This is an Old vs Young conflict

Right. So this is pretty much a Boomer vs Millennial fight at this point.

I am talking not so much about people's actual age groups, but about the differences in approaches to the question of what it means to be a citizen. Over and over again, the thing that keeps coming across from pro-CAA quarters is some variation of "kids these days - they don't know what they are doing - they are being misguided - they confuse self confidence for wisdom - they don't know the world like we do".

Aside from being decidedly yawn-inducing, these responses also demonstrate the disconnect between modes of thinking. They don't think very highly of this generation's intelligence. In their eyes, millennials are distinguished by their tendency to be on their phones all day, thinking of themselves, and doing things they don't understand.

I mean, whoever thought making social media a career was a good idea? Raise your hands if you have ever struggled with explaining to uncles and aunties what you do for a living. Raise your hands if you know uncles and aunties who have no clue how hard the digital professional works or even what her priorities are. Raise your hand if you have been told to not worry about society and that our leaders know what is best and that they will do what is good for us.

These are the opinions (or lack thereof) of a generation that thought of "putting up" with the system as a virtue. A generation that has almost no concept of what a citizen should be. A generation summarised by "tu tera dekh", that has a very selfish outlook on life. And even though right now, you might find young people on the other side of this ideological divide, the voice they speak with belongs to that generation. In this voice, they speak of tradition, obedience, patriarchy (sometimes even without knowing it), and a kind of xenophobic nationhood that is completely alien to the kind of India you and I see ourselves belonging to.

Perhaps things would have been different if the Boomers had the resources available to expose their minds to the world and to watch in real time how the world is changing and the forces that are shaping it. Perhaps things would have been different if they had the concept of self care and were trained to prioritise their own mental health and had someone to tell them that caring for the well-being of people not from their community is not unpatriotic and that citizenship necessitates activism.

But what we are left with right now for the most part are uncaring elders who think caring is a weakness and that obedience is a virtue. So as we head into the next phase of the freedom struggle of 2020, prepare to counsel your families. And while you're at it, prepare to say "okay boomer" to some folks your age.