The survey covered 400 youths aged between 18 and 23. The Telegraph reporters visited different colleges in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack to distribute the questionnaires among equal number of boys and girls on a random basis. A fair representation was given to technical and professional institutes. The questionnaires were collected after an hour. The survey, conducted over a period of seven days, was anonymous to facilitate candid and honest feedback from the respondents.
If Odisha hasn’t progressed, the lack of competitive spirit among the people is to blame, feel most youths in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
Around 400 college-going boys and girls surveyed by The Telegraph in the twin cities did not pull their punches while talking of Odias and their traits. Brushing aside chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s claims that the state was being held back by the Centre’s step-motherly treatment, they felt it was the general lack of drive among the Odias that was to blame.
For most of them, the Centre’s alleged neglect of Odisha is political rhetoric, just to hide the incompetence of the political leadership and lack of initiative on the part of people in general. Over 70 per cent of them feel that in a federal form of government, the Centre ought to be more powerful while allowing enough freedom to the states. The Naveen government may have tried with all its might to resist a number of central decisions but the youth brigade expects it to be less critical of the UPA.
They are neither chest-thumping patriots nor narrow-minded jingoists. More than half of the respondents don’t care much about the so-called talk of Odia pride. They sneer at ideas such as renaming the Bay of Bengal as Kalinga Sagar and nothing puts them off like the elaborate speeches by political activists and leaders.
The survey reveals that the image of politicians among the youth has taken a serious beating. The youth hold them responsible for almost all the ills plaguing the state. Over 82.5 per cent are frustrated with the present political system and are keen to put the “netas” on the line and make them accountable.
However, Naveen still remains high in their esteem and figures just behind Anna Hazare in their preference for the Prime Minister’s job.
But nothing beats the chutzpah of this generation. Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign might have stirred them but the young heads donning the “I am Anna” caps won’t mind slipping a crisp note into the college peon’s pocket for attendance or buying a movie ticket in black. For them, even getting a driver’s licence by paying 10 times the original fee is “cool”. In this survey, every third youth admitted to have given or taken a bribe. In the two cities, 117 youths, including 30 girls, confessed to have greased palms. Quite ironically, the same number of youngsters cast their votes for Hazare to become Prime Minister.
A large number of those surveyed said in this age, a clean reputation was not quite possible and one has to be practical about what really constitutes corruption. Illegal download of music files or movies from the Internet is certainly not an offence for them. It seems to be all about “what suits me”.
HOBBIES AND INDULGENCES
This is a generation of couch potatoes and gossip-mongers. These youths are invariably glued to their TV sets, their laptops wired up on the table downloading the latest chartbuster and their iPad screens smudged with fingerprints from long hours of playing Angry Birds. For them, making friends on Facebook and trending on Twitter are the “in” thing.
Outdoor sports and reading habits have taken a backseat. Don’t underestimate their love for cricket, football or tennis, but they enjoy these games only as spectators. Achievers from the sports circuit, including former hockey captain Dilip Tirkey, weightlifter Ravi Kumar, footballers Shradhanjali Samantaray and Sasmita Mallick, rowers Pramila Minz and Pratima Puhan, athlete Srabani Nanda are mere names to them.
Mobile phones seem to have become an extension of their personality. The youth of today would spend the better part of the day texting, talking over phone or playing video games on these handy devices, which double up as their best friend.
Social networking, hanging out with friends and net surfing are their top priorities in that order. More than half of these youths, including a sizeable number of girls, view pornography on the web and nearly 25 per cent of the total respondents admitted to have taken pictures of attractive men/women secretly.
You’d be surprised to know that discotheques and pubs attract only a fraction of these youngsters, perhaps since these are expensive indulgences. A very small number of them confessed to pub hopping either for a drink or to flirt, but only once in a while. For most of them, catching up at a coffee shop and hanging out on the college campus or even their own place was a far better deal.
Over 70 per cent of them denied having consumed alcohol. Among the drinkers, the most are boys from Bhubaneswar while Cuttack still appears to be firmly chained to its conservative moorings in these matters.
Only four girls from this relatively orthodox city admitted to drinking socially, which is one-fourth the number of female drinkers in the capital where hotels and pubs are increasingly adopting the concept of “Ladies’ Night” (drinks on the house for the ladies) to woo female customers.
Very few were found to smoke. While a small number admitted to lighting up a cigarette daily, the number of casual smokers among females appeared to be significantly high in Bhubaneswar, at least three times higher than Cuttack.
But for all their indulgences, studies remain a priority for them. Even during their leisure hours, they would not mind brushing up on a classroom lesson or two. In comparison to their Bhubaneswar counterparts, though, Cuttack youths give higher precedence to academics.
Apart from textbooks, when these young boys and girls do find time, they mostly browse through romantic novels.
OF LOVE AND DESIRE
Gen-Y is impulsive, restless and ready to experiment until they find the “right person.” Sex is no longer a hush-hush topic for them. However, Cuttack is not as open as Bhubaneswar.
An overwhelming majority of those surveyed is into romantic relationships. But once things start going downhill, leading to a break up, many of them would not shirk from taking revenge on their partners. In fact, nearly 15 per cent admitted to have harassed their ex-lovers, the number significantly higher among Bhubaneswar youths.
For most of the college going crowd in Cuttack, pre-marital sex is a strict no-no. However, talking of the twin cities, 16 per cent — 47 boys and 18 girls — admitted to having had sex.
Many have experimented with casual sex. Around 20 per cent admitted that they were open to one-night stands and girls did not lag behind in this matter. Four girls even admitted to have paid for sex. A majority of them said they first had sex between the age of 16 and 21, with a small number confessing to having had more than one partner.
Around 45 per cent youths endorse live-in relationships which seems contradictory to their stand on pre-marital sex, unless they were talking about a platonic relationship. The rest insist that they would marry their current partners with Bhubaneswar girls showing a higher degree of commitment.
Around 69 per cent of the respondents wanted their spouses to be virgins, the expectation levels in this regard is higher in Bhubaneswar. But then, around 20 per cent admitted that they were open to one-night stands.
The survey reveals that only five per cent of the respondents are attracted to same sex partners but for 60 per cent youngsters, same sex marriages remain a taboo.
CITY STREETS — A SAFE BET?
For all their city airs, a feeling of insecurity continues to haunt both boys and girls as the crime graph in the twin cities is on the rise. With snatchers and muggers on the prowl, the youngsters feel unsafe while moving around in the cities during any time of the day.
While 55 per cent girls in the twin cities feel vulnerable to snatching, loot and molestation on the streets, boys, too, are concerned about becoming sitting ducks for criminals. Rising incidents of loot at gunpoint and mugging at deserted stretches seem to make 28 per cent of Cuttack boys and 38 per cent of Bhubaneswar boys feel vulnerable.