India has the largest youth population globally and it is said that by 2022 (w
hich is next year) the average median working age would be 28 which is significantly lower than the rest of the world. What does this mean for our country? A young workforce means having more innovative minds that bring fresh perspectives to the table, therefore, leading to significant development of not only the economy of the country but the cultural and political paradigm as well. On the contrary, India’s political domain is filled with people over the age of 60 and it’s odd that in a young democracy, only 6% of our political leaders fall below the age of 35 and are considered to be ‘youth leaders’.
There are multiple reasons to explain the lack of participation of Indian youth in the field of politics, some contributing to the current political scenario of the country which is plagued with corruption, malpractices, and the absence of transparency to the public. The lack of interest in political and public affairs is evident among many young people who either are disinterested or do not believe in change and leave the future of the country in the hands of fate. The passivity of the youth combined with the failure of the Indian political system to engage millions of potential young voters could be the main attributing factor for our stagnant political system.
There is a dire need for more young, passionate individuals to participate in politics and question the prevailing ageism since responsibility and duty towards the nation have no minimum age limits. Our responsibility does not only stop at voting during elections but also ought to go beyond it by questioning the system, creating awareness, and indulge in civic engagement towards the betterment of society. The first step towards creating more politically sound individuals is educating them while they’re young, that is - political awareness needs to be taught in both schools and college. This does not mean merely passing a civics board exam but participating in debates and discourse that enriches one’s mind and keeps one up to date with current affairs. College students should take up internship opportunities to work with the parliament and more government work ought to be encouraged. Research states that youth who are politically engaged while they’re young tend to be more socially conscious, responsible citizens, and engaged voters.
In the words of Kofi Annan, who was the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, “Any society that does not succeed in tapping into the energy and creativity of its youth will be left behind”. India needs more young minds and hands onboard now more than ever. The change in our political system can only be brought to life only if initiatives are driven by the youth itself - to make more inclusive, diverse, young enthusiastic, and morally sound political leaders. This does not mean that the efforts of the more elderly and experience are not required or dispensable but rather it’s time for our young force to drive the nation forwards. It is the responsibility of the youth to engage and be active in politics, challenge the set political norms, and be the hope and change we wish to see in our country.