India is a young country with about 65% of its population under the age of 35, thus making youth the power of our nation. Hence, we call India “Youngistaan.” But what is youth? Youth comprises people who have a clear vision, creative ideas, awareness about the current situations, and an ability to change the world.
India is a representative democracy, which means that the elected MP’s are the reflection of us. Unfortunately, though, this reflection comes with a contradiction with 75% of our MPs over the age of 50. It is as if older people represent the youth of India. This does not mean that one should never elect for older people. While the young are important because of their enthusiasm, these members are essential because of their experience. When we look at today’s politicians, while we do find the likes of Rahul Gandhi, Aditya Thackeray, Rohit Pawar, Pritam Munde, or Rajesh Pilot, the fact remains that they all come from political dynasties.
The question that, then, remains is that why does today’s youth not make it to frontline politics. To understand this problem, let us view some points:
Poverty – A large segment of our society is below poverty, and the current political situation is nothing more than a game of capital.
Crime – It is one of the main reasons for the youth not to want to take part in politics. About 30% of MPs and 31% of MLAs have one or another criminal record. Many of them are charged with serious crimes, and, over time, it changes the people’s view of politics as the occupation of criminals.
General views – Generally, today’s youth is also aware of extensive government efforts to suppress any form of mass agitation, which further discourages them from taking the step.
While talking about youth and politics, we must look at the history of “youth energy.” During the time of the Emergency (1975-1977), the Indian political scene saw the rise of many current political stalwarts like Arun Jaitley, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Prakash Jawadekar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, and many more. JP Narayan had named them as “Yuva Shakti” or the “Youth Power”.
These young leaders carried out many rallies and agitations under the leadership of JP Narayan. And on many occasions, these student agitations were not peaceful. The included setting canteens on fire and destroying public property through stone pelting, but they were never characterised as anti-nationals. Student agitations on a hike in the canteen fees ended with the fall of the Congress government in Gujarat and Bihar.
If we look at some of the agitations in the last decade: Anna’s anti-corruption protests, the Maratha Morchas, multiple protests in universities, and more, the youth are participating in large numbers. But, this is not reflected in their presence on the frontline of political action. To change this situation, we have to elect good literate non-criminal representatives who can enable the government to handle criticism diplomatically.