“The need of Indian politics today is infusion of young blood, which takes a modern and contemporary view of things.” This is the rhetoric that most Indians sing today. But where is one supposed to get this young blood from? Student politics is an answer; a good breeding ground for future politicians. The involvement of students in the political stream is not new; it has been prevalent since the freedom movement. Today, even when the aim of politics has changed from liberating the country from alien clutches to planning for national welfare of a free country, students take active part in the field of politics.
There are two views to the issue of student politics; while one, for reasons of its own, completely abhors the idea of students involving themselves with active politics, the other supports student participation in politics of all forms and claims it to be the denial of a democratic right if disallowed. This fix calls for a moderate view-point to be taken on the issue of student politics. Like any issue, this too has both negative and positive attributes to its credit, but the sad part is that many who are involved in the issue are seldom aware of either or both sides of the coin.
Many people enter politics fully aware of it being a difficult, dirty game, thinking that though they will get themselves dirty they will emerge victorious, with power, money and fame in hand. No doubt, the present state of politics in India can best be termed a ‘dirty game’ where everyone plays for his own benefit. However we cannot overlook the existence of sincere, honest and spirited politics, nor is the tag of ‘dirty politics’ unalterable. Many young minds who are in the political fray today might not even know the meaning of ‘politics’, which is only a small dictionary-hunt away. They cannot be entirely blamed for this. The older generations of politicians have not been successful in keeping up to its meaning of ‘being instrumental in the betterment of the polity’. For the modern man the word politics has come to acquire an altogether new meaning, synonymous with corruption and scandals.
So the question that arises is whether or not the gullible, impressionable young students should be allowed entry into politics? We know that young politicians are needed and that politicians are not just born after graduation. We know that sufficient learning being required in this field, if they don’t begin early, they will be a part of the ‘older generation’ by the time they become politicians. Then why should there be an opposition to the idea of student politics? There are reasons that make people say what they do. One of their claims is that students being young and lacking in knowledge about politics, are not mentally well equipped to handle the complexities of politics. Another point that joins the list is that most students get involved in politics due to peer pressure and not out of a desire to work for the society, ending up as beneficiaries neither to the country nor to themselves. Though this claim cannot be generalised to each individual who is a part of student politics, there is a large population which gets trapped; drawn by peer pressure, they sacrifice their studies for a cause about which they do not know much nor are interested in.
Irrespective of whether one wants to take an active part in politics as a career, education in the field of politics should be imparted to students at both school and college levels. While some extra education is harmful to none, it will enable everyone to develop a dispassionate and detached view about the whole political system, and then take sides as per the ideologies that one individually supports. This automatically addresses the problem of students getting involved due to peer pressure and lack of knowledge. Another step towards education is sincerity on the part of parent political parties under whose patronage the student wings function. This must come in the form of having the party’s ideologies clearly spelt out and publicised for the benefit of prospective student politicians.
Student politics is a very benefiting field for the political system and ideally should not be discouraged; though negative attributes exist they are not invincible . Apart from the education system of the country, the parent party of any student political organization has a large part to play in the removal of these bottlenecks. While this will ensure not just young but also new blood, it will expand its effects of transparent politics and competent politicians beginning from the domain of student politics to the larger political system of the whole country.