Youth and Politics: Divorced Forever?

The Indian youth is experiencing what is called as the depoliticisation process or in simpler terms, a disengagement from the world of politics. There’s growing apathy towards political activities and politicians from the youth these days owing to the domination of politics by crime and corruption. Due to the lack of an efficient political system in the country and its contamination by felonious and iniquitous acts, youngsters prefer veering away from politics.


However, it was a different story altogether in the early days of India’s independence. India has given the world great, young leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi and Bhagat Singh, who all fought with utmost passion and patriotism in the nation’s freedom struggle.Infact, the greatest uprising of our country against the British forces i.e. The Quit India Movement was led valiantly by the Young Turks.


In the post independence era around the 1980’s, the Indian Youth Congress was founded and its objective was to unite the youth of India, to identify itself with their cause and to work with devotion to build a strong, powerful and self-reliant India. Also, the National Youth Day was declared on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda in the year 1985, who was a young spiritual leader who contributed immensely for the welfare of the society. However, such is the scenario today, that one is hardly aware about the existence of any such day.


With materialism being the by product of liberalization, Indian markets as well as the youth is becoming vested in its interests. Values like patriotism and love for one’s country is on a decline as the youth are turning towards MTV, McDonalds and Money making. Also, the interest of a few motivated souls is disillusioned due to the dismal performance and personalities of the current politicians. As a result, the youth has become cynical and pessimistic in its attitude towards politics. Nobody wants to become a politician nor does any parent want his or her child to venture in this field.


The trust and credibility factor which was the USP of the yesteryear politicians is nowhere to be found today. We then had charismatic leaders and today we have criminals in the guise of politicians. However, this is not reason enough for the youth to be disenchanted from politics. After all, world’s greatest wars and rebellions have been led and fought by the youth. The Fascist programme insisted on tapping the vitality of youth, even Hitler created the ‘Hitler Youth’ and endowed the German youth with a purpose. From Tienmian Square to India’s freedom struggle, youth have carried the baton of their beliefs with unflinching courage.


Even the recent past has witnessed some impetuous movements by the youth like the candle march in the Jessica Lall murder case, protests against reservations in educational institutions by the Government and the popular Pink Chaddi campaign against the tyrannical ways of Promod Muthalik. In fact, the emergence of young promising leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot and Omar Abdullah have instilled some life and dynamism in Indian politics giving youngsters the hope that ‘All is not dark out there. Leaders like Omar Abdullah are believed to bring about a new vivacity in the valley in his regime with attitudinal changes being evident in the voting patterns observed in the recent J&K elections.


However, in order to reinvent the zeal of youngsters in politics, certain measures are imperative. Indian political system does not offer any incentives to the youth to engage in politics. Also, it is shameful that until and unless one belongs to a political dynasty, he/she has to face immense resistance in this field to become a MP. Politics is in any case seen as a very dirty career full of cut-throatism and back stabbing and on top of that there is absolutely no premium placed on community leadership in our country which forms an integral part of US educational curriculum. The existing political exposure at the university level is petty and driven by the selfish interests of national level political parties. Candidatures are selected not on the basis of capability but the closeness the candidate shares with the major political leaders. As a result of which campuses are no better than deserted islands on the polling day which speaks for the dirty muck dominating college and university level politics.


But the only remedy for this disease is exercising our power to vote and discharge the duties of a responsible citizen. One has to traverse the hard way in order to bring about a change for the better. Until and unless we do not put our hands in the muck, it will stay there forever and stagnate even more. Passing the buck won’t help. Almost every field today has its bit of muck, it is just that politics is not as glamorous and convenient an option to opt for.


The media can play a great role in motivating the youth to join politics. Attitudinal changes need to be brought about by reporting of positive changes and developments in politics and not just negative or cynical news stories. By covering events where the youth has helped in shaping the course of important political issues, the media can compel changes in the existing mindsets.


Our youth should be inspired by their American counterparts who have brought about a revolution in American politics by electing Barack Obama, a young Afro-American leader as America’s President. In fact, Internet and technology played a major role in influencing this historical event. Presidential debates were facilitated by means of sites like You Tube where the American youth were given a forum to address their concerns and queries to the Presidential candidates which proved to be a huge success.


Similarly, steps like facilitating voting via text messages or Internet can further help in engaging the youth. A big factor for Obama winning the elections was that his ideas and values gelled with the imagination and hopes of the youth. An organization like Youth Congress should invent ingenious ways to reignite the interest of youngsters and actively involve them in the country’s political process. It is said that ‘In every year of history one law has invariably proved its unchanging truth: youth will always triumph over age.’ This rhetoric can surely be turned into reality if the youth desires.

Akshuna Bakshi

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