The Youth Must Vote

From being perceived as irresponsible and reckless to being called the strength of the nation, the youth of India has come a very long way. Not many today makes the mistake of undermining the power that youth possesses. In fact so much has been said about how young leaders are going to change the face of our country that any more discussion on this would be totally redundant.

But what is absolutely amazing is how much faith the political parties and the entire country have in the sagacity of today’s youth. Recently during the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections of 2009, there was tremendous campaigning on the importance of voting, especially directed towards the first time voters. It most certainly was the best time to come of age. Never before had the First Time Voter been encouraged so earnestly to cast his vote in the upcoming elections and explained so meticulously the difference his vote can make in the larger scheme of things for the betterment of the country. Young boys and girls were seen contemplating the rigmarole of the elections and debating over whether a candidate was just jingoistic or essentially considerate.

The idiosyncratic laidback attitude and apathy associated with the voters, young and otherwise had gone for a toss. Earlier, appeals for young voters to understand the value of their votes in elections were not only few and far between but also poorly strategized. However this year, the television was awash with prominent celebrities highlighting the importance of voting. If you would have tuned into any FM radio station for even five minutes, you must have heard a witty, well executed campaign urging people to vote, come what may.

However, despite the heartening and extensive campaigning, a lot of people didn’t vote, contradicting the comforting opinion that Indian voters are not apathetic. It was not too surprising which makes it all the more tragic. People have always been skeptical about politics and are usually very suspicious or cynical of politicians. A lot of us are only concerned about how something is going to affect us on an individual level, clearly forgetting, out of credulity or absurdity that’s hard to say, that we will never be able to progress unless the country progresses. Our progress clearly depends on how much we’re doing for the country, the basic contribution being voting. Also, three of the most prominent campaigners and A-list celebrities, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, in spite of crying themselves hoarse about the value of every single vote, didn’t turn up to vote themselves. Whatever the reason maybe, it was a glitch that cannot be overlooked and didn’t go down very well with people since the three happen to be ensconced youth icons.
To change the system, you have to be in the system, an oft repeated line but true to the core. The idea of living in a country of utopian standards is entirely preposterous if nothing substantial is done by every citizen and not just by the government or the politicians. It shouldn’t be too hard to comprehend that if we take responsibility for the tiniest of decisions taken for our country, we wouldn’t have to be appalled at the earth shattering decisions some government takes after we have lost all say in the matter. Casting our vote is not only our prerogative but also a colossal responsibility that must be fulfilled by all means. A government that is of the people, for the people and by the people is hollow if the people shirk away from their duties.

Notwithstanding all this, the elections were held, the results were declared, some parties rejoiced and others plotted. Statements were made and countered, oaths were taken and more promises were made. One can only hope that during the next elections, more people vote, and less people say, ‘how does it even matter? It’s not going to make a difference to me.’ Because it does, it really does.

Kashika Saxena

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