Friday, December 5, 2008

Youth and Politics: A Letter

I am writing this letter to an average middle class youth of india who loves to hate politics. Hating politics and loving cricket are his two passions compteting for the first position. I do so,as a friend of him, who understand his frustation and anger but disagree with his conclusions. I do so, with an intention, that some day we will walk together and try to make this world a better place to live.

Dear friend, Your hatred of politics is not baseless. When you say "politics has become very dirty", "there is no scope for good people in it", "Politics without muscle power and money power: forget it dude", "Nothing is going to change man, hoping for a better society is fruitless, be practical" etc, it becomes clear that there is something very serious wrong with the present political establishment. This establishment does not deliever what we want, it does not even care to listen. So you have concluded that it is futile to speak and the best option is to withdraw. I think,No, if it does not care to listen, let us shout and if it does not respond even then let us keep ready the instruments needed for an ear surgery.

On a serious note, You should not withdraw because it is impossible to be neutral on a running train. A specific kind of politics is being promoted by ruling party and its loyal opposition around the world: resulting in 496 individuals having more than double the weath of 2.3 billion people, 27000 children below five dying each day because of poverty, misery of many for enrichment of few, prolonged malnourishment and starvation, individual and state terrorism, irreversible environmental damage, increasing crime, insecurity, depression to name a few. In India this politics has resulted into more than 150,000 farmers commiting sucide because of farm crisis, people being displaced and their land being snatched, 83 coror people living on less than 20 Rs per day while Ambanis are growing richer, health care budget declining from 1.5% of GDP to 0.8% in last 20 years, widespread corruption etc. If you are not shouting against it, you are silent in favour of it.

I hope now you agree that Change is required. But what about "kuch nahi badlane wala" (Nothing is going to Change), well let us try to find answer to this question in history. Our country and many other countries were colonised by Brithish Imperalism. People, like you and me, participating in freedom struggle did not think "kuch nahi badlane wala", and the empire was defeated. Slavery was a custom, from ancient greece to modern america. But People, like you and me, fought against it and secured victory. Women's opression, Monarchy, Voting rights only for property holders, Untouchability in our country etc all these things were norms of some place at some time. But when people realised that it is unjust and woke up, change followed. History teaches us that no norm, no custom, no system is god given and at numerous instances ordinary people like you and me, standing together, have defeated empires and brought out important change. Change is possible.

"Ok fine, but this dirty politics can not be an instrument for such change. Ya i want to do something for soceity. I will join some NGO and do social work" are you thinking this my dear friend? Well it is possible to teach 2 hours per week in slum through NGO but the route to reform education system so that quality education is accessible to all goes via politics. It is possible to conduct a medical camp on weekend as social work but politics is bound to come into picture if one thinks of a well functioning public health care system. For any broad and stable change, politics( in a broad sense, not merely the power game) is only instrument. You take example of education, for instance. We all would agree that every child should a minimum of 10-12 years of education. Now in order to achieve it: people might have to come together and start a campign, government might have to pass a law and allocate necessary resources, then create awareness on a massive scale so that children attend school and recieve the education. All these are inherently political steps.
NGO is about charity of rich and luck of poor, Politics is about responsibility of state and rights of people. NGO is about (only) feeding the poor: easy, self esteem building but ineffective, Politics is about eradicating the poverty and hunger: tough, includes suffering but long lasting and effective. Politics has the power to create and stop war, NGO can, at best, heal the wounded. So while what NGOs do may be a good thing in itself, for broad and stable changes in any field like education, economy etc politics is absolutely necessary. So Politics is necessary instrument for change.

So Change is required, Change is possible and Politics(again in a broad sense, not merely as the power game) is necessary instrument for any broad and stable change. You still hate politics, my dear friend? I hope not anymore!

No comments: