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Youth in Politics: Dare to Scavenge the Filth of Stained Profession? [Problems and Solutions]

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There isn’t much to describe about the current state of Indian politics and its impact. Each of the big political scandals in the history of India would reaffirm the fact that politicians who are meant for building the nation are actually engaged in looting, degrading and distorting the integrity of the same for their personal benefits. Bofors Scandal, Babri Masjid Demolition, Fodder Scam, JMM Bribery Case, Gujarat Riots, Taj Corridor Case, innumerable Land Scams, the very recent Telecom Scam so on and so forth…the list is endless. The present state of our political system refrains the motivated youth from entering into this stained profession. Why not give it a try? You will get to do heroic acts of EVM tampering, intimidation, buying votes, switching parties on grounds of a secure ticket or just killing party men for the same. Or if you are really young, you would definitely be instrumental in calling a Bandh, launching inappropriate protests with a like-minded group of yours, torturing couples on Valentine’s Day, engaging in flaring up riots when your party demands and even much more destructive work than you can ever imagine. This is indeed the role which youths are currently playing in politics.

Root cause of this menace

If we analyse deeply the root cause of the shape politics has taken today, we would find two of the reasons to be prominent ones — Corruption and Illiteracy. Had it not been for the low morale of corrupt and greedy politicians, such bizarre incidences of eating away the public funds would never occur. At times, everything seems to be centered around the materialistic greed of politicians. The opposition slams every possible right move of the ruling government in a hope to gain popularity amongst the public and to express its delusive concern for public welfare. All this is to win the next elections and fill their coffers. Coming to the second cause of illiteracy, around 70% of Indian population is rural and approximately 35% illiterate. Given this fact, the poor and downtrodden are always an easy catch for politicians. That describes how Mrs. Shiela Dixit and Mr. Laloo Yadav managed to rule for three terms in Delhi and Bihar respectively with a clear contrast in the two cases. (Shiela Dixit is currently ruling the third term.)

Does family background matter?

Taking cues from young leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia etc. it would appear quite impressive for an Indian youth to find highly qualified young fellows being active in politics. But what about a common youth who does not have a Godfather in Indian Politics? What about people like you and me? Is the journey to a seat in the Parliament so easy? Think about it…

What can be done?

  • A Bill should be passed for mandatory retirement of politicians who are above 65 years of age. This would pave the way for young and dynamic leaders who are not resilient to changes in their ideologies and who do not have an orthodox approach towards issues. Currently a minimum age of 25 years is the only restriction.
  • Stricter qualification eligibility for election contestants: Post Graduate should be the minimum criterion. A school dropout cannot manage a portfolio. There are no educational bindings at present.
  • More awareness and importance should be given to Political Science subject in schools. This awareness will prompt interested students to go for such subjects in graduation instead of blindly following what the crowd is doing.
  • It should be made mandatory for all parties to give a fixed percentage of tickets of any constituency to young leaders of party.
  • There is a need for restriction on number of terms a politician can serve a cabinet post so that young leaders are also given a chance and the portfolios are transferred over to the younger generation.
  • Portfolio allotment should be done the basis of qualification of an elected MP. This would ensure better management and insight of work at the minister’s end.
  • More often than not Election Commission fails to monitor criminal record of contestants.  Criminals get elected owing to less number of better candidates against them for obvious reasons.  Who wants to put his life at stake?

Role of Aged Politicians:

We can’t let go waste the valuable experience of old leaders and diplomats. After the retirement, if a politician is fit mentally and is willing to provide his services to the nation, he can continue to be an asset for the nation. In those cases, he should be (not can be) given Advisory Posts in various portfolios. This would also ensure better guidance of the young blood entering into politics and overall it would be a productive step for the country.

Concluding this article, I can say that the road to the reforms in Indian Politics do not seem to be an easy task. It is only when we youth would feel a need for it that the reforms would be given a consideration.

image: A Trinamool Congress party supporter holds a party flag and jostles to get closer to the dais during a rally marking Martyr’s Day in Calcutta, India, Tuesday, July 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

The writer is a Goa based Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and also a student at BITS, Pilani — Goa Campus.

