August 1, 2011 Off By Shikha Hazarika

The youth is the spring of human life. The most progressive, inspired and dynamic segment of the country’s population is the young generation. This is the time when everything becomes possible. The sky is the limit for the energy and enthusiasm of the youth. Although in every field the front runner is the youth, still majority of them seems to complain about everything around them. All they can say is that “the country is going to the dogs”, but when it comes to taking an initiative, they prefer to lie back and say “I don’t give a damn.”

           However, the thought-provoking advertisement of the Tata Tea with a punch line “Jaago re” has now recognised the needs to create awareness among the youth. What is commendable is that even though this is ultimately a means to increase their own profits, they have tried to address a socially and politically relevant issue. The “Jaago re” advertisement alarms a movement for social awakening. By making a remark “Agar aap sote rahenge, to yeh desh kaise jaagega”, it calls the youth not only to get up every morning but to “wake up”!

         History reveals that the success of a nation is guaranteed only if it has leaders who have the capacity to bring about a change. This is only possible if the youth raises a voice and plays a role in deciding who they want to be governed by. In India, the trend of students actively participating in politics began in the early 20th century, when India was fighting for its freedom. The elders being busy with their bread earning, political leaders started enlisting the support of the student community. India’s student movement in fact, has been a force to reckon with ever since the 1930s when the All India Students Federation (AISF) came into existence. In Assam, it started in 1940, when a student union named Asom Chattra Sanmilani (Assam Students’ Association) divided into the All Assam Students’ Federation and the All Assam Student’s Congress came up. A decade later they recombined as the All Assam Students’ Association, which was later renamed to All Assam Students’ Union in January 1967.

           It is unfortunate that the political set up of India, which produced many youth leaders, is becoming old. It is not the case of India, but all over the world. It is a great tragedy that the youth is considered as the age of energy and excitement but not of consciousness and responsibility. It is often heard saying by the elderly people that when you get the hosh (consciousness) than take the charge. It is true that for the father, his child will remain a child even when he turns fifty. Let the youth be tested, that’s what Bernard Shaw stated; “It is all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date”.

As the seedling of Mainstream Politics is planted in the grounds of colleges and universities, therefore, I ventured out to find out the views of the youth regarding Student Politics in Assam and what intensity it bears in their psychology. In the progression, a few Student Leaders were asked to opine about politics. Satyajit Borthakur, the General Secretary of Cotton College says that, “Politics should always be developmental and Constructive for the society and student politics should be within the students and for the benefit of the students.” Evoking another response, Anshuman Sharma, a student leader of a student political wing comments that, “Power politics is pollution in student Politics. It is short lived and we are to make it more short” With materialism being the by product of liberalization, Indian markets as well as the youth is becoming vested in its interests. Values like patriotism and love for one’s country is on a decline as the youth are turning towards MTV, McDonalds and Money making. As a result, the youth has become cynical and pessimistic in its attitude towards politics. However, this is not reason enough for the youth to be disenchanted from politics. After all, world’s greatest wars and rebellions have been led and fought by the youth. Our youth should be inspired by their American counterparts who have brought about a revolution in American politics by electing Barack Obama, a young Afro-American leader as America’s President. Even the recent past has witnessed some impetuous movements by the youth like the candle march in the Jessica Lal murder case, protests against reservations in educational institutions by the Government and the popular Pink Chaddi campaign against the tyrannical ways of Promod Muthalik. In fact, the emergence of young promising leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Agatha Sangma and Omar Abdullah have instilled some life and dynamism in Indian politics.

                  How can we forget the most striking dialogue from Rang De Basanti- “Hum is system ko nehi badalte, yeh system humko badal deti hain” which clearly states that the youth will face many challenges by the old system? But let the thought of bad politics; be overthrown by the young ones. Develop the 3D nature and see the change. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue, that counts. Do you have it?



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