Somini Sengupta

India has the largest number of young people in the world. Forty percent of the population is under the age of twenty. And New York Times journalist Somini Sengupta says young Indians are changing their country profoundly with demands for economic opportunity and social equity. Part memoir, part political history, Sengupta’s book “The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young,” explores the barriers and hopes of this dynamic new generation.

Young People Will Set New Course for India, Says Author Somini Sengupta 22 March,2016forum

Somini Sengupta, United Nations bureau chief for the New York Times; author of "The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India's Young"

  • Citizen2791

    What is happening in this segment? First segment was very enlightening. I just returned from a three month trip to India; [showing off my freshly minted PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from Penn State! I came to USA in 1972 from India and am living in the Bay Area since 1979!]

    • Citizen2791

      The intro to the segment states “…. equality is to be found NO WHERE! ….” Attention grabbing, may be, but disappointing!

      • PS

        I was surprised how Ms Sengupta described the mob lynching at Dadri in State of UP and how she was describing the the loss in elections in State of Delhi and Bihar.

        Mob Lynching has happened in Kerela and Karnataka and even in Mumbai, but the difference was that the victims in those cases were not muslims.

        She did not describe how BJP got into power in several other states. She was trying to be a salesman of her book.

        • Citizen2791

          Being sales(wo)man was expected of her; The segment should have a focus and keep the guest honest!

  • Dhan_c

    Is the Indian government succeeding in creating employment opportunities for the young?

    • Citizen2791

      How would you answer the above question with respect to our own government?

  • Noelle

    What about the Hindu ultranationalists in the BJP?

    • Citizen2791

      What about them? By the way, what about the Trump voters (using your lingo – American White/Christian ultranationalists) in the GOP?

      • Noelle

        I would like to know about the ultranationalist Trump voters too.

        • Citizen2791

          Word “Hindu” was incorrect, inappropriate and offensive in your initial question. I am a “born” Hindu. Peace.

  • Bob

    I appreciate the sunny optimism shared by the author and many callers, I work in an industry that outsources legal work to young Indian professionals and I get it. But please understand that these positives you discuss are being dragged down by a government rife with corruption, a history of colonialism and self imposed segregation, and a society that needs to be modernized at the most basic level, before you can build the next iphone or electric car you must address basic health, safety, and education needs. India is America in about 1916, there is much to be done and then and only then will we see the global impact you speak of. In fact this miracle younger generation will be old before we even nick the surface of these needs.

  • Citizen2791

    People in India’s preference for fairer skin color is completely different from preference for black/ white. Their preference is for different shades of brownness????.

  • PS

    People preach India about tolerance and all. Not too far in history, you can read about Eugenics in USA and brutal killing of Jews across the Europe. A lot of religions originated in India, and a lot other religions like Islam and Christianity have also been able to find a place in the same place. Hindus were the native people of India and Indian Culture is predominately the ancient Hindu Culture; whether is Yoga, Kamasutra or Karma.

    But how many people know that India have witnessed several holocausts and none of them have been executed by Hindus.

    Ms Sengupta talked about lob lynching in State of UP, but there have been several other incidents of mob lynching by people of other religions. To associate them to a religion and show other religion a victim is what Indian politicians do; and now seeing writers joining it is miserable.

    India is the only country where Muslims get Government Aide for Haz to Saudi Arabia while the so called majority community has no such privilege. India is the only country where there is no common civil code; the government allows people to follow their religion’s personal law.

    Yet West blames India for intolerance.

    Yes, the society has problems, it has poverty and it has underdeveloped civic infrastructure…but the country has a great culture, immense humanity and far striking knowledge.

  • I would like to read Somini’s new book, “The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young.”

    As a life long educationist from a state of India, Bihar, I can foresee the future for the forty percent of the population under the age of twenty the book appears to be talking about.

    Those very few who belonged to affluent families could have afforded privately funded better education, the rest would have languished in government schools staffed by untrained, demotivated, over-politicized, private-coaching-oriented and corrupt teachers.

    Out of school, they may be qualified but will be under-employed: for example, an engineer by education, but working in a bank as a teller! Automation at work and production places, lack of growth, corruption in government, and constant political fights over “reservation” in jobs and education would further rob young people of adequate job opportunities.

