Balance is rule of nature and it also applies to the political structure of any nation. For the smooth functioning of any government, both stability and innovation are pre requisite. The young river rushes down, curious and energetic while the old river moves slowly and steadily, confident and content. Similarly the youth are more fearless because they have seen less, more curious because they know less, more open to ideas because they are still formulating their own ideas. They bring in innovation and that breathe of fresh air which does not let the system go stale like stagnant water. On the other hand, the older generation is confident in their knowledge and experience, sure of the traditions and time tested methods bringing in the much required stability.
Sadly for India, this balance is somewhat lacking today. We have the stability and traditions but are thoroughly lagging behind in the innovation. Despite having the youngest population in world, Indian politics is mostly helmed by the old stalwarts. The reasons behind this lack of participation or even interest of the youth in politics might be several and are surely a legit topic for debate but the fact remains the same that the nation is indeed losing out because of this.
We have young people who are dissatisfied with the way things are and are at times quite vocal in voicing it out but are nevertheless, quite reluctant to participate and bring in change. At times, we get so used to the way things are happening that we are unable to notice the discrepancies which seep in with time. Something quite similar is happening to this nation today. It took a young woman to notice that freedom of speech and expression extended to online mediums too.
The continued confidence and stability is always in danger of turning into rigidity and fundamentalism which can prove quite fatal to the health of any society. Bringing in of youngsters in politics would open new avenues for debates and policy formulation. There would be more debates, more discussions, newer ideas and newer perspectives. And surely, there would be some heat, some clash between the old and new but then, humans discovered fire only when they allowed stones to clash against each other.
Seven decades ago, at the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world slept, India awoke to life and freedom. Or did it? It has been seventy years, almost three quarters to a century, and it seems apt time to sit back and analyze what these years have brought us. On that fateful night when our first prime minister talked about our tryst with destiny, in that magical moment, we, the Indians dreamt of a utopian society. Of course, that was dream too farfetched but over the years we have indeed walked some steps towards that dream but we still have a long way to go.
More than 50% of India’s population is below the age of 25, and more than 65% below 35. So going by statistics, India’s youth can play a fundamental role in shaping and running the biggest democracy in the world. Yet, as per a recent report, only 6% of the leaders and ministers in the government of India are below the age of 35. This is really shocking and implies that in spite of the availability of talent, enthusiasm, knowledge and resources, the youth of this country are not interested in jumping onto the bandwagon, be a part of the politics in India and contribute in the workings of the country. Where we have numerous young and extremely successful entrepreneurs who are earning huge money, we don’t have an equal number of young political leaders who can run the country. We also have a majority of the population which just wants to criticize but when asked to change the situations themselves, they are completely reluctant to co-operate.
What exactly is keeping the young intelligent minds of this country from getting into politics? Why, even in the 21st century, do educated and bright youths not want to start a full-fledged political career?
Politics should not be seen as the participation of experienced and old people. When young people join politics there might be more innovation ushered into digital India. Equal participation of youth in politics could lead to more fresh and innovative ideas. Young people can bring more enthusiasm and new energy on the political scenario. Policies which involve the youth could be framed by young people rather than older politicians, who are probably less likely to understand the contemporary problems faced by the young people. By making politics accessible to the youth who constitute a major chunk of our populace, the negative perceptions of politics can slowly be erased. The involvement of youth in politics leads to civic engagement which is broader than political engagement, as it includes services to the community through involvement in various sectors of development. Young people who participate actively in their community from early on are more likely to become engaged and aware citizens and voters.
After the independence of our country, the sails of the country were taken over by the old and experienced generation which was definitely important at that point of time however, it is sad to see that the trend is still continuing. While some of our young minds want to be a doctor, engineer, fashion designer, businessman there is a dearth of young bloods that are vocal about the fact that they want to be a politician.
The country desperately needs some young leaders who personify energy, enthusiasm, morality and diligence in Indian politics. No doubt, the country has progressed a lot after independence, but I think it is possible that the pace of development would have been completely different if some young torchbearers had led this development.
Abe Lincoln defined democracy as a government which is for the people, of the people and by the people and India as the world’s largest democracy imbibes this principle in its Constitution. The country has come a long way since gaining its freedom in 1947 but the challenges still remain. We, as a nation, are not a simple homogenous group. Diversity seems to be ingrained in the very veins of the country. With diversity comes a diverse range of problems and to resolve such a set of diverse problems a government comes up a diverse set of laws and schemes. It is therefore no surprise that India has a wide array of laws and schemes on the central level, state level and many a times to resolve region specific issues at the regional level too. This in itself makes navigating through all the rules a herculean task. And after one takes in consideration the lengthy procedure which must be undertaken to actually implement the government acts and laws, one can easily assess how time taking the process must be. It will be difficult but difficult choices make life worthwhile. And after all, we born to a nation which has had a tryst with destiny and we all are supposed to stay true to the destiny, both ours and our motherland’s.
More young people than ever before are actually becoming engaged in local community campaigns and other political activities but it is still not as much as it should be Youth can change the world through politics by becoming actively, meaningfully and substantially involved throughout political parties and beyond.
Barack Obama rightly said, “What I’m asking for is hard. It’s easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn’t possible, and politics is hopeless, and to believe that our voices and actions don’t matter. But if we give up now, then we forsake a better future.”
We live in a democratic country with millions of people under 25 years of age. Taking them into mainstream politics is not only desirable but an utmost necessity, without which our democratic institution may not survive.
This raises an important question about, “Why is youth involvement necessary for politics?”
The young educated youth has a different perspective and a host of new ideas. It can be safely assume they can’t be easily polarized, brainwashed and coerced into believing and casting their votes in the name of religion, caste, muscle power and freebies. The youth can reorganize the whole political system with their collective power.
The young often create ideas with guidance from experienced people. Given the chance, the youth can do so much more if they join politics on a larger scale with elders supporting them. After all, the future is best crafted by young minds and experience working together in sync. Child indeed is the father of man.
Lastly and most importantly, democracy thrives only with representation of all groups and communities in the decision making process. India seems to be missing out on the representation of one of the major groups in the land, the youth and hence, to maintain the balance between innovation and stability, India needs her youth to take lead.