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Thread: Jawani Ka Josh

  1. #1
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    Default Jawani Ka Josh

    “Jawani ka Josh”, in English translates to “Passion of Youth”.

    Youth is helium. It is perennially high on life. It has a mystifying “Can do” attitude, a glorious disconnect to the societal moors and an evangelical optimism towards challenges of life.

    No wonder, every social scientist worth his salt has analyzed “youth” with a fine toothcomb. A country‘s future is decided on the power of its youth. And this faith is not misplaced. For change is brought by a heady mix of passion, optimism, audaciousness and a sense of righteous jurisprudence.

    Ordinary people in the “Josh” of their “Jawani” have accomplished many extraordinary feats. The youth flower power of 1970s America stopped the Vietnam War. Closer home, a young Narendranath Dutta, in the 19th century rediscovered an ancient way of life and transfixed the world with his wisdom. I remember a picture in an old Amar Chitra Katha comic of a youthful Swami Vivekananda standing on a wooden carton under a tree and spreading his wisdom. I was spellbound.

    But over time, passion of the carefree youth gives way for the circumspection of the mature adult.

    This circumspection manifests itself in many forms, some physical and some perspective wise.

    I learnt it the hard way. When I was 15-20yrs old, I could easily eat 2 plates of “biryani”, followed by 10 piping hot “gulab jamuns” topped by 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream. If available, I could also down 2 glasses of thick yummy “lassi”. And I was already open for the next round. A few days back, in a company meet, the executive chef of a star hotel had strained all his culinary innovativeness to provoke our gustatory senses. And looking at the spread, provoked I was. But I was deeply agonized in the end when I felt “filled” with only 2 “gulab jamun”. I was surely getting circumspect about my appetite!

    I am writing this because, deep down, I am worried if this circumspection is creeping into my perspective too. I am wondering, if over time, I will be a lot more realistic, “mellowed” and hackneyed about my views, here conservation. Would the cacophony of pragmatism, the apathy of public, the rather obtuse bureaucracy suppress and then ebb out hope for conservation in me.

    I am reminded of Valmik Thapar. For over 30 years he thought the impossible was doable. He drove the brigade of Tiger Conservation with a “josh” that was infectious. He sincerely believed he could be an evangelist. He thought he could reason / convince the villagers adjoining Ranthambore about the goodness of conservation. I guess the “Jawani ka Josh” was high on his head!

    Alas. Today he is a defeated, grumpy man. Out of irritation or perhaps circumspection, he declares that his mission is a failure.

    I am wondering, if that’s the fate of conservation in India. A fate where optimism& belief is clipped methodically. I am wondering, if 10 years down the line, I will look back at my fervour and optimism to be an agent of change and blame it on my “Jawani ka Josh”.
    Last edited by Ranbir Mahapatra; 27-12-2008 at 11:55 PM.

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    I agree with your observation. Often the streak of rebellion found in the young ones are missing at a later date. The burden of family, job, society takes a heavy toll on the individual. You can find him a pale shadow of his former self.

    There are various kinds of leaders. In some cases, leadership is thrust upon them and there are some others who are natural leaders. In case of the former category, where leadership is thrust due to a crisis situation, the leader normally remains in the limelight for sometime. In a very few cases, these individuals rise up to the occasion.

    In other cases, the natural leaders continue their good work, though age and practical constraints can take their toll. We don't expect Mr L K Advani to take the streets today. He is expected more to be a visionary, strategist and provide a different kind of leadership, then just shout slogans on the road.

    I don't agree that Valmik Thapar is defeated. It is unfortunate that often he was the lone voice of sanity. Among the various Prime Ministers of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi was the one who gave Tiger conservation the much needed direction. Under her, Mr. Karan Singh had lot of freedom and that has been the best period for the tiger in India. After Mrs. Gandhi, India has seen number of Prime Ministers but no one had taken the cause of conservation to heart. Finally, in 2005 due to the Sariska episode, the issue of tigers was thrown on the lap of our present PM Mr. Manmohan Singh. A task force was constituted and leadership was thrust on someone who had made a name in Urban environmental and health issues without much of love and understanding for tigers and wildlife and their greater impact on climate change.

    Valmik was the lone voice who opposed the theater of absurd that was being played in the name of Task Force constituted to protect tigers. I would say, we as the people of this country have failed Valmik by not giving him the required support during this issue. If the people of this country can have a fraction of his motivation in protecting wildlife, then India can be a better place to live in.

    The greatest quality of a leader is in creating new leaders. I am sure, he will motivate and help in creating a generation of future leaders.

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