It is a business concept studied most commonly in business and psychology called ‘The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’. It is studied as a triangle that studies what human beings true needs are and where they are placed in terms of immediacy and after fulfilment of these immediate needs. The needs are places from bottom to top in the following order:-
- Self Esteem
- Self Actualisation
It is a common known fact that the most basic need of an individual is to first survive and then thrive onto other needs that lie above it.
I would like to take this principle and apply to a real demographic. The journey of India began with its independence in 1947 and it was the time of mass unrest. The luxury of doing business or having employment was a luxury when people were hanging onto their lives. It was a time of unjustness and the only thing that people in that time were doing was a struggle to survive. The most basic need of an individual. They didn’t mind being shoved into refugee camps, or living lives of hermits, anything that would make them survive and not succumb to the political scapegoating of the nations.
The struggle for survival continued however toned down. People would take up odd jobs so they could feed their families and provide for them the bare necessities of food, shelter and clothing. That was their ‘career’, shapeless and almost lost. Literacy was at an all-time low, education was a privilege and for that matter, you cannot blame the people.
We leap a few decades forward, the political environment is stable, the economy still stagnant. If this macro image propagates anything is that people were still hungry for livelihood, a leap forward from mere pennies that would run houses. They needed to create security for their future hence, inevitably climbing the ladder of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
The emergence of doctors, lawyers, engineers and businessmen grew exponentially. The bank accounts starting to ring a little better and the only catalyst to this movement was the economic liberalisation of 1991. The security was ensured and the professions through which it was procured were carried sentimentally by the people and were hugely impressed by the returns it brought.
From then came the attached nobility of these conventional professions say. If you have heard someone saying that these professions are ‘safe’, they’re safe exactly because of these were the means of security of people in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
But this is a dawn of 21st century. And the change in times is inevitable. So why is there such friction in what this young India wants and what the parents of this young India want?
The answer is simple: it is the undoing of our times that people of the previous generation can’t come to terms with. The predictable moving forward upwards through the Maslow’s hierarchy of triangles had to happen, security is now left behind and people have been choosing careers of the new avenue.
Careers that people ‘love’. Just like a direct derivative of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But when the sanctity of these new professions is questioned, the most common concerns are whether these professions are safe or would provide returns as secure as the ones that were provided to the parents of this generation. But, the truth is that the returns have also multiplied manifold than the previous generation with the due course of time. It takes a certain level of calibre to accept innovation.
And innovation in the case where some people previously used careers to survive. It is a bold move. It is the time of the entrepreneur, the actor, the unconventional, the person who took the road less taken. While the acceptance may struggle it is nothing but a barter of every generation. The needs as derived by Maslow, the society will function on them.
With a change in professional areas, our country’s growth is going hand to hands and the avenues are moral and social. The forces of capitalism have succeeded in forcing the generation of ours to look for newer resources because the students today have a sustainable roof over their heads, food in our stomachs and when that happens it gives birth to a new need; it is willpower. Our reach exceeds our grasps and in parallel to the rapidly growing country of ours, we would have to too.
Professionally, morally, and individually. For a nation can be diverse but it cannot conflict. The diversity is a true evolution the times of our country and these new avenues of learning are nothing but breeding and learning ground for the generations to come. The clock shall tick and the hierarchy of needs would prevail.