About INgene blog : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog

About INgene : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog:
This blog explores the detailed characteristics of Young-India and explains the finer & crucial differences they have with their global peers. The blog also establishes the theory of “adopted differentiation” (Copyright Kaustav SG,2007) and how the Indian & Inglodian youth are using this as a tool to differentiate themselves from the “aam aadmi” (mass population of India) to establish their new found identity.

The term youth refers to persons who are no longer children and not yet adults. Used colloquially, however the term generally refers to a broader, more ambiguous field of reference- from the physically adolescent to those in their late twenties.
Though superficially the youth all over the world exhibits similar [degree of] attitude, [traits of] interests & [deliverance of] opinion but a detailed observation reveals the finer differential characteristics which are crucial and often ignored while targeting this group as a valued consumer base. India is one of the youngest countries in the world with 60% of its population less then 24 years of age and is charted as the most prospective destination for the retail investment in the A. T. Kearney’s Global Retail Opportunity Report, 2007. With the first ever non-socialistic generation’s thriving aspiration & new found money power combined with steadily growing GDP, bubbling IT industry and increasing list of confident young entrepreneurs, the scenario appears very lucrative for the global and local retailers to target the “Youngisthan” (young-India). But, the secret remains in the understanding of the finer AIOs of this generation. The Indian youth segment roughly estimates close to 250million (between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five) and can be broadly divided (socio-psychologically) into three categories: the Bharatiyas, the Indians & the Inglodians (copyright Kaustav SG 2008). The Bharatiyas estimating 67% of the young population lives in the rural (R1, R2 to R4 SEC) areas with least influence of globalization, high traditional values. They are least economically privileged, most family oriented Bollywood influenced generation. The Indians constitute 31.5% (A, B,C, D & E SEC) and have moderate global influence. They are well aware of the global trends but rooted to the Indian family values, customs and ethos. The Inglodians are basically the creamy layers (A1,A SEC) and marginal (1.5% or roughly three million) in number though they are strongly growing (70% growth rate). Inglodians are affluent and consume most of the trendy & luxury items. They are internet savvy & the believers of global-village (a place where there is no difference between east & west, developing & developed countries etc.), highly influenced by the western music, food, fashion & culture yet Indian at heart.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

kiss of love : thinking beyond

Well, why Indian diaspora is trampling over consensual ‘kissing’ when it is even available as the first ‘how to’ option in Google search?

I can remember, the first attempt to promote public kissing took place as early as 90s and I have seen hand written posters in Kolkata’s Esplanade area inviting youth at ‘maidan’ (the infamous ‘assemble and protest’ ground in Kolkata) in a given date to ‘kiss’ in public as a protest and promote ‘free love’ during valentine’s day (and obviously, none of them actually took place). Though, Public kissing ‘behind bushes’ (in most of the states of India) and in the beaches behind umbrella (at Chennai and Mumbai) are common scene but the ‘open’ kissing is a social mind block (even in silver screen, till 90s). 

The movie directors used to find innovative abstracts to visualize love making (which often comprised of two flowers coming closer, doves making love, waterfalls etc.) which sometime were beyond artistic expression and appeared funny! 

India, always adapted global culture at the periphery without allowing them to disturb the overall core values that the fundamentalists and families hold tight in this patriarchal social eco system. For example, during the 60’s flower power hippie movement Indians adapted the hippie ‘look’ (bandanas, tie and die patches, bell bottoms, long hair, bohemian look etc.) but not the values, ideologies and overall concept of youth revolution. Rather, it made movies to exhibit the ‘wrong side’ of hippie subculture (‘dum maro dum’ and the whole negativity).  Hence, when Mr. Richard Gere ‘publicly kissed’ Ms. Shilpa Shetty in the cheek at an AIDS awareness campaign in the year 2007, an Indian court issued the arrest warrant for committing ‘obscene act’ in public! Gere, a devout Buddhist who visits India frequently to meet the Dalai Lama, said the event was a success at the time but blew up later. "Me kissing the girl on the cheek was nothing,'' Gere told cable channel Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart at a New York studio. 

‘kissing a girl in cheek’ indeed is nothing (if its consensual) but in India, though (public) semi nudity/ nudity is allowed in the name of god (ie. Kumbh Mela, public bath) but kissing (In any form) is against the social etiquette!  Chris Gregory (Australian National University and the University of Manchester) in an article on ‘kinship’ mentioned that  “for the Halbi speakers of the Bastar Plateau in East-Central India kinship is defined by touch: juniors greet seniors with tactile gestures of familial respect that are reciprocated by tactile gestures of familial love. On certain ritual occasions these salutes are adorned with colorful flowers, tasty food, purifying water, sweet-smelling incense, nice-sounding words, and heartfelt sentiments. Non-kin, by contrast, are defined by non-tactile gestures of mutual respect. The general implication of this case for the study of kinship as “mutuality of sensible being,”. So, in ‘touching’ (which indeed includes hugging and kissing) as public gesture is even permitted among indigenous tribes but unfortunately not approved by the patriarchal social norms in modern Indian society.  Even, court orders (Delhi High court judgement in the year 2009) dismissed obscenity charges against a couple caught kissing in public. 

