Thursday, 18 August, 2022
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Millennials have seen India shining, they will judge Modi by last 30 years, not 70

Most Indian millennials' political memory starts with liberalisation and then Vajpayee. Modi’s promises will be measured against that.

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Narendra Modi has always pitched himself to India as the leader who will undo the ‘wrongs’ of the last 70 years. But what if Indian’s millennials don’t care about that?

For most Indian millennials, political memory starts with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, not Jawaharlal Nehru. So, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be judged in the context of the last 30 years, and certainly not the 70.

Rama Bijapurkar calls this generation the Liberalisation Children or LC. Born between 1981 and 1996, they have seen a non-Socialist country and been encouraged to consume, explore freedoms.

So, when Modi supporters and the BJP ask what Nehru did in 1962 to defend what is happening now at the Line of Actual Control, there is a distinct disconnect for India’s millennials.

Also read: India’s young no longer charmed by Modi. Blame economy and ideology

Modi’s image

Before the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Modi raised tough questions on the failures of 70 years of India’s ruling system, the country’s economic condition and defence capabilities and won the mandate. Before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Modi capitalised on the emotions of ‘first-time voters’ and his image of a stern decision-maker after the Balakot strikes. The sputtering economy and high unemployment rate were ignored. He returned with a bang.

One year later, PM Modi has honoured the 20 soldiers killed in Galwan in the scuffle with China. But there is a growing concern that he will raise the pitch in the upcoming Bihar assembly election. He has already talked about the valour of the Bihar regiment while launching the Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan. It is assumed that the state with a huge youth population will be swayed. But this may not come true, in Bihar and elsewhere.

The mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic, jobless workers’ issue and badly hit economy will also be counted as poll issues.

And concerns over economy and jobs are bound to impact millennials, no matter what they think of India’s bravery at the LAC.

Also read: For Indian millennials, 2019 is going to be all about Modi’s personality not policy

New India

Indian millennials have seen India growing, very fast, for the last two decades — they have enjoyed the fruits of economic liberalisation and are connected to others across the world through social media. According to the YouGov-Mint Millennial Survey, in 2019, India had 459 million millennials and post-millennials. 

This generation doesn’t have memories of famines, of too many diplomatic defeats at the international level, the Emergency or constant threat of war from Pakistan, except Kargil.

For them, most changes have been on the economy and technology front. And Modi knows that. His first term was all about Gujarat model, raining jobs, laptops, education, Make in India, Start-Up India and Skill India.

The millennials realised that the Congress government under Manmohan Singh was holding India back. The allegations of corruption didn’t help either. They thought Modi will free India from the shackles of indecision and set it on the path to economic progress. In January, 47 per cent millennials said they supported the BJP.

Also read: Modi-Shah’s BJP govt has failed India’s youth and is now stuck fighting them

Changing tune

Soon, that dream burst. Modi’s decisions were not yielding results — from demonetisation to Make in India. The Hindutva narrative and squashing of any opposition became the flavours of the season.

Millennials also felt an increasing disconnect with the ‘WhatsApp University’ and its growing subscriber base. The generational gap was more apparent than ever before.

Millennials wanted jobs and change, and wanted them now. There was no time for the 70-years’ story.

Early into 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had already blamed millennials for the slowing automobile industry. To add to their woes, the unplanned lockdown left the economy battered and the millennials beleaguered.

The term ‘millennial’ doesn’t only signify those happy-go-lucky youth on the covers of glossy magazines. It also includes those who we saw walking on foot for hundreds of kilometres during the lockdown. The majority of low-earning millennials have gone bust and are waiting for a miracle.

Also read: How social media memes became a political weapon to woo first-time voters

Mental health is real

The recent bravado on social media regarding China and the confusing reactions of BJP leaders have left many millennials baffled. See TikTok or Facebook or Twitter reactions to Modi now.

In general, it seems the anxiety levels of millennials in India are at an all-time high. There is a sense of frustration and helplessness. Something often brushed aside and disregarded.

Students in prestigious universities such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Aligarh Muslim University have been a constant target of the Modi government. It must be noted that despite all allegations, these institutions have featured on the list of best universities, even government-published ones.

Similarly, one can’t ignore the millennials of Kashmir. Since the ‘lockdown’ in Kashmir in August 2019, economy, as well as education, have been disrupted. They can’t even access proper internet.

Mental health is a major issue in the 21st century. It can’t be ignored. People are finally speaking about it. And it is not a city-only issue either.

We can’t blame Nehru or the opposition for it. Sooner or later, most millennials will have millions of questions for PM Modi. It’s a generation that judges by the ‘now’, not the past.

Views are personal.

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  1. I don’t think anger amongst millennials is going to affect Modi or his govt. It may perhaps affect govt after the Modi era. The real threat is to the RSS ecosystem of majoritarianism and voting for ancient India’s glory. If there is going to be no significant improvement in the common man’s economic conditions under this govt, he is not going to be optimistic and buy into grandiose schemes of voting for “saving India.” Now atleast there is something to save, soon there will be nothing left if this govt is not going to do something about the economy.

