By Shivangi Dadhich:
It was so interesting to hear Meenakshi, a 33-year-old currently working with young people saying, how boring and monotonous life would become if there wasn’t an age interval of 18-25. It would be equal to not living but only imagining about-a great amount of first time experiences, energy, risk, freshness, vulnerability, vigour and spirit. Though these distinct traits of youth could be boon as well as bane for the society, isn’t it?
Also in an enriching discussion with Mr. Jaibodh Pandey, a 52-year-old foreign language teacher, it was very appealing to see how realities have been changing over time. During the era of independence, aspiration of people falling in this age bracket was so different from what it is now. 1940’s was the time for everyone to achieve that one goal of making India an independent nation, and nowadays each one has got all their energies focused on individual growth and gain.
Likewise the understanding and association of young people with governance and politics is also not the same anymore, it is a very different ball game altogether now. It would be half true to say youth does not involve in politics at all. There are different buckets that exist in the system today varying on the basis of interests, drive, situations, and backgrounds.
Amitesh, a 32-year-old film maker feels, one has to have desperate circumstances in order to feel the need of being in politics; parallels can be drawn with Naxalism wherein the urge to fight comes from a very personal space. In the same pace, Pragya, a 20-year-old aspiring CA says, today’s youth is occupied in enriching their job profiles/career and hence there is no time for getting involved in politics.
It wouldn’t be correct to generalize that urban youth is either ignorant or indifferent towards Politics. Rohitash, a graduate from Hans Raj College, DU sees himself as a known politician 5 years from now. The interesting fact here is the driving force behind this involvement…which he says is the excitement of having power and lots of money.
It’s funny to see how there is a vicious circle that goes about in the system. It is felt that we can’t change things unless we have the power, and history reveals that absolute power corrupts absolutely, so where is that gap? And going forward, where is that lever?
By now we must’ve understood that the argument is not only about whether youth should be given that space/opportunity of getting involved in politics or not (as this won’t solve the purpose, individual interests would continue to prevail) but it’s about how to build that ownership, and social bent of mind-set so that they start participating actively from current positions in order to achieve the bigger intent of win-win solutions. The difference can only be brought when the focus shifts from grabbing position and perks for personal interests to the holistic progress (overall development).
In this context, Ashish, 23-year-old suggested and implied the fact that there needs to be enough open forums wherein discussions, asking questions and challenging stories are the very basis. This will help unravel the truth and create understanding about systems not merely at the surface level but somewhere closer to reality. It’s high time we start looking beyond the information which media splashes.
Also, when I came across Noam Chomsky’s quote-“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within the spectrum”, I strongly felt that there is a need to do something even bigger and deeper.
The 5th space-which facilitate young people to expand beyond the typical 4 spaces of career-education, family, friends and leisure by exploring a journey from self to society and back… calls for a need.
• Need to develop the buy-in towards social and political system through education,
• Need to reflect and ask questions not just at the level of society but also at self,
• Need to participate proactively and consciously, rather than waiting for the 5 years tenure to end,
• Need to leave behind the individualistic approach and look at the invisible interdependence,
In a nutshell, need to restructure the social DNA, as 5th space makes the other 4 really count.
Pericles rightly quoted “Just because you do not take interest in politics, does not mean politics won’t take interest in you”. So, let’s not allow our ignorance to become someone else’s power.