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, September 16, 2012

The ‘FUN Generation’ : Youth in India

An overdose of entertainment, never-ending wave of highly emotional advertisement and media campaigns are moulding this generation as a group of youngsters that always wants to remain ‘high’ and seeks fun out of anything / everything. This Friday, I went to watch the Bollywood movie Barfi, and was shocked to see the reaction of many youth (15years to 28years) who were laughing, making catcalls even when an autistic girl on screen was not able to pronounce the name! They were trying hard to squeeze fun out of every reel!

The socio-cyber life of youth is always exciting! The made up and blown-up news in cyber world spreads faster than the real. The news can be as simple as the nudity of a Prince or the topless image of a Princess, who’s not even worthwhile to look at! The certain embarrassment (as perceived) at the other end brings in ‘thrill’ (and fun) to the viewer. The dopamine rush prolongs and youth tries hard to find similar experience out of anything (from the news of mob molestation to the reality shows). The anti-corruption movement was another form of ‘adventure’ with which one wanted to associate to ‘like’ and ‘talk’about it so they remains ‘cool’ and 'authentic' among peers. The mobile cam was on as well as Facebook updates. ‘Fun’ factor was obvious, almost similar to rock music fest ‘woodstock’!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The cumulative luring of ‘provocative media’ : Yahoo’s ‘raunchy’ propaganda

In India, Yahoo had 39.9 million unique visitors in June and invariably most of the users were young Indians (15 to 25years of age). Recently, I am observing that yahoo has taken a strategy to promote raunchy and misleading news items to popularize their website. The news items are strategically positioned and timed in such a way that the moment one wants to log in to the mail, he / she has to ‘see’ (and unconsciously read) the luring news. One such news is given below.


The propaganda that Yahoo has taken is not only fatal to a young Indian (teenage mind and curiosity) but also to the whole nation. I am not sure about the long term vision of this strategy that global internet giants like Yahoo are taking but definitely it is going to effect the social mindset and moral habit of the largest democracy in the world. The above news “I had sex for money” will lure many teenagers with a perception that ‘having sex for money is cool’ and one can come to the front page of Yahoo just because she was doing it and now twitting too!

The moral ethics of Yahoo has gone to drain in the name of ‘business’ that they are expecting to churn out of this developing nation, even if that is achieved at the cost of cultural damage.

Social media behavior among youth in India : a review

in a previous report quoted in my post on "multiple user accounts at social networking site" mentioned the 'fatigue' among youth from social media. Here's another report published at comscore found that Google Sites ranked as the top destination in June 2012 reaching nearly 95 percent of the online population, while social networking reigned as the top online activity accounting for 25.2 percent of all online minutes!
The study – conducted by ComScore in June 2012 – exposes the accessible and engagement habits of Indian Internet users. While the Google Sites leads the list of top online destination in India with 94.8% reach, Facebook stands quite close behind with 83.4%. More than 57 million unique visitors accessed Google sites in June 2012 compare to Facebook’s 50.8 million. Among Indian brands, Times Internet sites took leads with 20.5 million reach beating its close competitors Network 18 and Rediff.com with significant margin.Yahoo and Microsoft Sites are comparatively less attractive among Indian internet users. While Yahoo Sites gained attention from 39.9 million unique visitors in June, Microsoft Sites reduced to only 29.3 million unique visitors. The report mentioned, Indian Internet users are more connected and engaged with social media titan than Google Sites. Each Indian Internet user spent around 224 minutes in June compare to 155 minutes over Google Sites. Social Media has emerged as the most preferred among users as it consumes more than 25% of total internet time spent. Surprisingly, Search and Email grabbed only 8.1% and 3.2% of total internet time respectively – losing the attention among Indian Internet users.In last few years, Google has been the most preferred and responsive destination for advertisers and marketers. However, the trend seems to shifting towards social networking sites, especially towards Facebook. For advertisers, the most valuable aspect in digital marketing the amount of time users stay engaged with any site and Social Media clearly leads here with 25% of online time consumption. Facebook has emerged as a clear winner over Google where Indian Internet users are spending more time than any other online property. In India, Google Android is the leading Smartphone OS and Facebook has serious take on it. While 93% of Android users in India are accessing social media from their phone, Facebook is equally recording high response from Google’s Android than any other mobile device currently available in 3rd biggest Internet country in the world.

The interesting contradiction of insights are arising due to the misunderstanding of 'usage' of social network. As mentioned earlier in my previous article, the youth in India are having multiple accounts to stay connected at social networks. It can be a growing trend due to affinity towards 'split persona' and easy 'mutation' behavior among youth. India, being a diversified multi-layered society encourages individuals to mutate according to the social environment (in regards to dressing, attitude, having, interest and opinion). 