    Yes, there will be some young, gifted and smart who will make their own future, but not because we the generations ahead of them have paved the way.

    Also, what may distinguish them from our generation is their readiness to disregard ethics, social norms and rule of law. For example, in many parts of India, young boys don’t consider wearing a helmet while riding a motor-bike, observing traffic or speed regulation, keeping a valid driver license or insurance or buying tickets for local commute are necessary.

    If the local administration stands up to them, it will have to face the fury of mob attacks. Civic sense is lost in the stampede of population. It was reported Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNUSU president recently in the news for associating himself with elements raising anti-national slogans and a product of the new generation, was once fined by the JNU administration for urinating in the open. He reportedly argued with a lady who objected to his conduct. Obviously, he was not trained in the social etiquette and also growing up he might not have found enough urinals around him.

    Not finding enough prospects for jobs, a sizable section of the new generation will fall for short-cuts to money-making activities; they may become easy recruits for dishonest ideologues, politicians, traffickers or even extremist or terrorist outfits.

    I wish that shouldn’t be the future; but, unfortunately, our society is headed that way.

  • Siva Subramaniam

    Somini Sengupta ‘ A columnist I follow with avid interest has written presciently about the non urban India life in ways that informs and illuminate the curious and diasporic reader, very well. One of the first to dwell into India from a western columnist standpoint without belittling or stroking cynical thoughts and condescension. Given that backdrop, I still think her DNA /family upbringing tends to limit her thought process in assessing and culling outlooks based on observations and facts. India’s two century old elitism in class created by the needs of Raj Administration operation has a still overarching influence in Indian social stature growth, mobility and significance.
    Well, for many a sample of India’s population like Somini’s parents and India’s first generation Post Independence Public and Govt organization employee, their reach and understanding of the Indian Social milieu was very very narrow and parochial. The reason is in India even after 12 degrees of separation there was no way of connecting the bottom 20 % sample to the top .3 % of the Indian population. That precluded true understanding of India’s large masses real needs, real context and ways to move forward. Having considered that, What is of essence especially in places where the health, basic literacy and hunger needs are are extricated from the crushes of economic and soicla chance, the real growth of the people’s forward progress has been nothing short of monumental and transformative.. To substantiate what I am saying, Let me remove the glorification of world’s outrageous diseases from the assessment standpoint like measles, smallpox and tuberculosis and leprosy, and get to the nitty gritty of real daily needs and health factor enablement across population strands. We have this extraordinary growth in people able to get basic grocery provisions, basic food needs at School for school age children, basic needs of fuel and other essential requirements delivered consistently to reach a staging point where in spite of nature’s whismicalness, Government’s incompetence, Public worker and politician’s canny to loot and fool people, we have growth more than double of what France and England and the rest of Europe achieved in first 70 years post Industrial revolution. Now the other thing to keep in mind is the social contract of largely decent,tolerant and nonthreatening attributes that the people have that is even more striking as a shining example that has to be shown to the world over and over again. All along our population has been more than Africa, Europe and South America equivalent but our problems because of people’s differences and divisions have been miniscule. That is why the analysis and the estimate of people with legacy worldview shaped by different vantage points do not have much currency or value in India. And looking for samples of a handful from a population such large seems ill imagined and devised and any story or plot can be developed from how one construes and frames opinion to then justify what we are synthesizing in our assessment. This is where I diverge from Somini Sengupta
    India’s true currency across the social spectrum is ambitious hope, and the tools that individuals and the system is co-creating in spite of crisscrossing fault lines has opportunity, effort, education acquisition as its three legs to construct a great society out of it.
    Most of India will not even consider this book’s assessment as anything of potent value; On the contrary they will fully ingest and reflect to take away messages from
    video works by that dwells into issues a nd societal traps with great resonance. I for one loved this new docu movie “Mod by Pushpa rawat” and some well written reviews are here.

    Maybe that will help the Indian american and the Delhi based media columnists(genuine ones, news personalities( canny types) and media peddlers( the utterly untrustworthy and useless ones).
    So , going forward as no one envisioned a country of 1.25 billion people coexisting and striving to be economically and socially emancipated, we may also never get the assessments right about how good or great India will become in spite of it’s foibles and faults over the next 1-2 decades.

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