" - actually belong to a minority in this cultural/generational divide...

...I mean, if you are living in a society/country where the median age is 24yrs, and around 40% population is in the range of 20-44yrs - and you happen to be past your half-century - then, there is an compelling reason to understand how the world has changed aroundyou... Isn't it?

... Admittedly, like any other attempt to understand the fuzzy reality in terms of dichotomy ("young" vs. "old") it is stereotypical

...nevertheless (bouquets or brickbats), just thought that it is worth sharing:

  • Young India:This generation grew up during the 1980s, when Indian economy and markets were picking up – and the age of scarcity was getting over.
  • Old India:For most people in this generation, the significant experience of living was the early years after independence, when India was really a poor country.

  • Young India:Compared to older generation, more educated and more exposed to information outside immediate environment
  • Old India:Overall, lesser exposure to information – also often comfortable with known (rather than new) information

  • Young India:Greater confidence and pride in contemporary India in the world
  • Old India:Hesitant/sceptical in accepting contemporary India; pride in the heritage

  • Young India:Ambitious and upward mobile; define success by material possessions and life-style
  • Old India:More contented with the given; happiness is defined by a good family and community life

  • Young India:Consumerist values, based on wants
  • Old India:Traditional values, based on needs

  • Young India:More liberal in spending
  • Old India:Focus on saving/ less spending

  • Young India:More geographical mobility; feel at home even in other parts of India, often even settle down there, far away from the roots.
  • Old India:Less mobile; rooted to ancestral homes; even after staying for 30-40 years in another state, don’t feel to belong to that place.

  • Young India:Not very much bound by caste system – open to working and marrying outside the caste.
  • Old India:Caste still plays an important role in life – even if they work outside the caste system, marrying outside is still a ‘no-no’

  • Young India:More egalitarian in their relations. For instance, are comfortable on a “first name” basis.
  • Old India:Respect for seniority, hierarchy and authority

  • Young India:Role models are contemporary – and from diverse fields (cricketers, movie actors, politicians, etc.)
  • Old India:Role models are mostly historical or religious and similar (e.g. Mahatma Gandhi or Lord Rama, etc.)

  • Young India:More focus on ends than on means
  • Old India:More focus on means than on ends

    So what is the point??

    Dunno... but one of my all-time favourite quotes by one Max Lerner (he used to write column for Chicago or Los Angeles Times in the 70s).

    "All generations live in two worlds – an outer and an inner one. But each generation has its own inner universe – the subjective one, furnishing a window on the world through which it looks out at the outer universe. This inner world is formed early in the teens and twenties, perhaps thirties, and while it may continue to change in open-ended personalities, its basic frame remains the same. My inner word was shaped by what happened in the 1920s, 30s and 40s; that of my son in the 1950s and 60s. We have different conditionings, hang-ups, life styles, and even vocabularies. Since the pace of social change which creates the gap is not slowing down, we shall have to learn to live with it, while making a creative leap of imagination to see the outer world through the inner windows of the other generation."


    Ajit Chouhan said...

    Reallt true madhukar,I hope u saw Rang de basanti..

    shikha said...

    Gud observation!