Introduction Certain social trends have been rapidly emerging in the past five years. These trends are likely to influence the broad social patterns of life like never before. They might also influence the aspirations and ambitions of youth in a number of new ways. The five major trends of Indian social life are
a) The spending habits of the Gen Y b) The assertiveness of the Indian woman c) Renewed protests to save the environment d) The difficult times of the middle classes e) Growing complexities of higher education and f) The elders having lives of their own.
The spending habits of the Gen Y The new emerging class of Gen Y is going gaga with their purchasing power. They automatically contribute to the profits of the likes of Swiggy and Domino Pizza. One can safely add KFC and other such organizations to the list. They shop in the fanciest of the shopping malls and seem to question any attitude or ritual or advice of their own parents. They often take pride in terming their parents as "out-dated" They want to live life on their own terms and are very happy freaking out with their friends on any weekday or on the weekends. They want to make statements about their style of living. This rather apolitical class is not particularly bothered about any social issue and is particularly very conscious of the way they live. Their belief in this Western culture and the power of Information Technology is there for all to see. This class of Gen Y cuts across all castes and creeds and regions or religions truly believes in expressing themselves and this trend will continue.
The assertiveness of the Indian woman Thanks to the exposure that they get on social media the average Indian woman has now changed to a significant degree like never before. Their exposure to people all around them and the kind of "empowered woman" stories that they get to hear even at schools and more often at colleges makes the modern Indian woman think on totally different lines today. This trend is pronounced among all Indian women who are just 18 and even up to the age of fifty. Women are no more the same as their mothers. Their demand to express themselves is seen in their "right to be" in every sense of the word. They want the freedom to live life on their own terms and do not appreciate anyone trying to teach them something or their husbands ordering them to dress in particular ways. If she wants to wear the sari with the sleeveless blouse the husband should play ball. If she is tired and does not want to cook but order food from Swiggy the husband has to necessarily play ball.
These trends are now sweeping small towns in India too. It is no more a metro phenomenon. Those in the age group of 25 to 35 are particularly so wedded to this freedom and do not like any change whatsoever in their thought and action patterns. The increasingly pronounced increase in divorce rates can be directly attributed to this fact that no found freedom of young women. Those men who understand the new realities survive and the marriage is strong. Those who do not change or find it very difficult to come out of the age-old beliefs and practices find the going very tough. Divorces happen in those cases.
Renewed protests to save the environment There is no going back on this social change. From college students to professors to lawyers and the professional environmentalists the "go green" initiatives will be quite wide in reach and will go far beyond the existing protests. It is quite likely that the Courts will also favor the environmentalists and will support them all the way. No legislation can go through without any protest. It does seem that everyone is concerned about the disastrous consequences of development "at any cost" projects. In particular, any industrial project or even a road project that seeks to destroy a rich nature can never succeed at all. These trends will continue for all time to come. The Central and State Governments will be forced to listen to these activists and the courts will also support them. The farmers and others who are always affected will assert their rights. No natural habitat can be destroyed for sure.
The difficult times of the middle classes The middle classes will be hit very hard. Inflation in real terms does not mean only food. It does not mean clothing either. But it does mean housing. Rentals in every metro are already very high. These trends will continue. It should be noted that those who earn one hundred thousand per month do not hesitate to pay one-fourth of this amount as rent for a house in a decent locality in cities like Chennai or Bangalore. In Mumbai and New Delhi, life is a lot more complicated as the prices of milk and other essential commodities are quite high. Those with huge debts are finding the going tough indeed. These trends will continue for at least 24 months in this period of slowdown in the economy and lack of jobs in almost every sector.
The cost of education is also very high. The school education in good CBSE schools reportedly sets back parents to the tune of around six thousand for all expenses that include transport. Those who draw only Rs 45,000 or less per month are now facing the music. If they have housing loans to repay the problem becomes more acute as salaries do not rise beyond a particular point. The middle classes will go in form for what is famously called "side business" and this will become the order of the day.
Growing complexities of higher education We might as well see a good revolution in higher education, everywhere. The range of new courses that are now available is huge. However, the complexities involved with the rather real "exposure" problem of the rural and semi-urban students will continue. The IT-savvy, happy-go-lucky English speaking elite will have it so good. Those from the small cities and the rural areas with zero exposure will find the going very difficult. The latter will slog it out and develop over a period of time. The elite will corner all the jobs and the seats in prestigious institutions like the IIMs. This will create more problems for the students from semi-urban and rural areas and we will have the "two India" story being repeated all over again.
The elders having lives of their own The specialized professional old-age homes coming up in cities like Coimbatore will become more pronounced. One has to reportedly spend Rs.15,000 for food and accommodation. Only those who can afford this amount can stay in such places. Cheaper alternatives are emerging in the smaller towns and the religious tint given to such homes in places like Kumbakonam (a small town near Tiruchirapalli, in South Tami Nadu), will continue as a trend. This is going on in other States too. Perhaps it is becoming more pronounced in Tamil Nadu than elsewhere. The old people prefer this sort of change, as a growing number of children have migrated abroad. These trends will continue. The elders also want to live in environs that are far removed from the dust and din of the city. The age-old problems between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law are now almost history. The urge to live independently is the main reason why the elders want to live on their own.
ConclusionOnly certain trends of Indian social life have been described above. The discussion is also specific to the middle class and the rich class.The discussion was a sort of a reality check on social realities that will continue to happen for at least one decade.
Yes. I agree. Some changes are emerging in our country in social life. Many ways the changes are good to happen and it will help the society to go forward in the majority of cases. Many of these changes are welcome changes only I feel.
As long as we are within our limits, spending money is not an issue. But wasting money is not correct. The so-called luxuries earlier are no more luxuries these days. They have rather become necessities. Earlier days in how many houses we were seeing an AC. These days we find no house without an AC. When money is in circulation only, it will be useful and many can make their living on that. Instead, if it is kept only as a reserve and it will be of no use.
The old people, these days don't want to trouble their wards for their problems. They also know that the views are different and both coming to an agreement on every point is very difficult. That is why these elders are trying to stay alone and independently. My father who is 86 years old and my mother who is 80 years old continue to stay in our native place happily and they never show any inclination toward shifting their base from that place even when we request them many times to come to us. They say they are happy. Whenever you want to see us come and stay for some time and go. This trend is shown by many people these days.
Like this, we can expect some more changes in the coming days and hope that society will move forward and become a friendly place to all the concerned.