“Youth is wasted on the young”.
— George Bernard Shaw
All you have to do is put together a bunch of anxious muscle men and make a politically motivated swift-mouth, sprinkle salt-and-pepper on a nascent theory to prove their might. Any issue would do. With less brain and more brawn, it is easier to manoeuvre men into mindless action. Subodh Biswas would know. He’s been alleged to have single-handedly led young men living in Silapathar for years, to ransack the local AASU Office and damage the monuments of Assam’s noted leaders and revered personalities.
It takes less than a minute to charge up young boys to do something that engages brutish power in demolishing something. In creating something or servicing someone though, they are less likely to be as vigorous. Say, to build a road or a house or to push a cart or a rickshaw, they’d be peeved that you even asked them. They’d rather wile away time, playing carrom on the roadside. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when drunken brawls involving teenaged boys occur. They have learnt from their environs that being a man means – ‘Hulk, Smash!’
To a great extent, the media also leverages such behaviour. We have seen Breaking News of thieves being hit and kicked by people in front of the camera. We have seen school teachers being slapped or accosted by a group of parents while the camera kept rolling in their shame. You see, people love the drama of a fist-banging or finger-pointing altercation. That’s why Bigg Boss is such a hit! Young people, growing up watching such phenomena cannot conceive a better way to voice themselves but wrecking and making a fuss.
There was a recent story on a local news channel, discouraging aspiring Cottonians because Cottonians ravage government lodge and vandalise property (not necessarily in that order). I’ll not lie, I did wince at the way the news coverage loosely dropped the idea of why Cotton College isn’t golden anymore. I believe this –
- First up, report what happened — Young men from Cotton College vandalise property — covering the ‘Who’, ‘Where’ and ‘What’ without saucing up a theory.
- Secondly, nobody asked your opinion whether we should send our kids to Cotton or not. So drop views and cover news.
- Thirdly, if you have to ask at all, ask this –
- Why did undergraduate college boys imagine that they could get away with robbing a store?
- Who offered them the confidence or protection to commit such an act?
The last question begs an answer, in fact; because according to the latest update, three boys directly connected to the incident were arrested and almost immediately got bail.
Coming back to the vandalising, it isn’t only Cottonians who can do such things. Anyone who is impressionable and drunk enough to get into a brawl thinks he’s a boss. This is a telling symptom of any misguided youth, not just a misguided Cottonian. Several such stories surface every day, in the daily news bulletins. It doesn’t matter who promotes it, but youth in our state dares to disobey because of many things — one of them being, powerful patronage. More so, if they are unemployed and clueless about where to earn easy money. From giving muscle to unconstitutional affairs and personal vendettas, they do it all for a few quick bucks. But it’s time we stop it and think anew.
Testosterone, whether garbed in literacy or illiteracy ought to step away from the WWE routine. It is a driving energy and can yield much better results than chaos and arrests. I have seen imminent militants turning over and taking the spiritual light in an ashram at Sarthebari. I have watched interviews of inspired youths in Guwahati growing their own produce while doing theatre and fighting for their right to showcase Assamese films. I have also seen a passionate green activist with his hordes of equally motivated followers, cultivating organic farms of grocery imports (like celery, oregano, etc.) in Pabhoi, Biswanath Chariali.
Other than the regard for fear-inducing power, money is a potent driving force in young people. And of course, it is. We all work for money. It is what makes us jump from one job to another. Young people are out for profit or for fun, seldom considering the repercussions of either. Keeping that in mind, we could plan creative projects in industry, agriculture and environment, culture and heritage etc., on a small scale and employ both unemployed and idle youths for a lucrative package. Recruiting their spirit and strength in a productive activity can hone their skills as well as save us from ‘lazy child syndrome’. Keeping honest gatekeepers to tame the piping hot energy levels, goes without saying.
Besides, money isn’t a bad denominator, as regards constructive projects. Central funds, anyone? All we have to do is re-siphon the crores of funds which disappear on their way to the work front and remonetize the economy for a greater good. Moreover, payment for creating rather than destroying can set a new tone for our economy. All it needs is meticulous planning, dollops of patience and a religion of honest philanthropy to utilise our taxes.