The Tribune - Spectrum

, August 11, 2002
Lead Article

How do you visualise your future in India?

India belongs to the young as its future will be shaped by them. But do the young see the country as being one that provides adequate opportunities to them to shape their future? As India turns 56 on August 15, the generation next answers the query as boldly and frankly as only it can —job scams notwithstanding.

Sumedha Gupta
24, doing M.Arch in conservation architecture

Conservation has bright prospects

Sumedha GuptaCONSERVATION architecture is an upcoming line with bright prospects. Conservation has taken off in a big way with INTACH and people now like to call in specialists for the job. Of course, apart from taking up conservation projects, I see myself doing mainstream practice too as there is a bit of a creator in all architects.

I am not interested in going abroad as I feel conservation is an area that has been overdone, overdocumented in foreign countries like Greece and Italy.

Most positive trend of past decade: Computerisation. In our field, computer-aided drawings (CAD) are a big help

Negative trend: Job opportunities have not grown much in our field, the way they have for, say, engineers or MBAs.

Role models: Personally, my dad, who is a doctor, and professionally, Charles Correa, Frank Lloyd Wright and Pierre Jeanneret.


Amandeep Singh Virk
25, An MBA, now in family business

We have a vast market to tap

Amandeep Singh VirkPERSONALLY, I have never had any aspiration of going to another country and working towards their progress. I had to choose between doing a job or joining my family business and I opted for the latter. India has all the opportunities for any youngster to do well. Even for a deserving youngster who wants to take up a comfortable job, the opportunities are abundant. My future is very bright in my own country. I have lots of markets to tap because the larger the market base, bigger the volumes.

Positive trend: A much more friendly international policy and more sops for small-time businesses.

Negative trend has been the pace at which these changes have been brought about. It just might be the case of ‘too little too late’.

Role models: Professionally, Dhirubhai Ambani and personally, Sanjay Dutt.

Amit Arora
25, working in Centurion bank, Chandigarh

Hard work pays in private sector

Amit AroraI feel there is a bright future in banking, especially in the private sector. I can visualise myself as a hardcore banker in the coming years and working my way up through lots of hard work. It is possible to achieve a lot on the basis of merit, especially in the private sector.

Yes, if I get a good break abroad, in a foreign financial institution, I’d definitely like to take it up.

Positive trend: Privatisation and globalisation, for it has led to more jobs for the youth and has opened up the economy.

Negative trend: Inflation. It is really eating into, not only middle class pockets, but also the health of other institutions. Even financial institutions have been badly hit by this.

Role models: Subhas Chandra Bose. In the present day, the Ambanis.

Parul Khullar
21, doing MA in Sociology, Panjab University

Brain drain should be reversed

Parul KhullarA lot of hard work, tough times, and maybe, some frustrations lie ahead. But I want to keep my options open. If I don’t make it to the civil services, there should be something else to fall back on. One shouldn’t have just one goal in life.

I just can’t visualise myself going abroad for studies or to work. I want to be very much here and make a mark in my own country. In fact, I feel the brain drain should be reversed. Our best brains should serve the country, at least for some years.

Most positive trend of past decade: The media revolution, the way so much information is now available, about careers, jobs, scholarships, etc, through the electronic and print media.

Negative trend: The information revolution has its flip side too. It has overexposed the youth to unsavoury things. Boys and especially girls are losing their innocence at a much younger age now.

Role models: Kiran Bedi and all other women of substance who have achieved something in their lives.

Varun Bhalla
22, executive with HDFC Bank

Foreign jobs don’t lure me

Varun BhallaI see myself working harder, doing 10 times better in the coming years. Hard work does pay in our country though the saying, “If you have a jack you can be king”, also holds true. Some amount of maska pani is needed to be successful and make it big in one’s field.

Foreign lands don’t lure me, I’m just not tempted to go abroad looking for greener pastures. I feel that if I work hard here itself I can do well.

Positive trend: The trend of banks and other private organisations recruiting fresh graduates or postgraduates is really welcome. Earlier, companies used to insist on hiring only MBAs.

Negative trend: Labour is really cheap in our country. Pay packets of junior-rung executives are really paltry compared to the time that they devote to an organisation.

Role models: I have no role models. I don’t want to take big names just for the sake of sounding great.

