Youth and Politics

The introduction of youth in politics is a pre-requisite for any successful democracy. It is certainly not a luxury if a corruption-free state has to be created, or so, all the leading dailies would have us believe. But have these dailies ever stepped deep into the world of student politics and really evaluated how they work? What all of us tend to do, at most points of our lives, is to focus on just one aspect of an alternative. The conviction of our times is that the youth have to step into the gutters of politics and clean up the mess created by older fools. But as the cliché runs, ‘there is another side to this coin’.

Consider a government where no minister is over the age of 50. Can we be certain now that corruption is plainly out-of-the-question? Obviously not! After only a few moments of cogitating and deliberating, one sees the possibility of a role reversal between the age-old cause and effect of politics, that is to say, maybe not all politicians are corrupt, and maybe- just maybe- all politicians are honest and have the strongest moral fibre and maybe the sheer immensity of power blinds them; just try and imagine what sort of power one may have if he/she is to decide the course of a country of one billion individuals- awe-inspiring right!

The amount of money that exchanges hands in a university election would strike an ignorant person dumb. We cannot even begin to imagine the depths a student may go to secure a victory in the elections. Violence is no stranger in college campuses on the Election Day- in fact the lack of it (on the very rare occasion) appears surreal. Scheming, plotting, trading of votes, etc. is, in fact, the norm. For instance, if one were to contest for, say, the president of DUSU (Delhi University Students’ Union) under any major party, few lakhs of rupees are quoted as the initial investment- no kidding! Even the most honest soul would want the recovery of his expenditure, if not return-on-investment. So how can one count money out?

The individual politicians are not culpable, the system is; in fact, the biggest felon is politics itself. Obviously, individual politicians can outrightly reject corruption and try to minimize its effect on the system- but it is one thing to write an advice of the sort and quite another to be the one who implements it. It would require a will stronger than the strongest element on earth and a fanatical hatred for corruption. The point here is not that politicians are irreproachable but the fact that more than half the blame lies on politics. In fact, politics over the years has become so decadent that even if God were to try and clean up the mess, maybe even He would end up being dragged into the mess; so what real chance do the youth have?

It is not entirely true to say that the Youth would have no effect on the system- of course they would bring in more transparency, dynamism, candor and faith in the system but a good-bye to corruption is too much of an ask. It can only be accomplished gradually and it is not essential to phase out older people for such a purpose. What is required is a change in the attitudes and newer perspectives. It would be a huge leap forward if instead of blaming the politicians, we understand the intrinsic dissoluteness of politics and its consumptive power. How true it is- ‘Power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of power corrupts those who are subject to it’.

Parul Punjabi

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