The demographic dividend of this country is definitely an essential part of the politics. Youths have been always participating and coming out in unison on the streets whether the issue has been that of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade in 2011. Or protesting against the violence on women after the 2012 Delhi gangrape, they have reflected their growing angst over social problems and in an increasing manner.
At the time of independence, Gandhi called upon the youth to participate actively in the freedom movement. Young leaders like Nehru came to his reckoning and led the movement. But this is not the case now. Nowadays we have only a handful of young leaders like Sachin Pilot, Varun Gandhi etc, but they are on the political scene because they belong to influential political families. It is next to impossible to find a young leader with no political family background in the furor of politics.
The youth’s political participation in terms of attending rallies and campaigns is on the rise, according to surveys and data collated by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). So, let’s look at something.
Nearly 71% of urban youngsters showed interest in politics in 2011 as compared to 45% in 2009, according to CSDS. Young men displayed nearly twice as much interest as young women. Education appeared to evoke greater interest, with collegians keener on following political issues than uneducated youngsters.
Many initiatives are taken in schools to develop interest among students to enter Indian politics & to change the pre-set conceptions about politics not being suitable for educated people is being changed by many school students who take up the idea of politics as their career & help to promote this cause.
The CSDS estimates of 2009 showed that about 10% of youths participate in protests and demonstrations, though 48% showed a high level of interest in such protests.
The emergence of ABVP, RSS and other similar groups
The Left wing recognizes its space is shrinking. It has taken a tactical stand of positioning itself as a supporter of ‘liberal values’, so what is an ideological clash with the ABVP is presented as a fight for freedom of speech or rights for minorities. On the campuses, too, its presence is getting limited to the faculty. Other students’ unions don’t sway sentiments the way ABVP or RSS does.
Proper mobilisation necessary
Given India’s ‘youth bulge’, youngsters, if mobilized, could play a decisive role in the coming elections. The Census 2011 revealed that there will be around 12 crore first-time voters in the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in 2014.
Social media as a means
As per a report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), of the approximately Rs 4,000-5,000 Crore total advertisement and publicity spend in 2014 Indian Parliament elections, the digital platforms can expect to garner at least Rs 400-500 Crore..
The target audience is predictably the youth, many of them first-time voters. Shantanu Gupta’s famous TEDx talk, on Youth, Politics, and change is very popular among young political aspirants. In his talk, Shantanu explains various feeder lines to politics in the Indian context.