In this song sequence of "Delhi 6" Bollywood movie its realistically shown on how the youth 'mutates' according to the social environment. The heroine of the movie changes the dress to appear 'different and contemporary' which might not be 'recorded' in a conventional 'survey' if any organization do the same on dressing styles / dressing behavior among youth in India (cause, she will never tell in the survey that she wears 'western dresses' !).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mob molestation and moral policing - an expression of anguish over the social disparity: youth insights in India

Molestation and mass attack on ‘youth of higher socio-economic class’ is becoming a prevalent trend in Indian urban cities which is unsially coined as ‘social stigma’. Though the blame is on ‘social perverts and mob behavior’ but the real cause remains somewhere else.

The varied economic and socio-psychological difference between the “have” and “have not” in India are widening faster with the rapid wealth accumulation among the ‘creamy layers’. As per an article published in India Today (dated. Oct. 23rd, 2011) “India is shining for only a select few. The impressive economic growth of our country has brought smiles on the faces of the rich and the powerful even as the rest suffer in distress and drudgery. This was revealed by the human development report (HDR) released by Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia”. The report also stated “In India, the distribution of assets is extremely unequal, with the top 5 per cent of the households possessing 38 per cent of the total assets and the bottom 60 per cent of households owning a mere 13 per cent. The disparity is more glaring in the urban areas where 60 per cent of the households at the bottom own just 10 per cent of the assets. It is not just the gaping income inequality that is alarming. The difference in the consumption expenditure between the rich and poor households has also increased both in rural and urban areas between 1993-94 and 2004-05. The report paints a grim picture on the poverty front. It clearly states that despite the economy growing at 6 per cent this is not enough to reduce poverty in the country. In fact, the rate of decline in poverty in India is not in sync with the high rate of economic growth, which is evident from the fact that the number of poor people in the country has barely fallen over a 30-year period. In 1973-74, the number of poor in India stood at 332 million. The figure remained the same in the next decade, registering a marginal decline in 1993- 94 (320 million) and witnessing a stagnancy in again 2004-05, the report states.”

80% of your likely income is determined at birth by your citizenship and the income class of your parents, says Milanovic, an economist at the World Bank’s Development Research Group. With intelligence, hard work and luck, you can move up in your country’s income distribution, but it may do little to improve your ranking among the almost 7 billion people in the world unless your country, too, forges ahead. Sometimes, if constrained by access to education and income mobility, you can’t even pull ahead in your own country. That, in a nutshell, is the story behind global inequality. And, at a time when the incomes of the world’s top 1.75% earners exceed those of the bottom 77%, it raises all sorts of questions, such as the role of development, international migration and the global equality of opportunity, says Milanovic, one of the world’s leading experts on inequality.

The Right to Education Act in India, passed in 2009, mandates that private schools set aside 25% of admissions for low-income, underprivileged and disabled students. This act, though ensures that the children of varied class / socio-economic status study together but it doesn’t ensure that there will not be any ‘frustration’ among those kids from low-income group seating in the same class with higher income group and understanding that their parents are actually ‘poor’!  The article published at The Wall Street Journal  presents the case of Sri Ram school in Delhi. “Yet the most notable results so far are frustration and disappointment as the separations that define Indian society—between rich and poor, employer and servant, English-speaker and Hindi-speaker—are upended. This has led even some supporters of the experiment to conclude that the chasm between the top and bottom of Indian society is too great to overcome…Shri Ram itself is challenging the law in the Supreme Court, arguing in part that the government exceeded its authority in imposing the quotas. "We have a social obligation to bridge the gap between rich and poor," says Manju Bharat Ram, Shri Ram's founder. "But sometimes the gap is just too wide."… Some parents, having encouraged their household staff to enroll their children, are also grappling with a profound change in the nature of their relationship with their servants. The article quoted Ms. Sharma, the 51-year-old principal, who felt this jolt herself two years ago when Chan Kumari, a floor-mopper in her home, enrolled her son, Vipin, at Shri Ram. That's when the school first adopted a similar quota for underprivileged kids under a local Delhi law, increasing it to 25% this year, when the federal Right to Education Act took effect. "I was horrified. A parent in my school, mopping my floors—I just couldn't handle it," says Ms. Sharma. "I can't sit across the table from someone who sweeps my floors."

