City students in Khapistan
Sankara Narayanan | 28 Jan 2015

A survey, Yuva Nagarik Meter, was conducted by Children's Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA), a Bengaluru-based NGO, covering about 10,000 high-school and college students from 11 cities across the country.

The study covered 6,168 students and 757 social science teachers from 330 high schools and 4,374 students from 220 junior colleges across 11 state capitals, including six metro cities (Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata) and five non-metro cities (Bhopal, Jaipur, Lucknow, Patna and Guwahati).

The idea behind the survey –– was not only to find out whether the young Indians knew and understood what democracy truly meant and to also show how these youngsters were growing up and what values and attitudes they possessed pertaining to Rights & Responsibilities, Democratic Governance, Adherence to Civic Rules, Gender Equality, Diversity & Social Justice and Environmental Conservation etc.

Furthermore, the NGO also wanted to see the effect of formal education on youth and hence   two types of student groups were chosen – one from schools and the other from junior college.

The survey threw up many shockers.There are alarmingly negative attitudes of youth across the country towards democracy and social diversity.

Around 67% of college students said India should have only one strong political party at the Centre to rule the entire country and 53% students agreed that military should rule India for some years. 'The state the country is in, we need an authoritative leader. We need someone who tells us what to do', said a student. 74% do not know that legislature is responsible for enacting laws.

However, there were others who held the opposite point of view. "I am disappointed. We will be the future generation, driving the country in different fields. We have to go to our roots and eliminate these things," said a student at the Welingkar Institute. But they are in a minority.

According to Yuva Nagarik Meter, the overall democratic citizenship score of young India is merely 21%. The report also shows that non-metro cities fare better than metro cities in the aggregate scores.

This shows that the youth do not have a critical appreciation of the liberties and freedom one enjoys in a democracy. It shows the cynicism and disillusionment with the political scenario, but doesn't justify the preference for an authoritarian government or military rule.

The survey shows a wide prevalence of gender-biased attitudes and stereotypes among the young population of urban India. According to the findings: around 39% girls and 43% boys agreed that women had no choice but to accept a certain degree of violence, while 52% agreed that the main role of women was to do household chores and raise children.

On issues such as eve-teasing and sexual harassment, fifty-five per cent students in the age group of 15 to 19 agree that the way women dress and behave provokes men.

36% girls and 44% boys admit that dowry is a practice in the community and feel they should accept it. 65% of students favour prohibiton of meeting between boys and girls belonging to different religions at public places.

Around 50% students across the country and 62% students in Mumbai showed intolerance towards migrant workers from other states. 45% social science teachers agree that in urban areas most problems are caused by migrants.

At the same time, 43% students said it was alright to violate rules because one could always get away by bribing official, while 38% said it was fine to violate rules because the penalty was small," the survey said.

The youth are supposed to be idealistic. Yet there is no compassion or even wisdom in their thoughts and attitudes. Forget the political parties. It's the parents, the teachers and the young people themselves who are at fault. If you are not open to new ideas, not able to introspect and willing to question age old beliefs, you are doomed as a generation.

Most views expressed by the youth are utterly extra-constitutional and shockingly undemocratic; against gender equality, secular ethos, social justice, human rights, basic civility and rule of law.

The findings establish two things very clearly. One: The type of education being imparted to the youth in our educational institutions. Two: Country mirrors the rulers. By rulers, I mean the politicians, bureaucrats, judges, industrialists, businesspersons, professionals, teachers and God men.

Acharya Kripalani once told, ''Gandhiji made men out of clay''. Perhaps our modern rulers create clay out of men.