A survey of high school and college students from 11 cities has revealed that about half of them would prefer military rule over a democracy. But perhaps what is more is that an astonishing 65 percent 'agree' that boys and girls from different religions should not mingle.
The survey also threw up other shockers. While more than half of the students surveyed believed that women 'provoke' men with the way they dress, close to half of them say women have no choice but to accept violence.
The survey, conducted by Children's Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA), a Bengaluru-based NGO, covered about 10,000 high-school and college students from 11 cities across the country.
On the question of democracy, 50 per cent of the respondents preferred military rule to democracy. The same number insisted that migrants should go back 'home'.
"The state the country is in, we need an authoritative leader. We need someone who tells us what to do", said Soumitra, a student.
However, there were other who held the opposite point of view. "I am disappointed. We will be the future generation, driving the country in different fields. We have to go to our roots and eliminate these things," said Tejashri, a student at the Welingkar Institute.
The findings of the survey are symptomatic of the times, according to Manjunath Sadashiva, director of CMCA. "This shows that the youth does not have a critical appreciation of the liberties and freedom one enjoys in a democracy. It shows the cynicism and disillusionment with the political scenario, but doesn't justify the preference for an authoritarian government or military rule," he says.
"Our society is going to be further fragmented. Social tension is going to increase, and not decrease, if these youngsters are not equipped with necessary skills, attitudes and values to live in a multi-culturual democracy," Mr Sadashiva added.