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The Y Factor of Politics

By MRITUNJAY JHA, Asia-Pacific Young Greens Coordinator

Nepal’s  youth have been essentially projected as a generation that is inherently carefree and more intent on working in secure jobs with good salaries rather than getting involved in politics. For our generation, politics as a career comes way down in our career options list. The perception of our generation about politics has generally been negative. The reasons are many, like rampant corruption, criminalization of politics, apathy towards people’s needs, lack of accountability, and the list goes on. “When we have so many other options to explore, why should we dirty our hands in politics?” is the youths’ ready made answer.

However, the truth is, it is the responsibility of the youth today to bring the change we’re looking for. The moving spirit of a society is constantly renewed with its young, and for any society to thrive, the young need to awaken and bring changes.

Being diplomats, lobbyists and political leaders are positions people aspire to be in other countries but this culture doesn’t exist here. Courses of study in the lines of diplomacy, international relations, public administration, public policy, governance and globalization are routes not found in reality at all. We have all grown up with our parents wanting us to be engineers and doctors, so the other options seldom cross our minds.

Nonetheless, the possibility does exist and the arenas are open. The issues that the political scenarios face today will change if initiatives are awakened. After all, how long can the mockery go on? It has to change someday.

The question is – When? If we have to answer that question, it is time to knock and reach the brim to understand what we truly want.

What really drives me about politics is the sense of possibility. To realize that politics has the potential to change the way we live is not just an idea but an actual reality. After all, how did our leaders come into being? Did it all happen by magic? We voted for them, if you remember, and this is where the process of understanding begins. Politics has a central dimension to national governance and it is ridiculous for the young to hesitate to take part in it.

We have a few young politicians, but they have not been allowed to stretch their wings. It is stereotypical to think youths as political kids and to assume that only people with gray hair can become successful politicians. In recent times, we have seen a growth of the youth taking part in politics, but not in positive ways. We see young people as ‘party workers’ and ‘party supporters’ but the youth actively taking part in policy and debate is still zero.

Thus, we, the youth, should act for our future with greater will and action. Changing dysfunctional behavior is difficult but not impossible. If we, as a nation, have to move ahead and build the country of our dreams, we have to use politics as a medium to ensure that the government remains sensitive and accountable to the people.

Again we come back to the same question. Who will take this country into the era of prosperity, economic growth, sustained development and all-round progress?
Unless the youth feel concerned and get involved in politics at all stages, we cannot expect a nation to grow. Remember, it is not good for a nation when its citizens only complain and expect someone else to fix their problems. It is considered a social disgrace if someone chooses to maintain a reserved or a neutral stand on issues. It is because many youngsters are migrating to other countries. People who believe that the political system will never change prefer to make their careers outside the country. We have to build a foundation for a prosperous future. If we have the power to bring about changes, then why not exercise that power now?

The writer is coordinator at Asia Pacific Young Greens Network (APYGN) which is a sister organization of Asia Pacific Greens Network, an umbrella organization of Green Parties in the Asia and Pacific.

09/17/2013 – 11:35

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