This essay comes from the entire journey of my life and a pertaining question. A question which failed me as well as the youth of this country and my life landed me here—‘somewhere’ to understand ‘politics’ and its (dis)association with the youth. Whenever I have partially understood one of the oldest professions, I fail to understand why young individuals repel it. This essay is a series of answers with my limited understanding of everything I have mentioned. My fascination with politics has been from thinking of becoming a politician to being ridiculed for being so ‘political’. Let’s attempt to answer the unanswered based on anecdotes from my life without claiming anything.
As I think, during my school days, I have been ridiculed about the idea of getting into politics and becoming a politician. But, is merely becoming a politician the only way to politics? I didn’t find it funny, but the idea couldn’t go any further. But why do we think that politics or even the politicians are so inaccessible? The remainder of the essay will suggest some possible reasons.
Primarily, the issue is in the accessibility of opportunities for entering politics. The issue in itself rings a bell, and our head answers a big and loud, NO. But I take the liberty to state otherwise. It is not. Instead, the problem is the accessibility to the ‘idea’ of politics. Ironically, we live in a country where individuals will not stop praising Anil Kapoor’s Nayak: The Real Hero and Aamir Khan’s Rang De Basanti, but the same individuals would delightfully say, “I am apolitical”. A conversation around politics, something which impacts them directly, bores them., it makes them yawn. But why?
Firstly, society should take its necessary credit for shaping our understanding of ‘politics’. Society conditions us to think, apparently, negative about this profession. Most of the time, we’re made to think of politicians and politics as corrupt and full of greed. These pessimist and immoral terms are profoundly attached to anyone relatively part of this field. Now, will you blame the individual for not developing an interest in this field?
A counter-argument can suggest that similar can be said about the government jobs as well, that they are corrupt and make you lazy, and yet, numerous people enroll for the same. My counter-reasoning for government-job ambition is simply how society introduces you to the concept. Government jobs are corrupt but stable whereas politics is shady, and remains such regardless. I see politics as social work. This must be hard to digest, but that’s how it is. There is enough power, enough responsibility but minimal accountability, and lack of accountability comes from our lack of understanding of politics and its structure.
Secondly, to some extent, even the schools are responsible for creating this point of view towards politics. A school is a place that fits you into a pseudo-democratic system. Try recalling the house system, the elections and the dull campaigns, above that vaguely defined power and responsibilities of the ‘elected representatives’. Yes, that’s not politics at all. No one in the school talks about issues other than the curriculum. That’s the pseudo-democratic system you were asked to study—the system which you inherently disliked because of its fake nature.
In addition to that, the definition in which society weaves of politics makes us ‘not’ like it, instantly. Hence, the system presented to you in school never attracts you. The cherry on the cake is the teachers who are responsible for educating about necessary things, but they never talk about politics. They do talk about the structure, the rules, and regulations but never about the ‘idea’ of politics.
Thirdly, it is us who should be blamed, simply because we succumbed to the pressure of the society. We kept on eating the western dishes of ‘individuality’ and ‘liberty’ mixed with Indian flavor of ‘stability in life’. The ‘Stability in life’ can vary with each culture and background. We, at the end of the day, are Indians, and India is a country of people who wait for ‘heroes’ of change. This fails us as a society. We are a country with such mass potential but fail to generate a locus. Anyway, this is a thought to introspect about and stop waiting; this wait is which really corrupts us, not politics.
To sum up, even if we try hard to ignore and exclude ourselves, as individuals, from politics, it will be a lie. It will be oblivion. We have failed to understand, time and again, that politics impacts us significantly. Even if we disassociate ourselves with politics, politics doesn’t disassociate us from it. These politicians and politics will use the apolitical against all the individuals, lesser in number, to influence the results of the poll. A slogan used during the 1960s second wave of feminism, “The Personal is Political”, quite beautifully summarises the involvement of politics even in an apolitical environment. Hence, ridiculing the ‘idea’ of politics and finding it shady is the real abstract inaccessibility to the profession.