‘Young voices hold power to steer the course of history and rebuild society’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Young voices hold power to steer the course of history and rebuild society’

BySudipta Basu, Mumbai
May 15, 2024 05:20 AM IST

The first-time voter grew up in Bengaluru, Pune and Navi Mumbai and graduated from Symbiosis Law School, Pune, in 2022

She is no cynic, but when she exercises her franchise in Navi Mumbai on May 20, the thought running through her mind will be if her decision will affect the political climate of the country. “And if it does, I am also worried about whether I am making the right decision at all and whether my reasons for voting for a particular party would affect any class of society in an unfavourable manner,” says 24-year-old lawyer Anuskha Ghosh.

Anuskha Ghosh, a 24-year-old lawyer from Navi Mumbai, says she will vote for a candidate who will put emphasis on entrepreneurship. (Bachchan Kumar/ HT photo)
Anuskha Ghosh, a 24-year-old lawyer from Navi Mumbai, says she will vote for a candidate who will put emphasis on entrepreneurship. (Bachchan Kumar/ HT photo)

The first-time voter grew up in Bengaluru, Pune and Navi Mumbai and graduated from Symbiosis Law School, Pune, in 2022. She works as a legal associate at a prominent law firm in Nariman Point, Mumbai. Her Kolkata-based parents – a stay-at-home mother who is known to quote James Joyce and Jibanananda Das with equal passion, and a financial consultant father – were quick to embrace the essence of India as soon as they moved away from their home state.

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A multi-cultural upbringing has instilled in her the ability to tolerate, adapt and embrace diversity. “I was encouraged to engage in meaningful conversations about society, question the status-quo and equip myself with the right resources to understand what was happening around me”.

Mumbai’s idiosyncrasies shaped her life. “The dichotomy of the richest class of society cohabiting with the poorest, the various people I grew up with and the distinct character that Mumbai as a city inherently has, exposed me to various cultures, languages and perspectives from a young age,” she says.

She spends 10 hours a day working in corporate law. When she is not poring over legal documents, she spends time reading or is at the movies. “I have been truly hooked to ‘And Then What?’ by Catherine Ashton. It explores the inside stories of modern-day diplomacy and offers an incredible insight into closed-door conversations,” she says, adding her movie choices are far lighter – such as ‘The Confessions of a Shopaholic’ that tend to romanticise life and allow her to escape for a few hours into its own “happily-ever-after”.

The most important and fundamental freedom that education and societal exposure gave her, she says, is the “freedom to choose”. And that is a freedom she wants to use this month, to elect a representative for her constituency of Thane.

Ghosh is part of a cohort of 18 million people who will exercise their franchise for the first time in the ongoing general elections, their aspirations and concerns shaping the battle for the 18th Lok Sabha. And in a region where stark differences in wealth and social positions often coexist uneasily in close proximity, she is a representative of high-income groups who wield power in decision-making and government policy but often show up in inadequate numbers at the polls.

Ghosh is determined to change this trend in a city that has the largest concentration of billionaires in the country (the Hurun Global Rich List of 2024 pegged the number at 92). “The voices of the young hold the power to steer the course of society’s history and house the strength to rebuild a new socioeconomic environment,” she says.

The importance of voting was baked into her mind during the pandemic – she was 20 when Covid hit, and she was just beginning to understand the impact that government leaders have in making decisions for citizens.

“The challenges people faced in accessing quality healthcare engulfed all of us, especially when we saw our own people face direct consequences at the other end of these decisions. The pandemic highlighted the urgent need for robust healthcare systems, adequate facilities and efficient healthcare delivery,” she says.

“As I consider my vote, I’m looking for candidates and policies that prioritise healthcare reforms, infrastructure development and public health initiatives to create a healthier and more resilient society.”

She spent the summer of 2020 at a non-governmental organisation dedicated to educating and introducing children from abusive families about essential legislation such as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO Act), the Right to Information (RTI Act) and certain basic fundamental rights granted under the Constitution.

“This experience underscored the critical need for everyone to have accurate information about their rights, as many are unaware of the ways they can be exploited. People are exploited at the workplace, they face abuse in their own homes, they lose their hard-earned money due to fraudulent activities, without having the awareness of their ability to take recourse under existing laws.”

In keeping with the spirit that drives Maximum City, she hopes the party that is voted to power puts emphasis on entrepreneurship support by simplifying regulations around start-up formations and investment allowances, and simplifying laws to help set up businesses; policies on digital connectivity to expand digital infrastructure to remote areas, promoting e-governance initiatives and digital literacy.

In her mind, young India is the future because it possesses the agility and adaptability to navigate the rapidly evolving global landscape. “Apart from social trends and pop culture references, conversations among the youth today do make place for issues surrounding technology trends, current affairs, including social and political news events, and deciding who (apart from Taylor Swift) could dictate economies towards a favourable future.”

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