`You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn`t enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren`t enough, you snobs. Your trust funds weren`t enough. Your vodka and cognac wasn`t enough. All your debaucheries weren`t enough. Those weren`t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.`
These were the words of Cho Seung-Hui, a young student who gunned down 32 fellow students and teachers in Virginia Tech campus on April 16 before committing suicide. It was the deadliest shooting in modern US history.
Cho could have been speaking for millions of youngsters; particularly those on the wrong side of the have and have-not divide.
`If the expectations of young people are not fulfilled in time, it results in frustration, making them deviate from the mainstream,` believes Maloy Dhar, former joint director of the Intelligence Bureau.
Addressing a conference on `Youth at Risk,` co-organised by Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre and Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development in Chennai from August 22-26, he said young people around the world generate two powerful emotions in our minds - fear and hope. The fear, that they would disown and destroy all our civilization values, and the hope that they could revive, enrich, recreate and carry forward all the positive aspects of our collective heritage. These fears, hopes and frustrations are growing each day.
Nearly a million people worldwide kill themselves each year. There are an estimated 10 to 20 million attempted suicides every year. Many of them are youngsters unable to cope with these emotions. Many others rebel, and youngsters are constantly in conflict with law. Add terrorism to this mix, and you have a million disasters waiting to happen.
The Chennai conference, which had young -and some not so young --representatives from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the Maldives - was an attempt to understand these linkages and arrive at some solutions.