As the world’s largest democracy is heading up to host its grandest show with the largest mass participation in the 2019 General Elections, it’s quite imperative to understand the different aspects that would shape the political narrative of the country. The tags associated with modern India range from one of the fastest growing economies to the most unsafe country for women. While keeping in mind the recent turn of events, it wouldn’t be a sin to believe that it should be the youth of the country who should shape its future, decide its agendas.
When the idea of freedom of speech and right to protest is being debated from the corners of JNU to the Supreme Court of India, there are some facts which the lawmakers of this country conveniently disregard. The history of the country has always been shaped by the youth, through protest and agitation, if one attempts to travel back four decades to 1975, the darkest era of Indian democracy there is a context that none any longer talks about. Arun Jaitley, the Finance minister of India, was the National convener of “Sangarsh Samathi” for organising student protests and was that leader who travelled the length and breadth of India to organise one of the most violent student agitations against Indira Gandhi through 1973-1974, which set the context for the Emergency period.
Today, Arun Jaitley refers to student protests as “an alliance with subversion”, perhaps conveniently forgetting the era that redefined Indian politics. Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of CPM was that student leader from JNU who showed the audacity to read out a drafted memorandum condemning the emergency imposition in the presence of Indira herself. Jayaprakash Narayan was the face that led the protests to bring down the government, but the firepower to drive the movement came from students he had by his side, “Yuvashakthi” was what JP named it. ABVP was at the core of JP’s movement, and it’s a bitter truth that Jansangh (now BJP) evolved to its current form by feeding of the wave that this movement created.
In today’s context perhaps it’s again time for the youth of the country to lead the way and educate these very leaders on how the country shall be administered. The country needs a platform where the youth can unite and put forward their mandate in order to reach out to the ones in power, to make themselves heard. There is an impending need for a platform where the youth can debate, discuss and deliberate to redesign the destiny of this nation, and in the modern world, they also need a platform which would attain the purpose without pelting stones, bringing cities to a standstill and rioting in the streets. Let the country witness participative effort from the youth to be active stakeholders in the nation-building process let the agenda for the country be decided by its youth and let the leaders follow.