~ Ankita and Suhasi
Source: Kathmandu Post
In India, it has always been considered that ‘our youth’ is never interested in the Indian political system, and Indian democracy or politics in general. We can often see elders picking on children
for their disinterest in politics or the general ‘I don’t care’ attitude of the youth. So, to define ‘youth’ for statistical purposes, the United Nations defines it as those who fall in the age group of 15 to 24 years. Youth constitutes a major portion of the Indian population. So, if this major demographic of our population starts ignoring the political system, what would be its consequences?
It would certainly lead to drastic changes in the political system that we see today because, in the end, the youth are the future leaders and citizens of the country. For a successful future of democracy, the present youth needs to be interested and informed to make informed choices themselves so that they are not easily exploited.
Why is this generation so detached from politics?
There can only be two situations that compel the youth to not care. One of those is that they are very confident about how things are going or secondly it may be that they don’t think it’s something worth putting their energy into. We believe the second option to be the significant cause of this kind of attitude. In reality, children are never taught about how the real political system works and all that they hear throughout their lives from the adults is how corrupt and dirty the political business really is. So, as a result, they obviously tend to stay away from it.
Just like every other aspect, this is just a general case and does not apply to every single young person. Some still tend to be interested in politics which may be due to various reasons.
In 2019, Chandrani Murmuru became the youngest member of the Parliament at the age of 25 years which is the minimum age required to be a Lok Sabha member. Even though India is considered as a young country with a large young population, the concentration of young people in the parliament is drastically low compared to that. The average age of the members of parliament has increased over the years and usually is above 50 years. This implies that experience wins over youth.
Just the way we can’t progress with the same technology over the years, similarly, we can’t progress with the same mindset of the elders in this fast-paced world which demands new and innovative ideas.
Furthermore, this demographic poses huge challenges to young people who want to enter politics. So, most people opt out rather than fight and leave politics altogether. All this doesn’t point to the fact that the youth doesn’t take its stand against injustice or exploitation. We can see them all protesting for issues ranging from standing against CAA, NRC, NPR to advocating for sustainable development, against JNU authorities or Nirbhaya’s gang rape. So, they clearly want change in society and the educated and well-informed youth are the ones who can help the country grow economically, socially and politically.
Social media and Politics
Politics have entered the domain of social media to gather the support of the youth voters and they use it to feed them whatever they feel is beneficial to them to secure the vote bank. The information that we get is so biased that it’s hard to get it out of your own echo chambers to understand other people’s beliefs, perspective and ideologies. The young people stuck in these echo chambers find it nearly next to impossible to come out and understand any situation unbiasedly and from a neutral perspective.
Why does the youth need to rise in the political world?
The youth needs to get their hands dirty to clean some of the dirt that has gathered over the years. The Swachh_Bharat_Mission has been quite disappointing in the arena of politics. Most of the political leaders tend to use the vulnerabilities, insecurities and weak points among people hailing from different castes, creeds, religions and cultures to breed hateful emotions which leads to Communalism. The purpose is further fulfilled through hate speeches, insulting rants and outrageous statements that prey on the individuality of people and spreads communalism. We often hear in newspapers and media about the increasing cases of mob lynching and violence.
There is an ugly web woven in the political world that is hard to detect but impossible to overlook. Every citizen of India wants employment, electricity, house, water, sanitation and safety. They don’t care about caste or religion. They are busy earning a livelihood and making two ends meet. To combat the problems at the grass-root levels, the youth come up with a different approach, the forward-thinking and different structure for the political world for them hate and discrimination are unacceptable while these political leaders provoke violence and planned murders and then act as messiahs of the people.
The questions that we should be asking ourselves is, who are these people? Who are the Hindu vigilantes that move around wrapped in red shrouds and stabbing people in public? Who are the people who troll on the internet and give rape threats to a woman who dares to put forth a strong and non-negotiable perspective? Who are the goons that go around abusing, attacking and curtailing the freedom of journalists who speak against a certain political party?
The youth has the potential to redraw the boundaries of patriotism, empowerment and equality. We don’t want the kind of patriotism with narrow boundaries that start and end at false promises. A young politician is less likely to shame a rape survivor by saying ‘she was asking for it’ and we think it is despicable for us as a nation to have these parasites and hateful creatures as our leaders. The youth shall be an icon of true nationalism and patriotism and this is possible only when we all work together to destroy the web of these fanatics and communalists.