Reading Comprehension Passage-I



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?

  1. 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.

  1. The author believes that the earlier generation was mainly concerned with:

(a) saving money for their children.

(b) changing the face of India.

(c) self-sacrifice.

(d) giving their children a good education.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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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