Image Source: The Atlantic

There’s a saying that goes like this— We did not inherit our future from our ancestors, we have borrowed it from our children. It rings true, time and again, as I sit around my mildly accepting family bicker indirectly about the current generation a.k.a my generation for being too forward, too needy, for asking for too much freedom. And when I politely challenge their claims, the standard reply is, “Hamare time mein aisa kuch nahi tha. Hamari vajah se tum logon ko ye sab kuch mil raha hai aur tum logon ko iski koi keemat nahi.”

While I roll my eyes and leave the room, proving my presumed indignation, I also resolve to continue this argument at a time when there’s someone to listen. I say so because the stem of this conversation emerges from the idea that the current generation, India’s youth, is selfish and demands the world without doing much— a statement that is untrue and unfair.

We bear the brunt of a generation that came before that has made house rents and standards of living skyrocket to the point that we struggle to make ends meet on measly salaries that those very people hand out to us. Often, we’re expected to work for free, as if a job is too big to give to someone who rightfully graduated and got a degree through sheer effort. Moreover, convenience is their favorite card so when we genuinely speak for ourselves, we’re given another standard dialogue of “That’s what the world is like.” If that’s what the world is like, explain to me how my mother found a well-paying job right out of college at 23 while I at 23 do three jobs to support myself because doing one job doesn’t pay me well enough.

The selfishness India’s youth harbors doesn’t come out of spite or a need to prove anything to anyone. It comes out of wanting a better future for themselves. Sure, they might be in their twenties and not sure of everything but that doesn’t mean they aren’t sensitive and capable of noticing that the world they live in is deteriorating in every which way— from employment and having a thriving livelihood to the climate and the impending doom of the presumed end of the world because everything’s heating up and terrorism along with religious propaganda only grows by the day.

The selfishness of India’s youth is accurate and necessary. It is necessary because there is nobody else who will stand up for the things every human deserves— the right to love whoever they choose, the right to make a healthy living, the right to feel safe and secure and above all, the right to make a future that looks better and brighter than the world they’ve lived in so far.