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T20: Tweens and Twenty-Something

This article is about the generation falling under the age group that can be best described as the first-time voters during the 2009 elections plus the ones who would be ready to vote for the next 2014 elections – so Thirteen to Twenty something and hence “Generation T20”.

This T20 generation is all about - I, Me & Myself - My Mobile, My I-Pod, My Playlist, My Network, My Games (Online and Play station), My attitude, My Freedom (?). What is completely missing from the list is: My Country, My Culture, My Society, My Locality, My Family, My Values and above all My Character. This may sound like a very strong negative comment to the extent of being unfair to this Innocent, Naive and young generation of T20, but unfortunately this is a reality. Quoting from TOI, March 29th 2009 issue, an article in its supplement on this generation described as being: “Angry & Loving it, Manipulative, Aggressive and Bitchy!!! Further it says, according to a survey finding, 42% Boys and 45% girls in the age group of 17 to 25 years agree what goes on Reality Shows is REALITY. It’s cool to be rude.” I do not find these attributes / comments in this survey as anything positive at all, in fact they are rather disturbing and thought provoking.

It would be very unfair to generalize and include each and every T20 citizen into this category but the majority clearly determines and indicates this trend. There always are exceptions and they deserve to be excluded from being hyphenated in this majority of the degenerated T20 breed of Young India. Also it is the quality of parenting that is the reflection of this degeneration of T20 over the years.

Here is the story of a T20 – Sidharth Krishnan - please visit or simply Google “sidharth krishnan+nasa” to see at least a dozen search results on his recent work submitted to NASA, that has brought him this international recognition. Sidharth, I call him Syd, is all of 12th Grade and has made his country and his parents proud. The reason why I quote him as a case-study here is due to the fact that I personally know his last school in Chennai (SBOA) and his parents (Savitha & Unni) so very well and hence am fully aware of their respective contributions. Just like every other student of SBOA, Syd had started getting tensed-up and preparing for the long & uncertain journey towards writing the IIT, with absolutely no guarantee of making it through, not because he was not capable but because of the fact that every capable student does not make it to these top courses anymore. In the meanwhile, he earned a merit scholarship and migrated to Singapore for higher schooling – not because he wanted to stay away from writing an IIT or just stay overseas for fun (that is where he had spent a part of his childhood already). But purely due to the fact that he wanted to pursue what he actually liked and that is PHYSICS. Had he tried doing it here, he would have been simply branded as one cranky teenager, out of sync with the reality and the rest of the crowd. But clearly, this T20 had his plans well laid out, was determined to pursue his passion and was successful in doing so and how. Once he was placed in an educational environment that is: Top Quality, Offer Freedom to Choose, Fair to all with equal opportunity – he pulled it through with hard work, focus, passion and of course, with his parents support & guidance!!

In a country of about 160 Million T20, it would not be very difficult to find a few thousands like Syd. Even on the same page as the NASA link above, there are at least 4 other Students of Indian origin apart from Syd. This is not a one-off story, every year students of Indian origin show up not only in this NASA but many more such lists. Why are we not capable of providing, mentoring & tutoring these young talents with all the required educational resources and climate here in India? Why do they need to leave their parents & family behind and go overseas to fulfil their dreams and pursue their careers of choice and passion? India is supposed to be a Knowledge Powerhouse and we proudly score points over China on this one. Clearly there are huge gaps and loopholes in our pathetic education system that refuses to offer any freedom to chose, pursue one’s career out of passion and in-built strengths and capabilities. This country needs to produce much more than mediocre and low quality Engineers and Doctors in thousands of numbers every year.

Unfortunately, this agenda still does not show up anywhere on top of the national priority. On the contrary, we continue to witness ever growing and lucrative business models out of Higher Education (read Privatized and Low Quality Engineering and Medical Colleges) every year, delivering mediocre and poor quality professionals. For example, one of the leading Engineering colleges from South, has just wrapped up a 6 months duration semester course within 40 Days, for whatever the reasons best known to the management. A 40 days semester can only produce engineers & doctors of that calibre – half cooked and half baked.

This brings us back to the same oft-repeated agenda of Primary Education & Education System. Schooling, Education and its Content during the formative years of 6 to 16 should remain on top of every National Policy & Funding as that alone can help build top quality National Human Capital, in the form of Patriotic, Self Respecting and Healthy citizens with strong Moral and Ethical character, with top quality knowledge and vocational skill set. Of course good parenting will always be as important and a common denominator.

By the year 2020, average age of India is expected to be 29 years - working age population of India is expected to grow by 47 Million plus - if the basic issue of quality of this lot is not addressed on top most priority TODAY, the biggest ever problem that India would face 10 years hence would that be of a weak and poorly educated Human Capital. India therefore needs a complete restructuring of its education system and policy that should be based purely on Excellence in Content and Employability.


  1. Ashish Uncle...

    HOW can I not have seen this post before? I feel SO incredibly honored to be on your blog, and even more so as a good example. No really. I didn't expect this at all. I have only just seen that this post was in 2009 and feel guilty for not having read this in over two years.

    I don't know if I should reply at all, considering I'm one of the T20s myself, but I think you're right. People nowadays consider the worth of a man by status and gaudiness more than his values and character. I do think it's a problem of parenting; kids just aren't cut out to sort out their lives. I know it's sad that we don't place the same importance on the things that really matter in life, but I guess it's a by-product of this rapidly progressing (?) world. Some things just get left behind.


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