A new social awakening on the anvil?

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Jan 2018 10:17:56







EVEN as we keep hearing about how many hundreds of people the cops caught on New Year’s eve for drunken driving and also for disturbing public peace, we also get a good evidence of a new awakening on the anvil by way of young people trying to conduct themselves with a great sense of responsibility, defying the social trend of brazenness, and trying to carve out a different identity for themselves. It is, of course, difficult to assert that this evidence of certain positive change is an indication of a changing social trend, or it is just a flash-in-the-pan kind of phenomenon. Yet, going by what is visible, though in small numbers, one feels rather encouraged that some sanity is certainly beginning to dawn upon younger generations of Indian youth. To that extent, it appears to be a welcome development.

If we see a lot of young men -- and also some young women -- indulge in drinking and smoking, we also see some of them looking sheepish if we accost them about the bad habits. In the past some months, I have kept up a practice of accosting younger people when I see them smoking in public and spoiling other people’s sense of well being. At the tapri outside ‘The Hitavada’ office (which I visit occasionally to buy some packed snacks or bottled water), I have talked to young men freely about smoking as something bad. At least until now, none of them has ever told me to mind my own business. In fact, I also met a couple of them who came visiting me in the office and promising never to get back into the bad habit. I would never know how truthful they would be to their own promise, yet the fact that they came to meet me and regretted their bad habit, was good enough a reason for me to feel good.

The mention of the young couple I met at the vegetable shop a few days ago also attracted a few others to me asserting that they, too, did not fall prey to the New Year Bluff, as that young man at the shop had stated. A few others phoned in to insist that they did organise New Year eve parties but did not drink and did not go berserk on roads with their mobikes. They also insisted that they believed in a dignified behaviour. I asked one of them if this was a new thing they were talking about. He agreed readily. “Yes Sir. In our last year’s party, we had indulged in drinking and riding our mobikes at break-neck speeds in the night. None of us met with any accident, but we realised somehow that we were making a mistake. So, this year, we decided not to do all those things that would make us feel bad about ourselves”, he added.

That was certainly a different and welcome experience with a few young people feeling bad about their wrong habits and wanting to rectify their lifestyles. At this stage, I might have come across only a small number of such instances, but I feel that they offer me a reason to feel good about a changing trend and also to look forward to more such instances.

I still do not know whether I should call it a beginning of a new awakening. Yet, in my enthusiasm to welcome something good, I would insist that at least some good thinking is taking place.