By Pooja Malhotra:
Some find it murky; others call it a mystery…
Some feel it’s synonymous with scandals; others think it’s all about power…
Some call it corrupt; others call it democratic…
Some strongly believe that it’s for oldies; others feel there’s no room for the young.
Yes, you guessed right – we’re talking about Politics – the one word that evokes such varied responses that we, at 5th Space (an initiative by Pravah and Community Youth Collective), were curious to unravel as to what comes to your mind when you see/read the word politics. Most people don’t seem to have a great view of ‘Politics’, so we invited young people to share their views and how it was formed – was it through personal experiences or are we getting swayed by the media perception?
Ambika Puri, a young participant, feels that politics definitely is a word she’d love to ignore because it’s one thing she hates. She says, “Politics is actually suppose to be good for the country, but sadly the opposite happens in India.”
On the same note, Shreyanjana Bhattacherjee believes that politicians are a group of power hungry folks engaging in a battle of elimination where loss of a way of life or ‘life’ itself are just another form of ‘collateral damage‘. Harsh Gupta agrees, “Politics is a system…a system with power, power to rule…rule to suppress. Most Political leaders in India, with their cunning methods have surpassed every limit. As a result young people in India have developed an indifference to politics resulting in further prejudices; we choose to contempt by ignoring it.” The egalitarian view shared by most young people like Kais Bar and Sulochana Thapa is that politics is a loose administration run by oldies, with little or no opportunity for youth and the underprivileged. As Malavika Pavamani puts it ‘Politics is highly disconnect from issues/concerns of the people that it seeks to represent!’
Our concern over the present state of politics in our country – its tensions, disparities, absence of goodness, violations – fosters many of us with an uneasy combination of two sensations: those of urgency and powerlessness. We feel an inherent need to do something before it is too late, but we have little idea of what we as individuals, or as a family or a group of friends, could possibly do to steer the system towards a win-win dynamics.
The 5th Space tries to explore the choices we, as the youth of the country, have. It stimulates young minds to consider the options for civil society and instils the confidence that solution lies in our own hands – all we need to do is – simply rethink the choices we make on a day-to-day basis, of the ways we use our time, of the family lives we live, of the sorts of goods and services we consume, of the quality of democracy we are able to exercise. Whether our views about politics being dirty, dishonest, derailed…etc. stem from our personal experiences or have been influenced by media perceptions, the fact remains that politics shapes our daily lives and the dynamics of our political system will define the quality of our lives. The individual, the local, and the global are inextricably intertwined, in positive as well as negative ways. Passivity and indifference at the individual level contribute greatly to collective dismay at the condition of our world. With the election season round the corner, it’s time to reflect to on our values and principles and to be effectively involved in the decision-making process – exploring the power to exercise our rights and be actively involved in changing our communities for the better.