Neelabh Chathley
23, MA in Economics, Panjab University

Degrees and jobs are not correlated

Neelabh ChathleyRIGHT now I’m confused. I’m looking for a job, possibly in a private sector bank, but it is not easy to get. Most private banks here either don’t advertise vacancies or recruit people with sifarish. Jobs in call centres are more easily available, but with my qualifications I need a more challenging job. In our country, a mere Master’s degree doesn’t equip one to get a good job. Even after studying so much, I will have to go through more competitive tests to get a proper break.

I do want to go abroad for further studies. I have even got admission to the course on environmental economics in the University of Essex, UK, but funds are a major hurdle. There are definitely brighter career prospects for me abroad as there one has the chance of getting a break in global agencies like the IMF or World Bank, at some later stage.

Positive trend: Definitely, globalisation and privatisation as they have exposed our country to international standards.

Negative trend: The political instability and frequent change of governments. Even the present BJP government has been more interested in introducing Saraswati path in schools rather than doing much about the unemployment problem.

Role models: Personally, my late father and now my friend who is working as a senior analyst in a bank on Wall Street, USA. Among the world figures, Nelson Mandela.

Manpreet Bajwa
27, college lecturer

Not the twin towers of symmetry, but the chaos of diversity

Manpreet BajwaI truly believe that there is no place quite like India in the whole world. For one country, one nation it has more races, more languages, more religions and more social groups than any comparable corner of the globe. Communal clashes are threatening to disintegrate our cultural fabric.

Positive trend: It is time, I think for our generation of Indians to re-invest our faith in ourselves and our motherland. Even though everything appears to be in a state of permanent chaos around us. In comparison to the West, we still have human support systems, are still community-oriented, lessening the extent of neurosis.

Negative trend: Disntegration in every sphere characterised by a dismal work ethic, corruption, hypocrisy, servility (towards superiors) and tyranny (towards inferiors) but perhaps the greatest danger is the kuchch nahin ho sakta attitude.

Role models: We, Indians can be the role models for the world! As Aurobindo suggested, it is, in fact, time now for our culture to provide the corrective by formulating a “greater outward expression of spiritual and psychological oneness” a task only India is qualified to undertake because the real spiritual unity is something which “The West sees only in idea” as it does not/cannot possess its “spirit”. It is up to us to “lead the world” out of the symmetry of twin towers into the redeeming chaos of diversity.

Navtej Singh
27, Branch Manager, HDFC, Mohali

Indians have a need for emotional fulfillment

Navtej SinghTHE potential and opportunities for growth in India today are tremendous. I feel that the Indian professional world projects a very bright future for the youth today. Surely, it is not a cakewalk but who says that one gets good things for free? One’s personal calling depends upon what is one looking for in life. Is it better roads and regulated traffic? Or is it family values, a feeling of belonging?

I had an option to go to the USA on a job permit a couple of years ago. Maybe, had this option come to me six years ago, I would have jumped at it, but as one grows older (and hopefully maturer) one feels that however bad the scene may seem in India, there are a lot of positives.

Positive trend: Modernisation in India, not only in terms of industrial technology for which this term is so often used, but also in our daily lives. I remember as a young child I was crazy for brands like Levis, Nike, Adidas, Wrigleys, Coke and all sorts of things which were not available in India at that time and we used to keep on waiting for these goodies whenever someone returned from a US trip.

Negative trend: The way the population is increasing and the level of corruption is rising and affecting our day to day lives.

Role models: Professionally speaking, I am inspired by Neena Singh, the Regional Business Manager, North, HDFC Bank.

Amrita Dhingra
24, Selected for the Civil Services

The future will be what we make it

Amrita DhingraTO me, my future is inextricably linked to India’s future. I would like to think that in future India would be a modern progressive state, a land of opportunity and merit where the sky would be the limit. However, the realities that exist on the ground bring caution to any such expression of optimism. We could well be a country overrun by communalism, corruption, nepotism and bigotry, slums, illiteracy and poverty. The horrors are many. And for us not to see them would be an enormous mistake. The future, in a very real sense, would be what we make it. If we can stem the rot, develop and practise a work ethic, bring honesty, accountability and real development then there is hope. I visualise myself being a part of this struggle and shaping a bright future for our country.

Positive trend: With the era of economic reforms there has been a tremendous widening of opportunities, progress on a number of fronts such as the IT revolution, all of which have engendered a very strong “I can” attitude, especially amongst the youth.

