India is warming up for the next general election. The phase the country is passing through is going to be quite a catalyst, with the economic slowdown and the problem of terrorism scaling new heights after 26/11.
What I have noticed in the recent past is that citizens are becoming increasingly conscious about their duties. It is no longer only political parties that contest elections; it is common to see citizens contesting in right earnest, too. It is as if people have begun to think, “If politics is a dirty game, then we need to clean it up.”
One has seen a vast change in attitudes after the terror attack in Mumbai, when one saw the people pouring out into the streets and making their elected representatives answerable to them.
As a young man, I used to think, “What difference would one single vote of mine make?” So I ended up not exercising my right. It is only in my mature years that I have realised the immense responsibility of that one single vote — it can bring about the sea change we need.
The Indian youth have been gearing up for these elections like never before. Earlier, with their I-give-a-damn attitude, they would not cross the threshold of a polling booth, but now they are actively promoting every citizen’s right to vote. A major “get out there and vote” campaign is on to get more and more young people to put that ink stain on their fingers.
One cannot stress enough the role of the youth in the democratic decision-making process. The parties seem to have understood this — most of them are fielding younger candidates and trying out newer modes of publicity to woo Young India. And Young India is proving to be Intelligent India.
Recently, I was invited to a function where the majority of the crowd was very young, maybe first-time voters. When I asked them for whom they would vote, their answers surprised me and made me realise that only this generation can reform democracy. They told me that they would not vote for a particular party, but for an individual — irrespective of party affiliation — who is ready to work hard to prove his/her worth.
The change we all want can only come if we change our attitude. And in these elections, Young India will vote for change, because for them it is not a concept, it is a duty to their motherland. Let’s come out and vote.
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