At Ingene, I have reported earlier about the sprotests against moral policing such as ‘pink chaddi movement’, ‘slut walk’ etc. and in the same line ‘Kiss of Love’ is another initiative that has swept the urban young demographics of India. As the Wikipedia (and believe me, for youth, Wiki is the new Oxford dictionary) states ‘Kiss of Love protest is a non-violent protest against moral policing which started in Kerala and later spread to other parts of India’ it adds ‘he movement began when a Facebook page called 'Kiss of love' asked the youth across Kerala to participate in a protest against moral policing on November 2, 2014, at Marine Drive, Cochin.’

But, again, why to deliberately ‘kiss on road’ to protest against moral policing? For a generation, who is now used to with ‘kissing’ and learns the ‘art’ digitally rather than natural indulgence is it not normal that the movement could have been more refined (such as ‘kiss of love’ film fest exhibiting movies as such, a photo exhibition, a street drama, book reading, music) and holistically thought provoking rather than giving the unnecessary credibility to the fundamentalists who craves to be in media through any issue? Also, will this movement gain momentum to broader spectrum or will die like any other youth movement in recent decade (including Anti corruption rallies)? Keeping fingers crossed to the fresh air of socialism brought in by the youth through ‘Kiss of Love’, will keep an eye to track the developments. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

'Fakoconsciousness' and glamorizing assault on women

glamorizing rape / assault on women is 'social awareness'? Well that happens when a fashion photographer craves to become popular by floating over the wave of social emotion. 
In 2009 and 2011 I have reported a macro trend that was sweeping Indian sub-continant as 'Fakoconscionious', a tendency to exhibit oneself as socially conscious but its nothing but faking to appear so.

This photoshoot which gained enough publicity (hence, I am consciously avoiding the name of the photographer with an effort to crub him from getting the desired 'fame'), the photographer stated that it is "just a depiction of the situation of women in our country" and not based on the rape! Funny, cause whoever has little brain left in head knows that this series of photoshoot glamorized the assault with fashionable cloths and luxurious surrounding (obviously photoshopped and touched with finer light effect and mood). Hence, it was not an accident neither an act of emotion but a thought of popularity fetching attempt by him and his studio. He, indeed was successful to gain so, cause BBC wrote an article along with numerous blogs, news papers, magazines who tried to grab a bit of it and in process his name now appears in google search frequently! 

check more here at this BBC report: 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

'Adarsh Balaak' (ideal boy) and the Indian youth

What happens when a school boy relentlessly studies and works at chemistry lab to create C20H25N30 a.k.a LSD? Well, the teacher tests it and he gets the A+ grade!! The school boy eventually becomes the social media sensation as Adarsh Balaak (ideal boy) with 1504 shares in Facebook, 7902 comments and 42000+ page likes! An anarchic contemporary comic character evolved from the golden day’s ‘adarsh balaak’ posters (which have been used as the instructional charts at Indian schools to promote good habit in 70s and 80s) are now one of the most popular comic strip series among youth. 

Comicandcola.com website mentions “Mumbai artist Priyesh Trivedi has recently blown up on the Internet with his painted comic series, Adarsh Balak, in which Trivedi takes the familiar icon of 80's Indian school-texts and educational charts and re-purposes him in a variety of subverted images and narratives: here he is offering a joint to his father as he works late into the night, here he sits curbside swigging beer from the bottle as his friends graffiti the wall besides them, here he is tricking his chemistry teacher into dropping some acid and giving him an 'A.' The 23-year old Trivedi has so far been pursuing animation as a career, but it's his new comic which has bought him to wider attention and acclaim; striking a chord with a generation of young adults like himself who have grown up with the neatly turned out schoolboy decorating their books, and take pleasure in seeing him turn against the lessons he once taught. It's the delight of seeing recognised associations in unexpected situations that shocks and amuses, and resonates- here, especially, the good boy gone bad, and the contemporary references -'swag' paired with something that represents traditional, conservative values.”  The website further adds “It began with one image: last year, Trivedi made a poster of a young boy rolling a joint with ‘T for Toke’ emblazoned across the top in Devanagari script that emulated the Barakhadi charts, which would depict a young boy undertaking various 'good' and 'correct' practices, used in many Indian schools. The image proved popular, spreading quickly thanks to the internet, and selling a number of prints. It was easily the most successful thing Trivedi had done, and he was encouraged by the response to create further and expand on the theme, which led to the production of the comics. In an interview with Visual Disobedience, he credits the swift popularity of the strips to 'the love for nostalgia and the archaic which most of us have that is partly responsible for the popularity. I always found the visual styling of the educational charts from the ‘80s and early ‘90s very amusing. Most of the people relate to this style because they probably went to school when these charts were widely prevalent.'

