India’s greatest asset is its human resource, apart from providing the nation with a large, young and dynamic workforce it also acts as an important catalyst for change. From independence to the emergency to the recent Jan Lokpal protests, youth have been at the forefront of such movements. Bringing change to society has never been an easy task, fighting against social norms, influential forces or injustice requires a lot of effort and time. Public protests and agitations have seen violent and misdirected results in the past and they have serious repercussions for all those associated. So one may ask how does the youth bring change? Well, a simple answer to this question is exercising adult franchise.Our constitution has granted us the right to vote for our legislators and it is essential for the youth to exercise this right. Doing so is in the interest of the entire nation, the right set of legislators select the correct prime minister for the nation. To those who have reduced our election process to a two horse race don’t understand the constitution or parliamentary form of democracy. People who oppose the system of Parliamentary democracy must understand that presidential democracies are most susceptible to falling into a dictatorship. In these times that we live in, people who consider themselves as passive observers or “apolitical” are the biggest hypocrites of society, they do a greater disservice to the nation as compared to those who hold unfavorable views towards the constitution or the Supreme court. It is these apolitical people who are actually responsible for casting or rather selling their vote to the first Tom, Dick or Harry that comes along. Apolitical people are essentially running away from their biggest duty towards the nation, shouting patriotic slogans, standing for the national anthem or buying “Swadesi” products of particular brands are not displays of patriotism but exercising the right to vote is.
Hyper-Nationalism under the guise of patriotism is thrust down our throats like a civil duty in this nation.Instead we should be promoting voting as the apogee of civil duty.10 minutes of research for the candidates up for polls in your constituency is all that is required. Read up on their agendas, views, ideologies, income and criminal records and don’t vote solely on partisan lines or the projected lead candidate. As I have reiterated this earlier our duty as a citizen is to elect our legislators NOT THE EXECUTIVE, it has been proven time and time again that a good set of legislators lead to a good head of state. If you believe that elections are all about the big national and international issues that don’t affect common people directly, allow me to expose the naivety of your understanding of the election process. National issues do matter and it is this very reason why national leaders are cautious on acting irrationally on them, even the most polarizing of leaders are kept in check by the opposition, the judiciary and the media and a failure of these institutions leads to absurd decisions made by the leaders in power. Demonetization was an example of how an unchecked government that had control over the media and judiciary with a weak opposition was able to get away with a decision that has lead to one of the poorest periods of economic growth since liberalization.
Ultimately it boils down to the type of country we want in future. A country where communalism and minority oppression is widespread or where everyone’s differences are celebrated, a nation where people’s liberties are clamped upon or where everyone has equal civil rights, a nation where the institutions of the country are severely compromised or where truth prevails and the constitution is upheld. There are 4 months to the next national election and I don’t want to be the one who tells you whom to vote for but as the youth of this country it is essential to think critically before voting because who you elect is going to run the nation. I request all youngsters who have turned eighteen to visit the NSVP website and fill form 6 to include their name in the election roll and vote, to make a difference.
By Ayush Yadav