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  1. bhargava

    inspring one. hope it brings some thought into the youth, and atleast few of them come up to take the challenge after reading this. keep writing 🙂

  2. Ravi

    Hey, you have covered the subject nicely. Hope some concerned authorities may see this and take steps to implement a few ideas that would make it easier for young people like us to enter poltics.

  3. Ankur Kumar

    Thanks Bhargava and Ravi for your comments…I am sure Youth Ki Awaaz can take up the challenge of making the voice of youth loud enough for concerned people to react…I am trying my best. Thanks again for your comments.

  4. Anupam

    That is a very well written article, Ankur. Politics has become a stained field of endeavor in India. I like your suggestions for improvement. Nevertheless, I am not sure how making a post graduate degree a pre requisite for a contesting for seats will help. Think about it – about 35% of the people are illiterate; that when a person who can merely read/write is considered literate. Imagine how much of the population will not have access to college education. Having a post graduate degree requirement will change the criterion from “having a godfather/godmother in politics” to “being able to afford post graduate education”.

  5. shivangi mittal

    hey the article is preety awesome ankur, covers different aspects which we never thought can happen.
    but i want to add that not just the illitrates are spoiling the political system,it is the very intelligent people who find loopholes in our system and use that for their own goodwill.

    and ankur do you really think that shiela dixit is in power because of illitrate people voting for her? delhi doesn’t have that much of illitrate percentage!!!right?

  6. Wise guy

    the only solution is get outta this country. brain drain is the solution.

  7. Ankur Kumar

    @ shivangi

    Thanks for your comments Shivangi. You are very correct in your remarks about Illiteracy and that’s exactly what I have written. Illiteracy is one such loophole which our shrewd and diplomat politicians cash on for winning their votes, by making false promises to illiterate people in rural areas. These people do not have far sightedness, broad vision and rational approach which comes through meaningful education. They get carried away by false promises made by politicians in rallies conducted in villages. False assurances of providing cheap ration, farmer loan write offs etc. work as sugar candy for them and such rallies influence several villages because of this.

    ” and ankur do you really think that shiela dixit is in power because of illitrate people voting for her? delhi doesn’t have that much of illitrate percentage!!!right? ”

    You took it the other way round. I meant exactly what you have written. I have compared Bihar and Delhi, with Bihar having large illiterate population and Delhi having lesser. Please read this para again, it would be clear to you.

  8. Ankur Kumar

    @ Anupam

    Thanks a lot for your comments Anupam. I think Politics is a very serious and challenging profession and deserves qualified people. I think being a P.G. for holding a portfolio and serving your nation, is a necessity, considering the vision and mindset you are required to have for doing this work effectively. It is education alone which broadens our horizon with increased knowledge.

    As far as getting P.G. candidates for contesting elections is concerned, I think, it is only when such restrictions are put that worthy and qualified people will com forward and contest elections. You need 542 PGs for 542 Lok Sabha seats. I am sure India has these many worthy PGs who would be interested in serving the country. Also if you consider the present scenario, where the youth is mad about Medical and Engineering field, I think there are lot of potential candidates hidden in this crowd, who are not meant for career in these fields but are fit for subjects like Political Science/Public Administration etc. and given a chance and direction they can excel in this field and can serve the nation better than school drop outs.

  9. Ankur Kumar

    @ Wise guy

    That’s exactly why we are not improving. Losing our talent at the hands of foreign countries. Some of our learned politicians like Dr. Manmohan Singh, Dr. P. Chidambaram etc, have obtained foreign education before joining politics. But they have returned and are serving their countrymen. We require something similar for people joining politics but not brain drain altogether. Foreign education widens your perspective and makes it easier to understand the misery at the grass root level in our country, when you compare the amenities provided and the administrative work done in the west with ours.

  10. Wise guy

    talented people should go where their talents are harnessed. those who waste their talents staying in a place like india are simply foolish. brain drain is the solution. only the brains which are bad do not get drained. people who criticise brain drain are simply saying grapes are sour.

