What is the role of youth towards self-sustenance in rural India?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are a couple of responses that could be made here.  One could argue Status Quo, in that the youth really have no responsibility towards self- sustenance of rural India.  It can be argued that this problem was not created by the youth.  It was not the youth that decided to consciously not invest in technologies to help the rural component of India, a vast majority of the nation.  It was not the youth's problem that politicians and business people were able to manipulate government policy to favor liberalized practices that favored commerce and urbanization under the guise of "globalization." It could be argued that the youth's role is not one to have to take the burden of self- sustenance of rural India.  It has been an argument that has been manipulated into other ways.  Those who have chosen a path of economic self- interest use this argument to preclude any discussion of responsibility towards Indian enhancement at the cost of self- interested pursuits.

However, the reality is that majority of India is rural.  The cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, and Kolkata do not comprise most of India.  India is a rural nation.  As long as those areas do not experience self- sustenance, there will be a lag between what India can do and what is presently does.  Self- sustenance for rural India is going to lie in new technologies and approaches being taught,  adopted, and absorbed.  This is most likely going to lie in the young people who are able to experience more education.  As the movement towards universal education becomes an increasing reality in India, young people being exposed to more ideas and greater innovation methods and techniques will be the source of where self- sustenance of rural India lies.  It is here were change can happen and will happen.

I think that the role of youth in this process cannot be forced or mandated.  As said earlier, the condition of rural India in regards to not being able to develop self- sustenance as well as the lag between rural and urban India is not their fault.  If there is a role for youth in this process, it will lie in the notion of sacrifice.  Young people will have to recognize a sense of sacrifice within them that will enable them to place self- interest in its proper context and offer back to the rural condition that is both a part of them and their land.  I think that the example of Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi is representative of this.  A young couple who went to America to make their money, they return to India in order to develop electricity for rural schools that lacked it.  Inspirations for the film Swades, this sense of sacrifice is where the role of the youth lie in being able to develop the new technologies and habits of mind and practice that will allow self- sustenance in rural India.  As Indians progress with lightning speed towards a more globalized reality, at some point, there will have to be a reckoning that what they do must benefit someone other than themselves in order to see the rural section of India experience these benefits.

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