This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Janhavi Ukhalkar Telpande. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why The Indian Youth Is Not Entering Politics

More from Janhavi Ukhalkar Telpande

With the Karnataka elections in full swing, many young people were seen contributing to election campaigns in a significant way. So be it tweeting, sharing, appealing others to vote, discussing, etc – young people were actively involved in the whole process. Until the results come out, one cannot be sure about the real-time impact the participation of youth has created. But one thing we can be sure of is that lack of participation from the youth can definitely have an extremely negative effect on the overall results.

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 criticise 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?

Below are some of the factors that might be the reasons.

It is all so unpredictable and uncertain

Politics is unpredictable. Period.  Agreed, some of the parties in the Indian politics today provide huge economic benefits to the “karyakartas” sometimes even better than a highly paying job. But till what time? There is no job guarantee and there is no written contract protected by the law. Besides, most of the money provided is black and is liable to scrutiny. Once you go into it, you also have to play according to the rules of politics and the rules keep on changing based on the situation. What if the young people are not able to adapt? Families which are used to living a routine life with a monthly pay cheque would not advise their children to enter such a volatile field.

A fierce competition which stops at nothing 

If you think, nepotism exists only in Bollywood, think again. Indian politics is one of the world’s biggest fields for nepotism where most of the picture is run by the aristocratic, old Indian political families. A leader’s child is expected to follow their parent’s footsteps. Surprisingly, they might get more popular than a genuine youngster who has just entered the field and is working hard. It’s extremely difficult for the outsiders to prove one’s talent, work and achievements and reach out to the public at the grass root. Also, powerful netas have various means to ensure that a good newcomer is shown ‘their place’ if they come in the way of their successor’s path. And to add to it, there is hardly any guidance for the newcomer. So it’s a slippery situation altogether.

It’s all about money, honey!

No two thoughts about that. One has to have a lot of money to promote, advertise and publicise one’s own work.  More than the actual work one does, it’s more important today to promote the work. Millions are spent today on advertising and marketing. Even for doing some really good work, one requires money and it’s hard to come from middle-class families with limited savings and make a commitment. In such cases, one has to raise the money through illegal means which is a big reason not to enter politics.

In-house complexities and hidden agendas

Every member of the party has their own ambition to succeed and there are limited means of achieving that success. Parties have a very complex internal structure driven by egos and ambition. With the fierce competition inside and the ever-changing volatile situation outside, every member holds on to their own hidden agenda within the party. Any new entrant posing a threat to their agenda can be easily exterminated and stopped. It also creates major trust issues and long-term loyalties are hard to find. So young people find it difficult to sustain their goal and focus and everything thus becomes only a power game and not just the plain career choice it was supposed to be. Young people might not find it “worth it” in the long term.

The increasing graph of crime rates and criminal charges

Just do a check of the some of the big political parties in India and the number of politicos with criminal charges. It’s astounding and shocking. Every day there is some new story about the political parties and all the illegal practices happening within a party – be it corruption, murder, money laundering, land grabbing. This news can scare the shit out of even some of the bravest people around. It’s no surprise that youth want to keep away from the murky quicksand which can engulf anyone. No one is sure what happens. Even if they are clean what if they are wrongly implicated or cheated? Better keep away! Even parents are scared and would not want their children to enter a profession so full of lies, uncertainty and danger.

The life is very hard dude

If one compares a life with a desk job – sitting in an AC office for eight hours a day and getting a pay cheque at the end of the month – to the life in politics –  constant travelling, keeping in touch with public, creating network, making physical efforts at the ground level, visiting internal rural areas – it’s easy to understand who wins! Very few are ready to pay the price for the “so-called” social service or doing good for the country. Also, one cannot be fully sure that his hard work will really work.

Is it really worth it?

In any other field of work, one is liable to get the results of the hard work and efforts they have put in. Even in Bollywood or cricket which are very uncertain and creative fields, one’s talent is sure to get noticed one day or the other. But is it true for politics? And what exactly can be the basic reason to join the politics – apart from the fame and money? Is it social work? Is it service to the people of your country? Or is it just plain passion? Even if the intentions are in the right place; is it worth the efforts – looking at the number of compromises on has to make which can impact a huge number of people?

It’s extremely tough to be connected to your roots and keep serving the people irrespective of the constant negativity one has to encounter every day in politics. And there would be very few youth who are ready to take on such a war.

So the end result – youngsters keep away and the country is left to some indifferent goons who just want to fill up their accounts.   

You must be to comment.

More from Janhavi Ukhalkar Telpande

Similar Posts

By Simran Mendon

By Zakir Ali Tyagi

By shakeel ahmad

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below