People between the age of 15 and 35 constitute youth. Those in their teens among the youth are said to be of tender age. They are not considered experienced and knowledgeable enough to understand the complex world of politics. That is why some people believe that the youth should not take part in politics. But when the government reduced the age of eligibility for casting vote from 21 to 18, the message was quite clear: that the youth should actively take part in the process of elections whereby the candidates are elected to form governments at the state as well as centre.
India is the biggest democracy in the world. The real power lies in the hands of the people who elect the people who rule the country. The basic principle of democracy is that it should have a wide participation by the people. The more is the percentage of voters out of the total population of the country, the stronger is the base of the democracy because the mandate given in the elections would have a popular sport. By making the age of casting of vote as 18, the government brought crores of people within the ambit of active participation in elections thus giving a broad base to the democratic processes.
It also gave the message that our youth is mature and wise enough to understand their responsibility and they would give their mandate after carefully considering candidates’ capabilities. Being young, they are not swayed by the old systems of caste, creed and other orthodoxy which had been the bane of Indian politics for quite some time in the post-independence era. The government also seemed to have realised that it was important for India’s future to induct the youth in the democratic process at an early age. After all it is the youth who ultimately will become the stalwarts in politics and one day will hold the reins in their hands. There has been much debate and discussion in various circles across the country on whether the youth should take part in politics.
Many people believed that the youngsters being of a tender age do not fully comprehend the intrigues connected with politics for which it is often called a dirty game. If the youth get entangled in political activities, they will lose direction and purpose. Another fear was that the politics is dominated by middle-aged and old people. If the youth also enter the arena, there will be an atmosphere of rivalry. Belonging to different generations, there is a possibility of generation gap, misunderstanding and even rejection of one age group of the other those who of the opinion that those among the youngsters who are students and at the threshold of some career will suffer immensely if they go astray. If they start missing their classes and take part in meetings and rallies, they will be left behind in their career. Being immature and inexperienced about the demands of life they may put to a great loss in their life at a later stage after having lost valuable time as students.
It is necessary to have a look at the situation prevailing in colleges and universities where elections are held every year for the posts of President, Secretary, Treasurer and other office bearers. The atmosphere is full of political rivalries and intrigues near the elections. There is canvassing campaign among the students presenting the qualities and plans of the respective candidates. The university elections have assumed huge importance as national parties like Congress, BJP and others have started taking active part in these elections and fielding their candidates, rather giving their party label to the candidates.
The people who not like these elections to be given such a huge dimension have based their views on the fact that several times these elections have turned ugly with incidents of violence. The colleges and the universities become battlefields with rival groups of students attacking each other. Heavy police deployment at times is unable to stop them because the police hesitate to use force against the tender-aged students. But the problem is that many bad elements are always ready to take advantage of such volatile situations. They abet innocent youth to use violent methods to achieve their ends. The students often are not aware that they are being taken advantage of. Some idlers also join the election campaign to get some name and fame and also some money.
It becomes difficult for the authorities to distinguish between the genuine campaigners and goonda elements. If some action is taken against anyone, the students go on strike whereby the cause of education and their own career is greatly harmed. That is why people say that the students should stay away from politics. Their duty is to acquire knowledge, get education and seek some good career to become self-dependent and a support for their parents.
Apart from the college and university campuses, other places in towns and cities, especially the public places become centres of discussion on politics. Many idlers gather there and make various kinds of strategies and plans. India is a place where some kind of election or the other is always nearby-from Parliament elections to Panchayat elections. Therefore these idlers are never short of material for discussion. Some of them have access to local heads, MLAs, village chief, block presidents and members of Zila Parishad. These politicians use these idle youths to grind their political axe.
They are often paid to become their informers and act according to their advice. As such the atmosphere in villages, towns and small cities is always soaked in what is known as local politics. Few people think about doing some productive work for the benefit of society and country. Politics teaches the youth to steal the limelight by hook or crook and encash it in some forthcoming election.
The youth also include people who are not students, but are engaged in some job or enterprise. For them to take part in politics is more of a matter of interest rather than getting some position in a political party. Only a small number among them ever give a serious thought of becoming a party worker, attending meetings and taking part in campaigns. However, in our country there is a cult of succession in politics. In Nehru family, the youth have been inducted in active politics-from Indira Gandhi to Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. Some people oppose this cult while others hail it.
There can be a long discussion on whether the politicians should be allowed to sustain this cult. But we can say with a considerable degree of consensus that the young, adults or old and established politicians should not be stopped from taking part in active politics until they do not take undue advantage of their parentage and position. Being the citizens of a democratic nation they have every right to become active politicians.
They better understand the political atmosphere in the country and are well aware of the demands of politics. The youth inducted into politics have matured into great leaders. Young people are not only enthusiastic and energetic but are also full of new ideas. They are able to instil freshness in the political affairs of their respective region as well as the nation.
We can conclude by saying that today’s youth are highly intelligent and educated. They have a high awareness level. If they take part in politics, they will enrich it with their new ideas.