Bub­bling Un­der

Young, in­no­va­tive, cre­ative. These men and women are part­ners in the ex­per­i­ment that is In­dia.

India Today - - INSIDE - by Mehraj D. Lone

He can fix bro­ken dreams, ful­fil be­trayed prom­ises, sat­isfy frus­trated as­pi­ra­tions. He can fill the vac­uum left by the an­cient demons of com­mu­nity and class. He is young, as is fit­ting for a na­tion 65 per cent of whose pop­u­la­tion is un­der 35 and 150 mil­lion of whose 814 mil­lion vot­ers will ex­er­cise their bal­lot for the first time in the Lok Sabha polls this year.

He is Mustafa Hashmi, whose 21-year-old be­ing was so torn by the sight of a man scroung­ing for food in a drain that he de­voted him­self to giv­ing suc­cour to those who can’t af­ford even one meal a day. She is Pankhuri Shri­vas­tava, 24, who, wiser from her own un­pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ences, re­solved to make mov­ing homes in the Max­i­mum City a less dread­ful prospect; her re­solve tak­ing the shape of In­dia’s first free room­mate search en­gine. She is Deepti Doshi, 32, who is help­ing ex­tend the ben­e­fits of le­gal and elec­toral pro­cesses to ur­ban In­dia’s marginalised masses. They can make only a small, im­per­cep­ti­ble dif­fer­ence by them­selves. But all of them to­gether can, through their own ef­forts and by in­spir­ing oth­ers, take In­dia closer to ful­fill­ing the prom­ise of the Mid­night Hour.

“In­dian so­ci­ety has al­ways been blessed with people seek­ing un­con­ven­tional modes of be­ing cre­ative and trans­for­ma­tive. Think of the ex­tra­or­di­nary in­di­vid­u­als in the Bhakti move­ment, the free­dom strug­gle or the post-1960s so­cial move­ments,” says Chan­dan Gowda, who teaches so­ci­ol­ogy at Azim Premji Univer­sity in Ban­ga­lore. Through cre­ative acts of in­no­va­tion and dis­sent that ex­pand democ­racy, these Young Yearn­ers are part­ners in the on­go­ing ex­per­i­ment that is In­dia.

Pho­to­graph by SHYAM SHARMA

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