For change, age will need a new definition

  • Khushwant Singh, None
  • Updated: Mar 22, 2015 13:02 IST

When discussing reasons of Punjab’s downslide, the primary arguments that I put forward are — the state ought to have young political leadership and its dynastic politics should fade away.

Many may disagree with the first view since they prefer experience over youth, but it is imperative to inject young, non-dynastic political blood in the state considering the way Punjab has gone low on energy and ideas over the years.

Simply put, more young people rather than the existing septuagenarians and octogenarians, should be involved as stakeholders in Punjab’s future, with the state’s population getting younger by the day.

The seed of this thought should be sown for Punjab’s future. The state’s land is fertile and who knows we just might get an early harvest that brings a balance between experience and energy.

And since there is no thought-out mechanism to make an old politician let go of their power, we could legislate a legislature’s retirement age and not allow a chief minister more than two terms of tenure.

Punjab is seriously needs a whiff of fresh energy and a break from the cycle of the retrograde politics which it finds itself in. At the helm of the state’s politics are people who have been there for decades. They have not only become fixed in their opinions and lack the capacity to reinvent, but have built careers on models that are not progressive.

Punjab has had a turbulent past and most of its politics has been based on the advantages taken from those times. Some may argue that the turbulence is because of the politicians, an issue which can provide sufficient fodder for another discussion.
Without passing on the buck, it is important to realise that the issue at hand must be pondered upon by every Punjabi. Look in the newspapers of the last one week to find glaring answers, should anyone have any doubt. Hardly any example of progressive politics can be found. The news will rather make you cringe when you realise that the state’s entire model of politics pivots around allegations, counter allegations, protests, and religious and secular permutations.

Secondly, it is high time that every Punjab voter says no to dynastic politics. Even though the gen-next of senior politicians is young and well-educated, the drawback is that this gen next’s political thinking does not have anything new to offer and is just a carry forward of their elders. Dynastic politics also tends not to let merit rise within the party, curbing the flow of the deserving in politics. Such parochial attitude restricts the thought and the growth of the political scions as they do not open up to newer ideas and skill sets.

In fact, one of the reasons why we see no promising scion on the rise is because they have all been unable to carve a political ideology or develop a thought of their own. I will keep arguing on these points because for change, age will need a new definition.

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