We are the failed generation-we who are now in our 40s and 50s. We do not have to look far to realise that our generation has failed. The India we inherited was wonderful, but the one that we have bequeathed* our children is degraded in every way. We are the citizens of transition, with personal memories of our childhood when we lived in a good, simple world where laws and morals had their place. And now we have first-hand experience of an India stifled by corruption and injustice, with breakdowns on every front.
There is no point getting defensive about our failure. There is no point denying it either. Perhaps time has come for us to face up to reality and try and understand why we failed. We were good and talented and grew up in a relatively safe and protected environment. Then why and where did we go wrong? Perhaps we must first rewind a bit.
Our grandparents were the generation of freedom fighters. They were brave and committed men and women fired with a vision of a free India. They made sacrifices, donated money and property, their youth and even lived to achieve their goal. They were incredibly disciplined. And then came our parent’s generation. They wanted to build a new India, a modem India where all citizens were equal. They were incredibly thrifty. They worked hard and saved money and believed the best they could give their children was a good education. And then came my generation, born in safety and security. We benefited from a good education. Our nationalistic goals had whittled down. We only wanted to make.a difference. But we did not really manage to because we were incredibly ambitious. We wanted to create a separate identity, push the frontiers of our personal capabilities and professional parameters to a new high. We took pride in being unlike the rest. Highly individualistic, we became the generation that abrogated civic responsibility, that hurt the social fabric-we wanted the best for our family, but community and country could look after itself.
Sure, we inherited problems from our parent’s generation. But we did not do anything to set it right. So they got worse and around us India started to crumble. We saw it, were conscious enough to protest, but not concerned enough to step in and stem the rot. We were unconcerned because we were caught up in our own personal pursuits. We love to make a virtue of tolerance and indifference, as also permissiveness. It is indifference, when we do not care deeply enough to do something about our problems. It is not tolerance but permissiveness when we are too lazy to intervene. As we strove to prove our worth in professional pursuits, we happily left nation building to politicians and bureaucrats. We abdicated our responsibility, our personal role in shaping India’s destiny. Politics and civic action soon became too dirty for us to soil our hands, our name, our reputations. Some of us who belatedly want to do something about it, now discover that the system is too atrophied, set in its ways, to let us enter. So we stand outside wringing our hands. Perhaps secretly glad that we cannot enter this murky world. After all, we have accumulated too much to lose and in any case why bother. The system is too far gone and we would be fools to sacrifice the comforts of our cocooned world.
And our children, they worship money. And when it is there parent’s money, they love it even more. Nowhere in the world do teenagers spend their parent’s money as freely and without compunction as they do here. We are to be blamed for that too because we are being permissive, not liberal. Parents are so involved in their work that they do not have time for third children. They buy children’s affection with guilt-money. So kids now have cars, electronic gadgets, designer clothes. India is a fading figment of their parent’s nostalgia. All they want is a job that will give them good money so that they can pursue their materialistic pursuits-preferably in America. But can you blame them? Look at the India they are living in-pollution is high, crime is endemic, brute power is law, civic amenities deplorable, justice non-existent, merit has no place. It is caste or connections that work. There are cases of affluence amidst unbelievable deserts of deprivation. How long is India really sustainable ? Can it really remain stable and peaceful amidst such grotesque ills and inequities.
Often we are optimistic because we are afraid to be pessimistic. Impending scenarios scare the living daylights out of us. So we collectively believe that things will improve and gladly cite a variety of instances to prove that there are areas of growth and excellence. We want to be optimistic because we do not want to give in to despair. After all, what is life without hope?
- The author believes that he belongs to a failed generation because:
(a) India is today stifled with poverty and corruption.
(b) he believes he is morally responsible for not being able to handover an unblemished India to the next generation.
(c) he believes that his generation has not accepted failure gracefully.
(d) he is pessimistic.
- The author believes that the earlier generation was mainly concerned with:
(a) saving money for their children.
(b) changing the face of India.
(d) giving their children a good education.
- The author thinks that his generation did not succeed in making a difference because:
(a) it overlooked nationalistic goals.
(b) its objectives were unrealistic to be met.
(c) in its quest for personal excellence, it forgot its duties to the society.
(d) it did not manage to create a personal identity for itself.
- While questioning India’s sustainability, the author points out that:
(a) terrorism spread by brutes is rampant*.
(b) caste divide still exists which over-powers merit.
(c) there are pockets of prosperity in the midst of widespread poverty.
(d) the pollution rate is alarmingly high causing denudation.
- In the opinion of the author the teenagers of today are denudation
(a)parents want their children to have as nice a childhood.
(b) parents do not have time for their children so that they compensate with luxuries.
(c) parents become nostalgic and indulge their children with expensive items.
(d) parents want to fulfill their children’s dreams of materialistic pursuits in America.
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