The ‘dikhawa’ of wealth as a growing need of exhibitionism of one’s belonging is rapid among the younger population of ‘creamy layers’. Saldanha (2002) articulated well in his article “MUSIC, SPACE, IDENTITY:GEOGRAPHIES OF YOUTH CULTURE IN BANGALORE” : “By driving away from parents and school, the car provides the possibility of creating own space and time. The car is fetishized, specially by boys, who integrate the technics and aesthetics of the thing into their sexual culturesince the car stereo has been widely available, driving around became driving on a soundtrack. In the car, you play music for friends. It can be played louder than at home, and loud music urges the driver to speed up, and speeding up makes the outside seem even more hectic. In the car, you can smoke and drink and make out. For the wealthy youth of Bangalore, driving around is a very urban, very modern, very non-Indian matter.. In Indian cities, motor vehicles symbolize  strong  classiŽcations  of  social  groups. Rich youth have enough time and money to enjoy driving around – petrol is relatively costly. Rich youth can afford a bribe when any problems should arise with the cops. Rich youth give a cultural (as opposed to functional) meaning to these rides through what they do inside the car: playing Western pop, gossiping, flirting, preparing themselves for the evening out. They don’t just go somewhere… Driving around in a cooled ivory tower. A solipsistic inside that coheres when you  know that  because  you’re there, you’re  eluding something. Often, young Bangaloreans skip school, homework, tuition or family get-togethers to go for a ride. And thus, at least phenomenologically, the conspicuous consumption of the car creates a break-away from everything that the old India stands for: poverty, chaos, ignorance, useless education, duty, fanaticism, collectivism, sexual segregation, sluggishness and the absence of style… The  pleasure  of being looked at interacted with the pleasure of dancing. Sexy clothes are pretty pointless if you don’t let yourself be admired from all sides while dancing. Hence the comparison was made quite quickly, both by myself and by the participants, between the Whitefield pool party and the MTV programme The Grind. The Grindis basically a collection of good-looking youths in swimwear, dancing suggestively in a summer setting, all trying  their  best to attract the camera  lens. Only, in Whitefield there wasn’t any camera. There were  peepers, though. Over the surrounding  walls, poor  workers from  neighbouring  farms  were  watching  the  party  bustle. An  interesting, perverse form of exhibitionism/voyeurism came into  being. The global youth knew  very  well  that  they  were  being  watched, that  these  local  others  had probably never heard such loud pop music, never seen so much liquor and tight tops  together  before. They  knew  that  every  three  free-of-charge  vodkas  they drank added up to the weekly salary of the peeping Toms behind the wall. But they feigned an indifference for the fascination they produced amongst the lower classes, just as they do when they drive around. They feigned, because they were thoroughly aware of the visibility of their Western fashion, music, behaviour and wealth. To a certain  extent this  visibility  is  inevitable  in a modern  space  like Bangalore. And  provoking  culture  shock  can  be  fun  for  both  sides. Yet, the workings of power in this situation are undeniable. There was, in Whitefield, an ambiguous balance between exhibitionism and voyeurism, a delicate consensus on the rationality of power; the poor devils could also have been rudely chased away…”

Incidentally, till date most of the ‘mass molestation’ cases in India took place outside the bars / pubs or in some places that can be noted as ‘places of socio-economic discrimination’ (ie. rave party houses, resorts, gardens, malls etc.)! In one of the recent incidents that occurred at Guahat a 17-year-old girl, who is pursuing studies in fashion designing in the national capital, was attacked when she was returning home after celebrating the birthday of her friend, a teenaged girl, at a bar. The girl was subjected to assault and molestation for nearly half an hour before being rescued by some passers-by. The similar incidents occur every year in the capital during the “new year bash” (mostly outside, after the party gets over and drunk girls wait for the drive home).  In one such incident at Gurgaon a young girl was allegedly molested by a group of New Year revellers. The police had to resort to lathicharge to prevent the group of 25-30 people from harassing the girl outside a pub, media reports said.  While the ‘creamy layers’ were celebrating inside the clubs, at M.G. Road, in public space the ‘mass’ started celebrating “new year”. Windscreens of more than two dozen cars were smashed, hooligans danced atop cars and traffic was held up, before some policemen baton-charged the crowd. The victim stated “I was horrified to see boys touching me and passing derogatory comments. They were many of them and they lifted me up. They were taking me away but the police saved me that night or I would not have been alive today,” she said. An eyewitness, Rajesh Kumar, said, “They were touching her initially and ended up tearing her clothes. They were passing lewd remarks in the middle of the road. I was shocked to see what could happen on Gurgaon roads.”

The anguish is majorly among the fastest growing middle class and lower middle class. Them, who is in the duality of lifestyle due to the rapid economic growth,.

The so called ‘extremist’ religious-political groups such as “Ram Sene’ are also attacking the places of socio-economic discrimination in the name of ‘purification’ of the society as ‘moral policing’.  These political parties understood that the fastest way to gain popularity among the ‘have not’ in India is the social bashing against ‘have’ in the name of moral policing.

The mass molestation and planned moral policing in India are varied ways to take ‘revenge’ and express anguish against the ‘other’ socio-economic class.

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