Be the change you wish to see in the world,” said Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. Sixty-six years later, almost every Indian wants change in the ‘system but few want to participate in bringing it about.
In the light of the recent gang rape of a 23-year-old in Delhi, among the immediate changes we need are the formation of fast-track courts and better conviction rates. But we also need an efficient and corruption-free government body that has the interests of its citizens at heart, and accelerated passing of bills that are stuck in Parliament for years.
Given that the average age of a parliamentarian in India is 53 years in the Lok Sabha and 62 years in the Rajya Sabha, the role of the youth seems meagre in the decision-making mechanism. And the ‘younger’ politicians in our country belong mainly to influential political families. How can the system be reformed when the youth of our country do not have a hand in the mechanism that directly affects them?
Most youngsters term politics a ‘dirty game’ and don’t want to pursue a career in it for fear that their families will be put in danger, or that they’d get consumed by corruption. Others just aren’t interested in a revolution. The few who are concerned about the future of our country want change without directly participating. How can only a few non-governmental organisations scattered around the country bring about change for the rest?
With mass uprisings in the capital and the demand for change, the youth have to realise that an overhaul of the system can be brought about only if they participate. Agreed, it is by no means an easy task, but the movement has to start somewhere.
The first step is to change the mindsets of people about politics as a process. We need to believe that politics is not corrupt, politicians are. No form of the system can be perfect, each comes with its own flaws. As Winston Churchill said: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those forms which have been tried from time to time.” It is then up to each individual to keep corruption at bay so as to make the system work.
Youngsters have to step up today to join the movement for the change they want in their country. If the youth don’t pitch in, this change won’t come about only from the few who ardently strive towards it.
The most important factor driving any revolution that brought about a significant change in the lives of people was belief. Take for instance, our forefathers who achieved Independence only through continuous efforts to break free from their rulers. Each one of them had a belief which they converted into reality. Today, the difference is that we are at war with our own people. The shift we aspire for can be attained only if and when the younger generation focuses on change from within – by getting directly involved.
Failing this, India would be run by people who, in any other profession, would normally already be retired, people who are making decisions to promote only their own interests. The voice of the larger majority will go unheard, and with no action, this will only bring about more resentment among the masses. It is time a new generation stepped into the core law-framing body of our country, with a crisp and unprejudiced perspective for real development. In this new mould of the future, I will run for elections. I will stand for change.
Vishakha Wadhwani is a member of DNA’s Shadow Editorial Board. She is pursuing a BA from Jai Hind College