  2. India’s tragedy is that 70 years after independence, a third rate Italian barmaid and her half-breed idiot son who has the intellectual capacity of a donkey, harbor ambitions of assuming the highest seat of power in the land.
    And they are supported by an eco-system of MirJaffers. Even this was tolerable – except that these carpet baggers are now EXPOSED as traitors who are working to destroy India from the inside.

  3. The Prime Minister arrived penniless and will depart without a penny to his name. The wealth he will carry away with him is the love & respect of crores of Indians. When he departs the stage, India will be a stronger, respected and a stronger nation on the path of progress and prosperity and Indians will bless their good fortune that Mr. Modi led us in our darkest hours. Yes, he will definitely be judged by the millennial generation.

  4. He is the leader of traditional power elite. They don’t foresee any alternative leader whom they can trust with their agenda. To them ,for the failures everyone else is responsible except him.

  5. How will history judge Rahul Gandhi? Will history be polite and refer to him as intellectually shallow, privileged and ineffective?
    Or will history be truthful and describe him for what he is? An irresponsible, ignorant, uneducated, idiot Duffer, a turncoat who finished his sorry political career after being exposed in the year 2020 as a traitor?

  6. For a majority of Millennials like me and my fiends Modi is the best thing that happened to India in past millennia……he will definitely take India forward by leaps and bounds, away from failed congress corrupt nature, policies and nepotism. Har Har Modi. India first policies, projection of Indian culture, soft power, economics, and where needed hard power is a must in this age and time. Lets get rid of congress, the liberals and communist once and for all.

  7. Author s assertation that millennial will judge Modi by last 30 years , not 70 years is to provide some consolation to faithful of dynasty that departed in 2014. Why author conveniently ignore the sea changes that have happened since 2014 ? Can any one ignore difference between the quantum of INTERNET DATA Consumption IN 2013-14 AND 2020 and what amount of Rupees millennials have been spending then , what they are spending today and at WHAT PRICE then NOW. What jobs , professions, callings were then and what new type of jobs , professions have come up and developed in last 10 years ?
    A high percentage of millenials have gone to foreign countries and aware of the stunted development of our own country that is alleged to have started when dynasty s founder JLN initiated and is still a work -in -progress since 1947.

    The psychology of the miilnnieals has changed world wide . of coarse ,They are not conservatives. They don’t attach themselves permanently with any political ideology or a particular party . Thinking of attachment to a particular FAMILY is too far fetched. HOW the grip of family based parties is being snapped can be seen in the last results of Legislative Assemblies of U.P. , Harayana, etc.

    The millenials have MORE INFORMATION on finger tips and are more brilliant in assessing the efforts made by the power that be to improve the lot of people verse lot of their own family members and own circle of friends. Of coarse , All the parties have started using Social media platforms to disseminate their political messages , But today s GENERATION is perfect in differentiating in what is FAKE and GENIUNE messages. For the likes of this author, Wake up HAVE and SHOW loyalty to the NATION, not to a FAMILY.

  8. The Print is a platform only for criticizing PM Modi …… and a platform to show the Gandhis & Congress as shining beacon.
    Who are you fooling?

  9. Comparative study of Indian PMs in the last 30 years will have to wait. Modi is still work in progress. But Narasimha Rao and Vajpayee will rank at the top of the list. Working as a prime minister of India is a very tough and thankless task. Modi has many pluses to his credit and some lacunae too. Demo is one of them. Another is being very conservative and over- cautious in initiating economic reforms. ( In my view demo was not a reform but a political gamble, which though succeeded at the polls failed miserably economically). The majority of his minuses could relate to handling of the economy. About the current China crisis, it is strictly not of his making , but yes – he could be blamed for excessively relying on optics and showmanship. These marketing gimmicks have no real value in the field of international politics. He lacked in measuring the character of Xi Zing Ping and showed more than necessary eagerness in improving trade and relationship with China- a treacherous and unreliable neighbour. But still, he many years to go, the final assessment can wait.

  10. SoniaG, RahulG & Congress have compromised national security with their secretive MoU with China CCP in 2008.
    Congress/ the G family = China Puppets …….

  11. How many psychiatrists required to change a light bulb?

    ONE. Provided the light bulb wants to change.

  12. Jyoti Yadav find another career crap writing no research backed by facts
    Paid to write Anti Modi article but lazy to do hard work
    This is the reason Print is having a negligible reader base

  13. I pity you . You seriously need to see a doctor . You are probably suffering from schizophrenia . I wish you good health .

  14. While the question poses grave concern but the answer does not lie with the primr minister of India. Solving India’s problems requires people skills and cooperation of the masses. If masses still keep up with old methods then you cant blame the PM. Even after early lockdown there are covid 19 cases because people of India believe in Jugaad. As long as this mentality exists, nobody can help the country

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