Tridevi's strip is still in its fledgling stages, but it's generating a lot of clamour- with some comparing his work to that of Spanish cartoonist Joan Cornella. I can see why- the strong, bright painted visuals, and the superficially thematic similarities of a satirical social deviance, but Cornella is much more biting, more out there, more surreal, and also plays around with the notion of visual illusions. Either way, Tridevi's a fan: 'I love Joan’s work. He’s definitely an inspiration not just for this series but for me as an artist in general. In fact, quite a lot of people have told me that my work reminds them of Joan which I kind of take as a compliment since I look up to him. Stylistically we are very different but it’s because he has already created a niche for bizarre and unsettling stuff.”

 Trivedi is now launching the printed posters and other articles with the same theme. In one interview he has stated “'The style which I could relate to the most was surrealism and psychedelic art. Up until two years ago, I was really big on psychedelic art. That style of art was very intuitive for me. I didn't have to try, it just flowed from my head onto the canvas. But as an artist, I think it's very important not to settle on just one thing. Keep experimenting and see what works for you. I'm very afraid of belonging to any one niche. I dabbled with realism, I dabbled with abstract art, I dabbled with psychedelic art. I've even tried my hand at sculpting..”

Here’s one more set of painting by Priyesh.

Why the hell, an anarchic paradoxical character is becoming popular? Is it that the youth in India are fed up being the ‘good boys’? Are they irritated on how the education is delivered in this country to convert them into robotic stereotypes? Or is it the simple anarchic tendency to ‘appear’ different from the crowd?Well, time will tell in near future. One can see the random use of Hindi slang as comments, in most of his artworks posted at social media.... the vent of anger or fun to become radical? 

here's the original 'ideal boy' chart:


Sunday, July 27, 2014

The 'social research' videos by young activists are spreading the social awakening in India

While checking the Facebook home page, an update caught my eyes. The header was “This Will Change The Way You Think” which had likes of more than thousand and similar number of shares. Below this, was an ongoing serious discussion where everybody was brainstorming on why / how ‘poor’ have more ‘giving mentality’ than the rich (in India). The youtube source showed that it was uploaded by ‘Trouble Seeker team’ which has a flourishing facebook page.  In next few hours similar videos popped up in my FB wall and Twitter (all virally spread by the youth). These videos were tagged as “Pranks”. Most of these ‘pranks’ are properly planned (and scripted) to highlight various prevalent social issues that needs public awakening. Mostly related to social emotion and the eroding social ecosystem. How we don’t give space to Ambulances, how we ogle to others disrespectfully, how we don’t give food to needy but a poor street dweller gives it even when he is not getting enough food! Day after, I met many youth who were excited and agitated over these facts and reconfirmed on ‘how true these videos are’!

An article in OPEN magazine coined the term ‘social experiment videos’ for these pranks. The article stated ‘A little like prank videos, at least in their staging, such social experiments aim to see how people would respond if faced with a person in real trouble. Broadly, an act is staged in the middle of the street with a camera recording reactions of ‘real’ people to the situation portrayed by the act. The video is then uploaded online on YouTube and if it goes viral, YouTube ‘monetises’ the video—sharing revenue generated via the video based on the number of ‘views’ and ‘likes’ it gathers.’  This article further added ‘A Nirbhaya video shot by actor Varun Pruthi recreates the Delhi gangrape scene by having in in make-up that makes him look severely injured and bleeding. Through the seven minutes of the clip’s running time, Pruthi tries to stop vehicles in broad daylight, asking for help, but none pulls up. Videos with somewhat ‘lighter’ social messages, like Free Hugs shot by Bedi and one about littering in public places by a channel called Awkward Unlimited, have been doing well. The months of May and June alone have seen at least half a dozen ‘social experiment’ videos being uploaded on the net.
Another offbeat experiment, put up recently and made by YTV, tackles the issue of homosexuality and public responses to it through the video of a girl who discloses to her mother that she is a lesbian. The message of the video, explains YTV founder Naman Sharma, is to get the nature of the problem across to viewers. “The biggest problem that young people face is lack of communication with parents. The video aims to tackle that,” says the 26-year-old, who founded his company only two years ago after completing a Phd in business and finance and a teaching stint in Melbourne, Australia. The video has already garnered as many as 3.6 million views.” The video posted by Awkvid shows how the ‘dropped wallet’ is picked by another youth in front of all as nobody protests or tries to return the wallet! Awkvid, in their Facebook page wrote “wkvid creates Awkward Videos that are fun to watch and share”. While posting these prank videos, they writes ‘social experiment’ in the title to ensure that the videos are taken seriously.  

