66. A case against Nepali journalists – Part IV

The Rape of Youth

I always cringe at the way ‘youth’ is used in our Nepali English newspapers. I’m talking about the word youth, by the way. Whenever I see it being used to mean an individual, I suffer a mild kidney failure. I don’t know how to explain it but the meaning of ‘youth’ as ‘the time in someone’s life when one was young’ has permanently remained stuck in my head. Or, as ‘a mass of young people in general’ is what I imagine when I think of the word youth.

And, thus I can never align my brain to the meaning of youth as prescribed by our Nepali newspapers – the meaning as a singular form, explicitly used to denote a young man or a boy. And, be alarmed, this young man or a boy is usually associated with crime, violence or accident. Just a google search with the keywords ‘kathmandu post youth’ brings these results confirming the widespread (mis)use of the word. Interestingly, in Nepali newspapers, youth is rarely a girl.

Youth dies in police custody…
A youth has allegedly thrown acid on the face of an 18-year-old girl…
Youth dies in a bike accident…
Local youth murdered…
Youth Shot Dead in Raxaul…
Remains of the missing youth recovered…
Raju Prajapati, an 18-year-old youth of Birgunj in Parsa who was abducted six months ago…

This is the reason why I always cringe with disgust when I see youth in the headline.

It is not supposed to be this way. Youth is such a poetic word. ‘Youth dies in police custody’ sounds like the title of a poem written by a revolutionary. Youth is such a positive word. Youth suggests a generation. Youth is beyond gender. Youth power. Youth association. Youth movement. Youth style. Youth culture. Youth anthem. But youth is so much beyond a boy who throws acid on a girl’s face (poor girl), youth is so much beyond a man who dies in a bike accident (poor guy).


(A quick check for confirmation. I googled ‘BBC news youth’ and ‘CNN news youth’, also did some collocation searches, alas, their use of youth was quite traditional.)

What I suggest:

Boy dies in a bike accident…
Remains of the missing teenager recovered…
A young man allegedly throws acid on a girl…

Don’t they look simple and clear enough to understand !

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