  11. Ravi

    @ Wise Guy ……. If you have problem in your country then you should solve the problem instead of leaving it and moving away. India can progress at a much faster rate if we try for it.
    Also if one has a problem in his home he doesnt run away , he solves the problem . Same way consider your country also

    @ shivangi mittal I agree that some educated people are also spoiling it. But I have seen illiterates who vote for just 1 bottle of hard drink. During elections even TVs are distributed at some villages to grab their vote , and they vote the contestent even without thinking of the future consequences.

  12. Ankur Kumar

    I feel what Ravi has pointed out is absolutely right. Our growing economy is giving a false image that India is improving altogether. The ground reality is that disparity between the rich and the poor is increasing day by day. In this situation, the efforts are required at the grass root level to remove poverty and illiteracy. This is not possible if we leave our country and start serving a foreign country. This will increase our miseries and in fact it has already done the damage. Our youths have to realize this very fact if at all they care about their motherland.

  13. anon

    the poor don’t matter. they don’t deserve to be considered or have time and effort wasted over.

  14. Ankur Kumar

    @ Anon

    Thanks for your comments.
    You think poor don’t matter, just because they are weak? Your point of view will imbalance the society with no empathy and care for the downtrodden.

  15. Milesh

    Really amazing to see the zeal and the vibrant reaction, and indeed the inspiring article.
    I would like to point out some facts though:
    1. our poor people are definitely lured by the politicians for votes for whatever God knows reasons they provide, but those who are educated , do they all cast their votes?
    Educated will reply that they don’t find deserving candidate, and whatever there is, they all turn out the same. But have they organized themselves or proposed for the improvement in the eligibility and privilege criteria for politicians? Answer will be no. Then why don’t they at least chose the better candidate among all those evils or organize and enter into politics.
    2. Blame game is daily routine. Why it shouldn’t be? After all we educated people know what has to be done, but have we ever fought for it? Answer is again NO. we simply BLAME. After all those who rule the country are also born among us.
    3. “Brain Drain, is the only solution.” Definitely it is, for those who don’t want to waste their talent and aspire to use it well, and i like to encourage such talents, after all they are individuals. But my dear friends, for all your qualified education and your bringing up in highly recognized Indian universities(exception to students studying in costly recognized private institutions without any public monetary help),all my country men, poor and rich have paid enormous taxes which you get as subsidies in your education and other facilities. So don’t you think you have responsibility and patriotism, so that one day education will be cheaper and standardized than grocery in our country and you don’t have run for foreign all the time? You can have your vacations over there though!
    4. Oh cmon, enough with the illiteracy and poor? why should we care, it has become a daily routine like terrorism, Maoism, ulfa and what else after all? Isn’t that what we want??
    5. Remove poverty and casteism and religionalism and regionalism(caste ,region and religion rules politics ), simply remove poor, lower caste peoples and people who don’t fit into your religion and region. Friends, country is suffering because once we were robbed by foreigners and still now by our own brothers.
    6. Faith, you have to develop faith in something. I don’t know how could people have faith in the honor killings to honor their false tradition based on the some book presumably approved by their God they have never seen and don’t have faith in human values. Friends, it is easy to remove your neighbor, but its not easy to remove their faith. And still now majority of our population has faith in religion, castes, region, languages, orthodox traditions etc. , not in Nationalism, Democracy and Change.

  16. anon

    that’s the point. nature works on the principle of survival of the fittest. the sooner we understand this, the better

  17. Wise guy

    @ravi

    if you have enough money, you buy a new house and forget that the old one ever existed.

  18. Ravi

    @ Wise Guy
    If you find a person better than ur parents , u dont leave them and make him ur parent………… dude understand the feeling ………….its not abt money and house………..thats wat I m trying to say ………….its not just abt u. Feel that u belong to India, and its yours.

  19. Wise guy

    that is the problem. our parents hold us back. it is not so easy to leave your parents, but country is easy to leave.

