Every man’s responsibility to the nation KATHMANDU, Jan 22: Politics is no longer the realm of just the older generation. Over time, it’s come to mean something more than just a source of disinterest and dissatisfaction to the youth. The state of our country is the direct result of the involvement of most young people in politics today, whether at the college level or in the youth wing of the many fringe political parties.
With his father and brother in politics, Sudip Sharma grew an interest in it. Now 26 years old, he has graduated from leading the student union at college and is now a Central Member of All Nepal National Free Student Union. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Law, he’s now pursuing a Master’s degree in Journalism at R R College.
“In these times, it’s important for a leader to be educated. Gone are those days when the mass of the population were uneducated and the leaders, who weren’t very educated themselves, could easily fool people,” he says. “Now it’s mandatory that a leader be educated and qualified to lead the citizens of the country,” he adds.
For Sudip, politics is where his career lies and it’s where he’s headed. To be able to give the public a voice to national and social issues is an important reason for his being in politics. He has pledged his belief and support to CPN-UML and says, “The youth should be interested in the political situation of their country. Times are slowly changing and today most of us are aware of what’s going on. We should be, as it’s related to every sector, and it affects all of us.” His personal interest is in the field of education and he states that he’ll be working to develop the field.
Students affiliated with various political parties march in a protest against the hike of fuel prices in Kathmandu on September 6, 2012.
Increasing youth representation within the policy and decision-making levels and the guiding and sharing of ideas amongst experienced and mature politicians and proactive fresh youths is the only way forward. Thus, the current political crisis in Nepal can perhaps be minimized and work on winning the credibility and trust that politicians and their parties have lost in recent years can start.
Himal Sharma, Central Committee Chairman of All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union (Revolutionary), (ANNISU-R), says emphatically, “Hating politics won’t solve any problem. Instead, discuss things you don’t understand and maybe the issues will be clear, and you can even go to deeply understand the issues of politics. Politicians may be bad, but politics can never be dirty.”
Surya Prakash Bhatta, a graduate of Social Sciences and Politics from Telford College in Edinburgh and a National Executive Councilor at the National Union of Students, UK, puts that politics and rest of the society in Nepal are delinked at the moment.
He says, “My understanding and experience of politics are heavily influenced by the conflict-scarred Nepalis’ social landscape, perpetuated by the Maoist revolutionaries. This conflict has strengthened my beliefs for an open and democratic society and has also forced me to evaluate the state of global politics, in particular the reasons of and values behind wars and conflicts.”
He further explains, “As a National Executive Councilor to National Union of Students UK, I was provided with an opportunity to form policies that affect the lives of millions of students in the country. In doing so, it provided me with insight and understanding of the operation of the political structures, working within a pressure group and meeting and lobbying national political figures such as education ministers on a national level as well as London Mayoral candidates.”
Surya is seriously considering joining politics once he returns to Nepal. His interest lies in sectors like education, equality, international relations and diplomacy. Having grown up during the rough period of the state-Maoist conflict, he wants to start from the local level and go back to the deprived and socially unequal communities.
While some problems within our society are understandable as we are also going through major political changes, the unstable political situation can mainly be reasoned with institutional corruption, the propagandist and careerist culture among politicians, lack of clear vision or policies. Many would argue that the only transparent use of young people in politics is either their brute strength or their brazen nature. We’ve seen how young party cadres serve mightily during instances which require subjugation. Sudip rightly points out, “Gunda gardi bardai chha.”
The ignoring of party ethics and working outside the true party principles happens all the time. A young aspiring politician, Sudip’s next words have a ring of truth in them, “The leaders today are stuck in yesterday. So it’s up to the young leaders to work to providing a better future for themselves and everyone else.”
Similarly, Jhalak Subedi, political analyst, also says, “Since old leaders have only a few years to achieve all that they can, it’s time youth leaders stepped in. Involving young politicians in agenda-centered discussions where they will be very helpful and thus help find pertinent solutions to pressing problems is a practice the political parties should consider adopting.”
On the significance of youth in politics, he says, “One of the most important things that happen when young people participate in the political scenario is the recruitment to political parties. New things can also be learnt by members from the divided generation, and fresh ideas can circulate which is a compulsory element of the youth movement.”
Subedi recounts that the youth had a big hand during the important revolutions of our nation: the Panchayat System, the 10 years of Maoist insurgency, and even in the 2006 Democracy Movement. The fired up youth not only gained experience but were also politically trained through these revolutions.
As young people are better at planning ahead, much more than senior politician are, it’s good for the nation if more young people join politics, he says.
Like, popular youth leader Gagan Thapa said in an interview, good people must enter politics or be governed by the bad.