She has been home to heroes from centuries ago like King Ashoka, King Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya, to King Akbar and with their great vision and leadership; she became established as a force to be reckoned with, setting patterns for others to follow. She has also been home to Mahatma Gandhi, who led 400 million people to freedom from the Imperial rule of the British that lasted for around two hundred years. Today, she stands as an emerging super-power on the global stage with a fast growing economy and an improving display of diplomacy. Our motherland, India today stands as a very young and the largest democracy in the world. But what is ironical is the fact in the governance of the young democracy; the young have no part to play.
With the General Elections just around the corner, the nation is preparing itself for another major turn of events in the course of its governance. One of the biggest bidders for power at the Centre, the BJP, received a lot of criticism when they declared Mr. L.K Advani as their Prime Ministerial candidate. The reason for the criticism was Mr. Advani’s old age, with a lot of people believing the true motivation behind the decision was sheer ambition and nothing else. But what many people fail to realize is that one of the key reasons for India’s trend of being governed by the mighty old is the total absence of the youth in the sphere of politics.
Every single one of us has the habit of blaming our faults and inefficiencies on a third party, which most of the times turns out to be the Government. Unfortunately, this habit of laying the blame has manifested itself into becoming a disease that infects the entire nation and the present generation has helped greatly in the proliferation of the blame game.
It is true that politics in India is more of a profession and a means of minting money for people and it is they who are driven by greed and ambitions that are coined “politicians” in our country. So, while the coalition of the power hungry and the greedy is called the “Government”, it cannot be denied, that the ones who coin these men corrupt, unethical and unqualified to run the country, are equally skilled and intense in every one of the qualities mentioned above. So while the nation burns in social and political turmoil, the politicians and the people alike do nothing but comment on their helplessness over the situations. But there is still one lot of the society that claims to have the ability and the desire to make an impact. That lot of the society is the Generation-X, i.e. the youth of the nation.
Gone are the days when only the weathered and the experienced were regarded fit enough to run the nation. The world with its dizzying pace of growth has proved that dynamism is also a very vital quality that every national leader needs to possess, sometimes even more important than age; the most contemporary example of this fact being the victory of President Barrack Obama over the well experienced John McCain. The youth of India has proved its worth in matters of intellect and talent, showcasing again and again that dynamism thrives amongst it like blood in the veins. But while our present generation makes a name for it globally, it unfortunately takes the quality of selfishness from the generation before it a notch higher. The dynamism in the youth of today is exhibited flamboyantly in protests against Government sanctions and Human Rights Violation, but unfortunately, this is the only time that their dynamism is exhibited.
Blaming the government for everything-big or small-is one of the most dominant traits of the present generation. From the poor maintenance of roads to the disorganized and corrupt public sector, the youth let nothing escape their wrath and fury at the inefficiency of the Government while very intelligently ignoring their own acts of littering on the streets, paying money to middlemen and agents for getting driving licenses made in order to escape the pain of standing in queues. The 26/11 Mumbai carnage was a big moment of national tragedy, but the unification of the nation in order to stand together as one, especially by the youth was a moment of national pride, reminding every one of us that the spirit of being a One-India is still as alive in every one of us, as it was during our struggle for independence. But even in the moments of solidarity following the 26/11 attack, moments of self-centeredness were witnessed. While the youth took active part in the charge against the inefficiency of the Centre, the attitude still remained of “the politicians must do something to change the nation”, instead of taking charge in the gradual change of the nation themselves.
While this does not mean that the people should take the entire law and order into their own hands, it means that the attitude of letting others handle charge of the nation needs to change. For the youth, just like everyone else, every national tragedy is gradually forgotten and the political sins are overlooked soon after their anger is calmed. So while the youth remains active only in the criticism of events and mostly ignores responsibility to run the nation, they cannot be blamed solely because the seeds for tree of “lack of initiative” were sown long before.
There are several reasons that gradually shifted the ethos and outlook of the people towards governance. Firstly, the entire system that a child experiences right from the very first day is a very judgmental one. Parents of most children mould their thoughts from a very young age in such a way that the children are made to believe that pursuing a profession like engineering, medicine or business is one that the society respects while other professions like social work, writing or politics are ones that are meant for the “not-so-talented.” As a consequence of this, the talented lot chooses every other option but politics. This explains the high prevalence of untalented young politicians like “Raj Thackrey” and the recently controversial “Varun Gandhi”, who do everything but focus their energies on the betterment of the people. Thus, it is very important for the youth to realize that contribution towards the betterment of the poor and the under-privileged, and not just pursuing private jobs, is a major factor in the development of the country.
Secondly, the trend of living in a free market economy also does the nation some harm in the process of doing well and spreading wealth. The youth today focuses mostly on minting money above anything else and things like individual status and relative power matter much more to them than national integrity, national development and national pride. So, making full use of the free market economy’s opportunities of acquiring wealth, the youth choose to stay out of social work and politics. So while Capitalist trends are essential for the growth of the economy, Socialist trends need to be given an equal importance in order to make the youth an active participant in the governance of the country.
Thirdly, as mentioned earlier, governing the nation doesn’t only require the same aspects of professionalism, cut-throatism and shrewdness as running a company or a law firm. It involves a tremendous amount of compassion and love for all citizens alike and the ultimate-aim being their happiness and well being along with economic success. Although, the present generation possesses a lot of love for their countrymen, unfortunately that love gets succeeded by the desire to achieve and love for one’s own future. Thus, the youth of today focuses on their jobs and careers, which they ought to, but definitely not at the expense of neglecting the responsibility for betterment of the nation. The youth highly criticize the fact that politics, just like Bollywood only offers room to those who are connected to it either by wealth or by lineage. Although, what remains to be pondered upon is the question that how many of these critical youth actually express desire towards taking part in the governance of the nation.
A major section of the relatively young generation that chooses politics, does so after living a comfortable life as doctors or lawyers or business men, and they do so only because they see politics as a route towards gaining more power in the society and in some cases, retaining it. Therefore, as long as becoming a leader is seen by the youth as a means of attaining individual power and not running the nation in order to do as good as possible, the nation will never be able to benefit by the extremely rich resource that the youth provides it with.
Thus, the youth needs to remember and abide by the ideals that the nation was created with i.e. the ideals of taking the nation on the road to progress through collective efforts by its own citizens. They need to stop seeing themselves through the nation and instead they should see the nation through themselves. For it is only when we think of the National Flag and the National Anthem at times other than just before the commencement of a movie in a movie-hall, the urge to take charge of the Nation will always stay alive.