  20. Ravi

    @ wise guy ……. obviously parents are above than country …..but still some emotional attachment is always there ………
    Its kinda of a personal opinion and varies from person to person……..
    So it depends on the individual…..

  21. Wise guy

    that is the problem. emotions are our biggest enemy.

  22. Priyanka Bhatnagar

    This is so inspiring for all of us! great thoughts! i recommend everyone to read this! wishing you a successful life! All the best!

  23. Ankur Kumar

    @ Milesh

    Thanks a lot for Milesh for your detailed comments.

    1. ” But have they organized themselves or proposed for the improvement in the eligibility and privilege criteria for politicians? Answer will be no. Then why don’t they at least chose the better candidate among all those evils or organize and enter into politics.”

    Not every one is expected to give a thought about society or nation as a whole. There are people who, in spite of being educated, do not realize the value of their one vote. Now amongst the ones who do realize it, get biased on grounds of caste, religion and region. And your comment makes me include the 3rd big obstacle for reforms in Politics – Caste, Religion and Regionalism (along with Illiteracy and Corruption)

    2. “Blame game is daily routine. Why it shouldn’t be? After all we educated people know what has to be done, but have we ever fought for it? Answer is again NO. we simply BLAME. After all those who rule the country are also born among us.”

    Inappropriate blaming is a hindrance for ruling govt. The opposition has to consist of politicians who can first understand what is good and what is bad for the future of nation, instead of blindly criticizing every decision of govt. Take a look at Parliaments of West, we have healthy debates and discussions between diplomats instead of frequent adjournment of Parliament over any tragedy or scandal. Demanding just the resignation of a minister of a ruling party over an issue wont help, the new one appointed would be no better if the party altogether is full of such fraudulent politicians.

    4 – It doesn’t matter for few people who have become insensitive to such issues. Not for all. Such an opinion in the minds of public will further relax the govt. when they are already not doing their bit to tackle major problems.

    3,5,6 – I agree with your views.

  24. Ankur Kumar

    @ Anon

    ” that’s the point. nature works on the principle of survival of the fittest. the sooner we understand this, the better ”

    Nature does work on this principle, but I am talking about HUMANITY. If you have to keep it intact, you have to live in brotherhood with humans and have to think about everyone instead of being self-centered. If you think it is not important, you are on the side of few like-minded people as yours who make such shallow remarks when asked to do something for public welfare.

  25. Ankur Kumar

    @ Wise Guy

    ” that is the problem. our parents hold us back. it is not so easy to leave your parents, but country is easy to leave ”

    This very comment of yours shows how much you think or care about someone who has taken pains to raise you. It might be a life of a misery or ignorance a person has lived which makes him give such remarks about his parents. As far as our country is concerned, let me tell you, it is not as bad as you think it to be. If you say my opinion is highly subjective, then you should understand that it is bad for the people who don’t want to work for it and are ready to run away giving excuses.

  26. Ankur Kumar

    @Ravi

    ” If you find a person better than ur parents , u dont leave them and make him ur parent………… dude understand the feeling ………….its not abt money and house………..thats wat I m trying to say ………….its not just abt u. Feel that u belong to India, and its yours.”

    Ravi, you have a great point in your comment. This sense of being a part of this country or belonging to a country called India is missing in youth. When it comes to our entertainment, we proudly watch CRICKET and cheer for INDIA but when it comes to give a helping hand for her improvement, we bizarrely shun her and mock at her miseries.

  27. Ankur Kumar

    @ Priyanka

    Thanks for your comments and appreciation. Hope it has some impact on youth.

  28. Akhil

    Brilliant Article. However, it looks like an attempt to circumvent democracy in an attempt to promote election of better-educated and younger candidates.

    Role of Politicians is to give a sense of representation, and has more or less nothing to do with educational qualification and/or age. Implementation of representative policies arrived at by the politicians is done at the Civil Services Level mostly, and comparative advantage says that it is here that we need the best educated, young and most able Indians. Any Politicians, as long as they’re not corrupt would do just fine, and I’m sure that everyone would agree that neither a masters degree nor a young age can guarantee that.

