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. 

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