By Neha Raman:
A very common notion heard anywhere and everywhere in India when one talks about getting involved in politics is that “politics is dirty”. We all must have come across teenagers or our fellow students who do not read or rather do not like reading political news and when asked, they would also use the same phrase. Ever wonder why this is so and where this notion arrived from?
On deeper study of the matter I came across a word called “political socialization”. As heavy as it may sound to be, the meaning of it is rather very simple. In a layman’s language it means nothing but the process of acquiring the knowledge of our polity. If we look deeper into this notion we will realize that it did not just come into our minds from nowhere. Now the reason we have a notion as robust as “politics is dirty” is just that our means and sources of political socialization or the knowledge of politics is our environment, which in particular is the mindset of our parents, the society, our peers, the social media and importantly our education system. Of course, no education system in India promotes this notion; it is generally from the other sources. But it is also true that no education system in our country promotes active participation of its citizens too.
Of course we all know what role education and literacy plays in every person’s life but we fail to understand its role in our nation. Being actively involved in politics doesn’t mean one has to forego his work for subsistence.
It is hence very essential to have an education system wherein from childhood itself we impart valuable knowledge about politics along with the feeling of national pride and patriotism. The reason some states have very low voter turnout is because the citizens do not know the value of their participation and the reason why the knowledge of our polity from primary schools is essential is that till the age of 8-9 years whatever the child learns is retained in his mind forever, like 2 ones are 2!
Now it may seem that this is getting very idealistic. But it isn’t really so. It is undeniable that there have been many educational reforms in our country to impart better quality education in a practically applicable manner but the knowledge of the working of Indian polity, Indian legislature, the judiciary, and our political framework etc. are only restricted to textbook knowledge starting from grade 8 onwards and meant only to enable the children to pass their political science or social science examination. Isn’t it so?
A better way to enlighten children about politics is organizing model parliaments for them, or even moot courts etc., just like the concept of Model United Nations that happen all across India nowadays with a mind-boggling participation of youngsters in it. MUNs have enabled better understanding of the working of the UN, something that could not be taught to us by our social science textbooks. And not only in private schools, but government and government aided schools must also take up such activities for the children. However, it is also agreeable that such a reform may be very challenging for the government. But the result will surely benefit the nation.
India presently has 49% women votes in total and I wish if only it could be 51% women votes instead! And it is possible with a little change of mindset. And a first step towards that change could be “It’s Not the Politics That Is Dirty; It Is the Corruption which is”.