The Telegraph Newspaper reported another video of ‘screaming woman’ inside a van. It mentioned “Experts and activists said the video posted on YouTube pointed to a general apathy in India about violence against women despite outrage in some quarters over the gang-rape and lynching of two girls in the country's north. "There's still an apathy about what's happening to women, an insensitivity on the issue, although attitudes are changing," said women's activist Ranjana Kumari.  The video, which has been viewed more than 1.2 million times since it was posted last week, shows a white van parked in a secluded area of Delhi with the windows blacked out at night. Although the screams of a woman are clearly heard coming from inside, a handful of men are seen walking and cycling past. Some stop to listen before calmly moving on.  Finally, a young man tries to break into the van, clearly upset about the 'staged rape' occurring inside. An elderly man is also seen attacking the van with his stick. The video was posted by a group called "YesNoMaybe" in what they said was a social experiment in the wake of the horrific attacks on the two girls, aged 12 and 14, late last month in Uttar Pradesh state. The attacks reignited anger over violence against women with small-scale protests held in the state capital and in Delhi, while a political row erupted over a perceived lack of law and order in Uttar Pradesh.  Since then, the media has highlighted a string of alleged rapes and hangings of women in Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state.  The attacks came just 18 months after the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in Delhi, a case that made global headlines and left India reeling over its treatment of women. The video sparked an outcry online, with some saying they were "ashamed", while others said the lack of help was probably reflective of attitudes in most capital cities. The group that posted the video did not draw any conclusions. "We hear about rapes every day in India, which leads to widespread protest," the group said in a message accompanying the video. "Thousands of people attend candlelight marches but only a handful of people act when it really matters. "So we set out to find how many people would actually help if someone's in trouble." Kumari told AFP that many were reluctant to intervene, fearful of being dragged into a lengthy police investigation or even face charge themselves in India's notoriously inefficient criminal justice system. "There is also still this rationale that the woman must have done something to deserve the attack. There must be some justification for what is happening to her," said Kumari, director of the Delhi-based Centre for Social Research.

 Social scientist Shiv Visvanathan said he was wary of drawing conclusions from the video but he said many Delhi residents were scared of being attacked themselves if they intervened. Visvanathan, a professor at the Jindal Global University just outside Delhi, said the capital drew millions of young men from impoverished and remote rural areas searching for work. As a result, he told AFP: "There's an absence of a community spirit in many parts of Delhi, a feeling that we should work together to stop these attacks happening. It's a city of strangers."

 For past 5 years there’s a series of social awakening activities among the youth in India. The funny yet convincing way to spread awareness or ‘change’ social mindset started with the Pink Chaddi’ campaign in the year 2009.

 In that year Times of India news paper wrote “Perhaps never before has underwear played such an important part in Indian cultural history. The `Pink Chaddi' campaign, launched by the Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose Forward Women, has attracted hordes of members — the number has touched 34,032 and still counting — making it one of the most popular sites these days.  With barely a few hours to go before D-day, or V-Day in this case, women and men from across countries have joined the campaign against an unsuspecting Pramod Muthalik, the Sri Ram Sene chief who has claimed responsibility for attacking women in a Mangalore pub earlier this year.” The rude shock of receiving chaddis (female underwear) ensured that the extremists stopped catching and harassing young couple during Valentines day. 

DNA news paper stated “Faced with a deluge of pink underwear from women across many cities, Sri Rama Sene convener Pramod Muthalik seems to have gone weak at the knees. No demonstrations or dharnas before pubs and other happening places on Valentine’s Day, but only affectionate advice for unmarried couples… the Sri Rama Sene’s sudden change of heart on Wednesday should perk up spirits of lovers here. Muthalik told DNA, “We will not force couples to tie mangalsutras, to solemnise marriages, or a rakhi, a symbol of sibling relationship. I have instructed my workers not to trouble people, but only advice lovers humbly to get married to honour their love.” 

For past, I have written about much such activities in this blog. The social experiment videos are new addition in it. The definite way to ‘change’ mindsets of people and spreading ‘social good’.







Similar videos can be seen at Varun;s channel" https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5GMWJmrR0LDUQ8MojJyXEQ

Reference articles: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/living/age-of-the-clickactivist