As a part of my profession, I write research reports on Indian economy. One of the key USPs of Indian economy that we (economists/analysts) sell is the country's demography. India has and will continue to have one of the largest pools of working population, the way our demographic structure is. However, I always end this point in my reports by specifying that the policy makers and think-tank will have to exploit this talent pool by ensuring that the youth is skilled and educated. That’s obviously a big challenge in a country as vast as ours. However, this post is exactly on this point – as to how each one of us could make things happen in a small but sure way.
I happened to witness a small incident today. Something that I have seen many times in the past and I am sure most might have witnessed in this city. A group of some 10-year old slum children were playing on the road. Soon after, some petty argument broke out and the children grouped up to fight. All of it was quite normal. What happened after that is also quite normal, unfortunately. A couple of them started abusing each other using the F-words in Hindi. Those words sound so yucky, more so when coming out from children. Clearly, the children were uneducated and came from backgrounds that are not conducive to their ideal development.
I remember another incident that happened few months back. I was at a teaching centre of one of the NGOs at Byculla. There was this little kid of about 11-12 years. I asked him his name to which his reply was Ridhiman. I did not get that clearly the first time, so I asked him to repeat it. He did so. Again, not very clear. The third time I asked him, he patiently repeated his name and then added “Teacher-didi kehti hai ki hamari pehchaan hamare naam se nahi, kaam se honi chahiye”. I could not say anything sensible after that. At that moment, I felt I really could not have added value to that kid.
The difference between the two kids mentioned above is education and values. Of course, many educated people are also filthy and stupid, but that does not take away the fact that every child deserves quality education. If their families are not able to provide it for whatever reasons – that of ability or willingness, it does not render the children undeserving.
In my last post, I had mentioned that I can feel a sense of renaissance that’s sinking upon the people that surround me on a daily basis. I teach a young crowd of anywhere between 18 and 22 years doing Chartered Accountancy and an inspiring proportion of them do have a facet in their personality that is already (at this age) willing to think and act for the under-privileged. The skeptics might say that it is their young age that makes them feel so and with age, the ‘soda-water-spirit’ would fizz out. I do not think so, but that is quite another aspect.
I believe it’s a wonderful trend that should emerge and sustain. It will go a long way in re-balancing opportunities among the privileged and under-privileged. Slowly but surely, as I said in my earlier posts, things will change. Let us all be the change agents and make a difference to the world around us. And not just to our personal lives and those of our loved ones. Let’s expand our universe of people we care for and want to do something for. Let’s be a little less selfish and see around for opportunities that we can handle.
Let’s create a better world.