Negative trends: The most worrisome trend is that of communalism, vote bank politics and rampant corruption.

Role models: My earliest role model was Joan of Arc. After that I have had several role models who have motivated and inspired me. They come from various walks of life—entrepreneurs, explorers, scientists, artists, authors.

Tajinder Paul Singh Walia
29, Deputy General Manager, HFCL Infotel Ltd

Every street is paved with gold

Tajinder Paul Singh WaliaI believe India virtually has every street paved with gold which is lying untapped. Anyone who can dig it up with the relevant skill-sets and self confidence, can rest assured of having a great future in India. I am sure to have a future full of opportunities and freedom to make the best of life.

Positive trend: The opening up of media and explosion of satellite TV . Now a youth in the remote village of Tarn Taran has the aspirations similar to that of a youngster in Chandigarh.

Negative trend: The lowering of levels of tolerance and increasing religion/social class-based conflicts seen during the last decade.

Role models: Any ordinary young Indian who is working towards his goals, fighting against all the odds and social inequalities that this country poses in his way

Aakanksha Sawhney
28, law graduate

Future bleak as a woman lawyer

Aakanksha SawhneyAS a woman lawyer, I find my future very bleak in India. The court environment in India is not very favourable to the growth of women in this profession. Litigants take male lawyers more seriously; they feel women lawyers are not competent enough to handle serious litigation. This is ironical in view of so many laws enacted for the welfare of women I hope the future holds more avenues and better work atmosphere for women.

Positive trend: There has been a technology (read IT) boom in India in recent times. Technocrats and IT professionals like Narayanmurthy are doing us proud.

Negative trend: The spread of education and awareness in rural India continues to be pretty dismal.

Role models: My role models have been various stalwarts from all walks of life , among them being Indira Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi.

Hardeep Singh Chandpuri
31, has done course in radio broadcasting from the USA

I’m here to launch Radio Buzz 

Hardeep Singh ChandpuriIT is basically the way you perceive it. I personaly feel that future of youth in India is not as bad as people think it is. Tell me one country that doesn’t have its share of problems. I have come back from Canada to launch Radio Buzz in Chandigarh and Punjab. I perceive the future as to be all right as radio in India is going through a major revolution. I believe, “Always dream an impossible dream to make your dreams possible.”

Positive trend: The emergence of India as a major Information Technology superpower, the telecommunication and banking revolution and the resurgence of television and radio have been the major positives.There has been the emergence of alternative careers like those of radio jockeys, video jockeys, event managers, etc.

Negative trend: In the past ten years or so the biggest negative has been the erosion of our values. Everyone in their lust for easy and quick money are leaving love, respect, brotherhood and understanding on the backburner.

Role models: My illustrious father Brig Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, MVC, VSM, our very own Ameen Sayani, the velvet voice of All India Radio, and Casey Kasem, the renowned radio personality of the USA.

Gurpreet Bhatia
29, serving in Fortis

Doctors have more options now

Gurpreet BhatiaWITH the private sector taking to the health industry in a big way, there are now more options and opportunities for doctors here in India. In the private sector there is more potential to grow, for there are fewer shortcomings in the infrastructure availability. I feel more satisfied and see a brighter future for myself in a private institution than I would in a government-run hospital.

Positive trend: The growth of the economy and privatisation, especially of the insurance sector, can be seen as a welcome step. Politics has matured in the sense that now people are more aware of politicians and of lacunas in the system.

Negative trend: There has been a marked deterioration in moral values and corruption continues to scale unparalleled heights.

Role models: As such I have no role models, but I have drawn inspiration from my father, an engineer, and my brother, an IAS officer.

Hemant Goswami
31, Author, activist and management expert

Lots to do on social front

Hemant GoswamiAS an economic being, the future scenario does not seem very hopeful since I am keen to make an honest living and do not want to burden my conscience with any kind of guilt. As a social activist, the prospects are very bright, for there is so much to do. As an aspiring non-fiction, meaningful writer, I’m quite optimistic and confident about the future. A lot of people are developing interest in meaningful writing. I’m quite hopeful and upbeat and would like to live in India.

Positive trend: Economic liberalisation spells hope. Besides, with the advent of the age of information, the world has shrunk further.

Negative trend: The open contempt for lawful authorities and disregard for law (even by top government officials).

Role models: My role model is a hypothetical figure, who’s a little more than Plato’s philosopher king.