    Having Said That, India currently has a larger number of young people than it ever had before. This is likely to seep in electorates too. Needless to say, this effect is what is causing all this noise about a young government, and is very likely to materialize soon enough for this very reason.

  29. Milesh

    @Ankur
    Thanks for your reviews Ankur.
    But what i have tried to illustrate in my comments is the ideology that our citizens have developed in their minds.
    At 1st comment, i appreciate you pointed out,definitely everybody cannot be expected to give a big thought about society and nation. But this is about the governing of the country, and everyone is a part of this process.So we dnt have to give it a big thought because it is already big. Also, the political scenario states that their votebank depends heavily on the illiterates and poor, it is, as our majority population belongs to this category. But the number of educated is increasing every decade and accordingly the educated if they all give up such lethargy thought about their country governing system, then they definitely have big share in determining the political condition. Basically i have tried to show the attitude of the educated class, we discuss a lot , know a lot but we dnt do any thing.
    At second comment, you got me wrong. I am not supporting unnecessary and ignorant opposition. I have simply asked the people to play an active role in the governing system. Those who rule the country are chosen and born among us and are the part of our society. And if a member of society is passive about his duty then it is our job to make him on right path. But again we only discuss and do not object! We can question a shopkeeper about the quality of the product if he cheats us fearlessly because we paid for it, our money, I wanted to see the same feeling of possession of this country by every citizen about their fraud governing system.
    At 4th, You again caught me wrong. I am here only stated the attitude of the people. I simply wanted to say that like terrorism, maoism etc. these issues of political fairness are also grave and cannot be taken as daily thing, they are unavoidable.

  30. Milesh

    @Akhil

    I really appreciate you!
    Politicians are meant to represent us!
    Policies can be initiated and suggested by anyone!
    Framing policies, their Sanction, and their Implementation, are three different things!
    And surely, the administrative job and policy implementation is done at civil service sections, by bright minds, (IAS ,IPS etc.)
    But APPROVAL and CONSIDERATION is done at the ASSEMBLIES(Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha)!
    But their sanction is done by our representatives and implementation is at long distance.
    Similarly, educated and informative are two different things. I wont discuss our education system being only informative, but informative is also a way to be educated. So in one way, to be decisive you must be informative, (that is educated). Lets agree “work will teach us how to do it!” and we don’t need qualification for representation. But we must have detailed information of our own system and other system,as world runs on information, only then we can preserve and enrich our system. And even if work will teach us how to do it, we have to go for being informative and competition exist even in politics, so in other words, we have ruined our 25 years where we can not only learn sufficiently about the systems, but also we will be ruining the next 35 years of the future of the state under our control. So we cant decide and even if we, we can’t be sure of +90 %, which has to be for good governing system. This thing is called ‘Decision’, in other words, Approval and Consideration.
    Regarding ‘AGE’ would we still like to be executed by our parents at the time when we have our own needs and are able to decide our own matters? Definitely No, however, suggestions and advices from them will be welcomed.

  31. Ankur Kumar

    @ All

    I will reply back to all recent comments soon. Going out of station 🙂
    Keep commenting !

  32. anon

    survival of the fittest. sometimes fitness is based on money, sometimes it is based on education, sometimes is based on having ‘godfathers’ in key places. the unfit do not have a place in this world. that is nature’s way.

  33. Milesh

    @Anon
    Don’t mind if I say that you are a follower of Darwin!
    I support your views, but there is a line that differentiate us from other living creatures on this earth.
    We are humans, and we accept the fact that all humans are not born genius and can bear everything put on them.
    We help ,support if one of us fails, we don’t criticize them and pray that they should not survive, or rather die. WE help them to support themselves to survive and that’s how humans have sustained themselves all these centuries.
    So, I suggest you to review Darwin’s Theory.

  34. anon

    that is how nature works. does anyone come to save the weak deers in the jungles? does anyone save them from lions?

  35. Prachi

    whn r u entering in politics…?????

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