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Youth and Politics

Mohd Nayyer Rahman for Hyderabad Youth Mirror #

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Youth has been defined both metaphorically and technically. Technically youth refers to the young ones within the age group of 15-24 years (also known as youth labor force) according to International Labour Organisation (ILO). The article focuses on the same group and issues hovering around its involvement in the politics.

Politics has been presented as a never ending filthy game that can never be ethical. The notion has been carried on the shoulders of the old and experienced but time and again youth has rejected it. Youth has rejected it by their active and passive involvement in politics showing their presence at national level in India (Few examples: NSUI, AMUSU, ABVP, SFI etc.).

It would be justified to imitate the statement of Adam Smith with respect to economics (Every activity has an economic aspect) into politics (Politics has an impact on every activity). The popular adage goes as follows: “If you are not interested in politics, politics is interested in you”.

Thus, in a nutshell the point to be appreciated is that politics is affecting us all including the young population. When Youth and Politics is blended for the society, politics in grinded with ethical values and idealism. It is clear that youth are more close to ethical principles than the old because they have afresh ideologies and are opened less to the corrupt world. One such example is the AMU Students Union (AMUSU) in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). AMU has been the forerunner of Muslim representation for the country and a hub for the political ideology of Muslims particularly the young ones. Presently, AMUSU has been selected through the democratic election wherein youth participated with full vigor and zeal.

The nuances of politics along with ethical principles have been guiding the students of AMU for their active involvement in politics. Student’s involvement in politics has been seen in AMU as a work to unite and safeguard the interests of the students and at a broader level to raise issues concerning the Muslim community throughout the world. Yet another angle is to see this as an active involvement of youth in politics at national level. AMUSU elections are an example of how politics can be epitomized with respect to value based politics while focusing on issues relevant to society. Petty issues that represent sheer waste of time are ignored by the students for the sake of achieving higher objectives.

On youth and development subject, freelance journalist from AMU, Mustafa Tayyab opines, “It is important to understand the gap between youth and politics and we have to sort it out. We need to focus on the perception of youth towards politics particularly with respect to corruption and criminality. Youth must be inculcated with the ideology of country’s development first. They must understand that if country develops, youth will get opportunities. Politics in India has become an abusive game due to the communal and fascist forces. Overall in India we need a blend of youth energy and experience of elders.”

AMU Youth Leader Sadaqat Ali further clarifies: “Youth outnumbers the elders in this country and are filled with energy needed for developing India into a modern country. AMU is witnessing a large number of students actively involving in the politics as is clear from the AMUSU elections. This needs to be appreciated by the community. Youth has to jump in to clear the dirty premise of old and hackneyed politics based on discrimination and injustice.”

AMUSU President Abdullah Azzam, who inspires hope among youth, expresses: “In the rapidly changing political discourses, students’ political activism nurtures a hope for a better understanding of pro-people politics, and I strongly advocate the political rights of students in the university campuses without any undue interference and curbs from the authorities, so that the new blood is continuously infused into the leadership of the nation, especially in the times when the nation needs it the most.”

However, it is not all positive as we hear that students at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) are struggling to get their democratic right of contesting students elections. If subjugation of youth by curbing their democratic rights continues, it would not be late that youth of our country will lose interest in politics and will stay away from it. Add to this particular issue the Demographic Dividend India will be having in future.

In the coming years between 2020 to 2050 India would be the only country with highest number of young population. But the question remains: Will the policies of the state motivate the youth to enter into politics? Will this add to the list of reasons signaled by youth for staying away from politics based on ethical principles?

It is crystal clear that the future rests on youth and therefore their involvement in politics is imperative. Channelizing the impulsivity in the youth towards politics with the teaching of moral principles is important. Youth will be the future participant in the democracy and few have already started contributing in the democracy with the dual objective of values and development.

The great potential and energy of youth can be channelized to make India a superpower. The grey side of the issue remains that youth are not given proper chance to contribute to the politics. Thus, there is a need for seeing politics through the lens of youth that has potential for ethical changes in the political system.

[The author is a junior research fellow in the Department of Commerce, AMU.]

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