In the sixties and the seventies, the new activists came from the elite educational institutions, like IITs, Xaviers, and many from Foreign Universities. They either joined left politics or movements, or formed NGOs.
Today, a large number come from the corporate sector, particularly those who were hurried into it through competitive pressures while still in college.
Nikhil Sethi argues for a middle path. He says..
The vast majority of the corporate employees would know nothing about what they were actually doing. When your actions are “technicalized” and compartmentalized to such degrees, even the most abhorrent of acts can be participated in with full enthusiasm without any bad/sad feelings. As you progress in your corporate career, because of your increasing roles and the need for some oversight and integration, a little of the blinders have to be removed, just a little. By that time, most employees are so well indoctrinated, so dependent upon the earnings from their work, that many are quite successful in ignoring what they see, hence internalizing the blindfold.
Many channel the real-life inputs they’re receiving in other ways, like joining a cause on the weekends, like planting some trees, like donating to an orphanage once a year, like providing for one child’s education... It is vital in eating away at the blindfolds and remains to this day the one thing that the corporate engines suffer the most damage from.
The malpractices of many NGOs that are visible, are inherited, manifestations, of the relatively invisible malpractices of the corporates and high-net-worth individuals that fund them. Initially it’s taken as a necessary adjunct to the large amounts of funding that make implementing their cause possible; but over time the duplicity claws its way through into other spheres of their work, and causes things that don’t have any direct relation with the funding compulsions.
Other ways of engaging with the world, and sustaining ourselves, exist. Everyone has a role to play somewhere. Exclusivity is not essential. Hybridizations are possible. And there is no need to try to jump from one absolute bastion to another. It is ok to act in relative terms, so long as you're being true to yourself. Transitions can include anything in the middle, all you need to keep in mind is what you want to be transitioning to, and whether what you’re doing is helping that transition or hurting it. - Nikhil Sheth: Better to work in Corporates! Really. Sept 6, 2013 http://nikhilsheth.blogspot.in/2013/09/better-to-work-in-corporates-really.html