“Beta, you don’t know how the world works yet, leave the politics to us adults”, smirked by father in a condescending tone as he interrupted a young me trying to pitch in my newly formed political opinion in this ‘elite’ group of adults comprising my parents and relatives discussing, why wasn’t India progressing even after seven decades of independence, on election day.
“Go focus on your studies instead, otherwise society won’t respect you”, said my father as he went back to changing our country’s political landscape, sitting in the comforts of our living room. A young me felt dejected back then and the thought of being a politician and doing something for the country felt almost impossible due to the lack of support from my family.
Which led me to think now, years later after this incident, how many such youth aspiring to work for the welfare of our country weren’t encouraged to do so in their early years?
Why is it that we as a society think that politics shouldn’t be pursued as a viable career option? Why do we think that all politicians are the same, corrupt, impulsive and deceitful human beings?
Why is it that when an educated youth trying to actually do something for the society he lives by contesting elections brought down by his own people ?
Why is it that only 11 percent of the members elected by the Lok Sabha in the 2019 general elections are below the age of 35 even though 65 percent of India’s population is below 35 years of age?
The answers lie in the minds of our own people. The general perception that people have is that the youth are often perceived as inexperienced and gullible, however capable or deserving the person is, if compared to another candidate who is almost twice his age .
In this age where the youth around the world have set examples after examples of how many heights this generation of young minds in the world has been able to achieve, we as a nation have failed to contribute in this aspect significantly, barring a few exceptions.
Youth politics in our nation is still in its nascent stages. While young leaders like Malala Yousafzai are making their mark in the world, we too need to encourage our youth get involved in changing how this country works. The youth of our country has great potential and just needs to be given the push it needs to flourish in the political arena as well.
Many student wings of various political parties do exist in the universities of our country, but most of them succumb to the ideologies their parent political party has, leaving them hardly any freedom to think on their own.
We as a society need to let go of the notions that we have regarding our belief in the youth to represent us in the parliament and think about a brighter future for the country, only then A. P. J. Abdul Kalam’s dream of India being a superpower will be realised in its true sense.