India’s youth today are whiling away their time in needless pursuits, much like the actors in this song.
The politically-searing song Haal Chaal Thik Thak Hai from the Bollywood movie Mere Apne, which talks about rising unemployment, should become the anthem of the youth in Narendra Modi’s India.
Forty-seven years after Gulzar penned this song, the angst of the educated and unemployed Indian youth highlighted in this fine movie remains relevant.
As we celebrate the 72nd Independence Day, Prime Minister Modi and the opposition leaders, especially Congress president Rahul Gandhi, should listen to this song. After all, 2019 elections are less than nine months away and, despite attempts to polarise voters, the youth will go to the polling booths with the issue of jobs on top of their mind.
India’s youth are whiling away their time in needless pursuits, much like the actors in this song. The only difference is that in 1971, even BA and MA degrees were considered qualifications good enough to fetch a job, while today an MPhil and a PhD may not be enough.
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A few years ago, when the Uttar Pradesh government advertised 368 posts of peons at a monthly salary of Rs 16,000, 23 lakh unemployed youth applied for the job. Among them, 250 applicants were PhD holders.
But, let’s not fret.
“The heaven of freedom” that Rabindranath Tagore imagined for us, and the nation that Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel shaped for us, is yet to have its ‘Tryst with Destiny’.
“The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman,” Nehru said in his historic speech.
Crime against women, child abuse, ill-planned agriculture (if you can name the current agriculture minister of this country without doing a Google search, pat yourself on the back) and chronic unemployment have dogged the nation.
Despite the tall promise on providing jobs, Modi government has achieved precious little. So little, one presumes, that even the data on job creation has gone missing along with the promised jobs. While we are now the sixth-largest economy in the world, our per capita income and human development rankings tell a different story altogether – we are actually behind many of our neighbours on most social indicators.
The list of woes doesn’t end there.
Minorities and the marginalised groups like the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes do not feel as secure as they should; the rupee is fighting a losing battle against the dollar and is just five (rupees-per-dollar) shy of the BJP Margdarshak Mandal age of 75 years; migration to cities from villages in search of livelihood continues unabated; and our foreign policy is in tatters. Further, the superrich are selling everything and shifting abroad in search of better opportunities and security; the rich who have robbed our country’s banks have been allowed to escape the law and have obtained citizenship in other countries while farmers and the poor continue to face the wrath of the same banks and investigating agencies for loans that are not even a fraction of what a Vijay Mallya or a Nirav Modi owes.
Institutional autonomy of the three pillars of democracy – Judiciary, Legislature and Executive – has been compromised. And the perception that the government is the Big Brother-that-watches-and-controls-everything is all-pervasive.
But, there’s still no need to worry or think of abandoning the ship called Bharat.
India will survive, and all is not lost. In an interview to ThePrint, former Supreme Court judge Jasti Chelameswar said, “Hitler wasn’t permanent & neither is this phase in Indian Supreme Court”. What he said in context of the top court can also hold for the country, in general.
Gulzar also made it amply clear in the ‘Haal Chaal Thik Thak Hai’ song – “Kaam nahi hai varna yahan, aap ki dua se sab theek thaak hai”!
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