t will not be wrong to call India a nation of bustling young people. If we look at the demographics, roughly half of Indian population is under the age of 25. That makes our country a formidable young energy. But is the youth putting this energy to its best use?
Ambiguous, subjective, tangled, intractable yet empathetic, conclusive, primed and adaptable; Indian youth is fickle in their disposition. Multiple, and often mingled, moods of youth create a fertile base for a media-market complex to sway them in desired direction. Their postmodern attitudinal landscape creates ‘whatever’ and ‘now’ culture that contests the training Indian youth typically receive in societal and educational establishments. They are hybrid in their ideology, relative in their behaviour and tangled in their spirituality. Reaching this fickle young generation is a challenge as well as an opportunity for the church and youth ministries in India.
THE ‘WHATEVER’ ATTITUDE
The anti-absolute campaign of postmodernism—vividly propagated by music, movies, ads, other digital media, and the peer group—has become a cultural landscape for today’s youth. The postmodern worldview has unveiled new trends among youth; like sex without rules, materialism, rise of substance abuse, risk-taking behaviour and violence, increase of depression and suicide, muddled spirituality, etc. Postmodern youth consider truth and morality are both personal and social construct. These notions have brought epistemological and behavioural change among the urban youth.
‘Whatever’ is not just a slang for the postmodernist, it has become a way of life. More than their behaviour, their wardrobes, relationships, social media updates, etc., define the youth.
The ‘just do it’ culture has created an impatient and ‘live now’ generation. This generation is entertainment-oriented and lives in the virtual world. Virtual reality has taught them that everything is attainable. Media and market also endorse instant personal gratification. Young people feel that knowledge is not something to be gained and stored for future, rather it must serve an immediate and practical purpose. Their choices of experiences, however, are contingent on media, market and peer groups. Their pursuit of experience sometimes make the youth vulnerable to substance abuse, violence, illicit acts and immoral lifestyle.
PITFALLS OF POSTMODERN HYBRIDITY
Indian youth have multiple choices. They want to keep themselves up with the latest trends but, at the same time, the concern to preserve their cultural heritage influences their choices. While they comfortably fit in the pub and party culture at night, they celebrate religious festivals and rituals with equal ease the next morning. Postmodern hybridity sanctions such compartmentalised lifestyle.