“Youth should be given a chance to take an active part in the decision-making process, at local, national and global levels”. Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General’s words do make a sense for the youths around the world but how much does it takes a stand when it comes to our very own nation.
Youth are the backbone of our society and it is their responsibility to give an equal status to the society back for what it is giving to them. Hence, they lag behind by not participating in the main stream of policy making (or in a way decision making process) i.e. vote.
But as the world has gained its platform of technological advancements, social media is playing a major role in bringing out the interest in politics and the currents affairs among the youth. Gone are those days, where the youth in India used to rely on newspaper or radio to be informed about the happenings in the surroundings. As the world has succeeded itself into the era of technologies, the aspect of political communication has grown wider and deeper between the political parties and the citizens where mass media plays a key role in disseminating information.
Knowing the facts, that youth comprises half of the population in our country, also the political parties in India have their own youth and student wings such as Indian Youth Congress, Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarhti Parishad and Democratic Youth Federation of India still the energy and zeal of youth has not been channelized in the decision making process and their creativity is wasted in the anti social activities.
But the main question is what does the youth want? Are they satisfied with the functioning of the government? Incidents like the Lokyukta Bill, the Nirbhaya rape case where youth were actively involved and displayed their strong desire of change in the corrupt system, is an example of how the government has failed to address the problems of society which has added to the frustration of the youth regarding the malfunctioning of the government. The efforts of youth in political participation towards a transparent government and good governance have gone vain when the government itself is not fulfilling the demands and rights of the citizens.
Now the question of the hour is, can youth bring any change in this system? In my opinion, yes, we do have power to bring a change as history itself is the witness that all great revolution was initiated by zeal of youth. By participation of youth in election not only will it reduce the chances of a wrong person getting elected but it will also ensure that youth opinion is represented at the centre. In the rat race where everyone is in race to earn their living, there is hardly any time for youth to get involved in politics. Definitely social media has given avenues for expression of thoughts and thus, youth should utilise the opportunity to voice their views which will make the government accountable and responsible. Without youth’s participation in politics, democracy in hands of our leaders is turning into a kleptocracy. So are we here to succumb to the tantrums of politicians or are we going to rise up and remind them that we have elected them and hence we are in power, not them? Participation of youth in Delhi rape case protest, Anna Hazare’s anti corruption campaign, human rights crisis against Tamilians in Srilanka, protest in Andhra and a lot many other protests have already given nightmares to the kleptocrats. So, the need of the hour is that the youth should not get misguided by the lofty speeches and facade of pro poor and pro youth parties. They should take keen interest in election process and allow only the right candidate to be in power.
What do I demand? What does the youth demand? Simple. Just a transparent electoral process, an accountable government providing good governance which will bring effectiveness and efficiency in the political process. And this can be done only when empowered youth will stand up and vote, vote for the right cause, vote to bring justice in the society, and most of all vote to bring about change ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’. As Rabindra Nath Tagore dreams of a place “where the mind is without fear”, let’s all of us come together and bring a revival of democracy and a better place to live in.
About the Author
Vinita is pursuing Mphil in Public Administration from University of Madras. She is an ardent reader and wants to make a change in the policy making process, especially in the education system where she believes in education equity. This interest drove her to volunteer for Slum Development Project as a part of National Service Scheme in St.Xavier’s College, Kolkata where she used to teach children. Being passionate about it, she volunteered in Teach for India classrooms in Chennai, which gave her a wide experience about the conditions of low income society and how they dwell with the city life. As Public Policy is her mainstream, she hopes to eradicate the inequality persisting in education system one day and make the world a better place for children to live in. Currently, she is working as a Research Associate for Alexis Centre for Public Policy and International Relations.