Being Mindful In Times Of Paranoia
The modern generation is often questioned,whether they are capable of going beyond their own selfish interests? To be fair to the critics – given the signaling the inference drawn may not be totally off-target, many times
Consumerism has found its sweet spot with young people today and arguably, they are the first generation of Indians who have access to such sophisticated technology which wasn’t even conceivable earlier. Does it make them vain and narcissistic?
Well, the CAA (Citizenship Ammendment Act) changed that perception almost in a whiplash. As the bill got passed in both the Houses, students took to the streets. of course, there’s nothing extraordinary about students protesting and it’s happened even in the early 1900s when India was not independent. Over the century, particularly during Mandal Commission days in the 1990s, we’ve seen the ugly turn of things too.
Protesting, without causing harm to life and property is a right that all citizens enjoy and who can argue against it? Moreover, when every other door seemingly shuts, it’s mankind’s last resort, often proving to be potent.
Students’ protest is unique. For one, they are expected to be better informed about the issue and secondly, there’s a high element of idealism – even with the cynical lot. That’s why they are students – while learning the rules theymay not have experienced the gross violations and total disregard which piggybacks on unbridled power.
Today, information and misinformation are vying for the same mindshare. Social media makes it easier for the latter to expand outreach in double- quick time. After all, why would humans read up copious texts from credible sources when “all of it” can be accessed in the form of infographics, or so many believe? The information shared is often misleading, bearing the bias of the creator.
Are you adequately & rightly informed?
The power of the visual medium works as a drug and quickly reiterates the belief that one started with, in the first place. “Viral”, naturally earns the badge of legitimacy in process, to influence impressionable minds. The case against fake news is very strong buteven sensible people fall prey. It may be argued that the need for instant gratification, lulls the mind from questioning and distilling truth from falsehood. Why go through the rigour?
Again, this is not to discredit the efforts of the protesters – as long as things are peaceful. All meant here is, be fully informed about the subject and then ask yourself whether you want to be “seen” as part of the crowd. Do not blindly go for a protest march because your best friend believes you should – as a token of loyalty and not necessarily driven by ideology.
In turn, misinformed people, typical of herd mentality, join the bandwagon and end up on the wrong side of the law. The Act per se isn’t what it’s made out to be (I am aware of the powerful arguments from the opposition) and I won’t be surprised that many young people have participated in the backlash without fully comprehending its provision. How many have even bothered to read the bare Act?
There’s a strong reason for saying this. India is one of the few countries which has a demographic dividend – 65 percent of Indians today are less than 35 years of age. The future beckons those who can tap into these unexplored opportunities to be part of a generation that created history. Why squander it for something which you either don’t believe in or know very little about.
The time & place!
Secondly, our digital footprints are all being archived somewhere whether we like it or not. With sophisticated data mining tools, any information can be extracted with a few.clicks. Ask yourself, is this how I want to be seen in a few years from now? Ask once again and do yourself a favour.
Campus days will not last forever. Our actions today, may well be used against us at a later point in time.
To sum up, read. Read a lot. Read from genuine sources. Talk to informed people and then form your opinion on how you want to go about it. If you must take a risk, then please do it for a worthy cause and with eyes wide open.
This article was first published in the print version of January 2020 issue.