The months and the year’s end and my mind churns when I go through the reminiscences of that terror night on 16 December, 2012. There have always been both subtle and loud resistances towards the structured stupidity in the form of patriarchy and its consequences: related to the issues of safety, unemployment and moral policing in India. The year 2013-2014 has indeed been revolutionary and evolutionary in terms of public awareness and responsibility. Although wants and un-wants are still to be carved, the fellow Indians complain of mislead than lead, the dilemma remains of who are my country’s leaders. The citizens have started claiming their reimbursements, and it is the time for matching the humane needs with machine (state) needs. A young collegiate in my recent interaction on General Elections 2014, responded “democracy to me is (Buy) the people, For the (politicians), and (Off) the people”. Much power is evident from these words, and lot of redundancy is seen and as a researcher I was intrigued to pen down the opinions of my fellow youth. To highlight, what can be said of the state machinery, the resistance acts signifies that India can proceed without a leader, and perhaps better, claim change and reclaim republic.
My country’s young men and women have faced thrills on the roads of the capital, New Delhi, facing the brutality of powerful state men for something that was long repressed.. The questions arise not for the justice, not only for crime, there are volley of things which triggers. The youth protests which are now so common in the capital lush green lawns are mostly leaderless with strong and pure resistance. These are not just a catharsis or pity; the psyche of the people has been bruised, and they are shaken because they are aware. The comments by powerful statesmen are their real selves and deep brooded, seems unlearning would take an era too. An individual’s self is complex in nature and all behavior results as a response to social context. The power of youth is in discriminatory and fearless and Youth is an important stakeholder for sustaining democracy, their expectation from/of the leadership, in fulfilling the aspirations is essential. It becomes a responsibility to ensure their involvement so that they do not feel alienated. Although, BJP leaders have ensured a level one involvement by introducing table talks with youth but level two seems to be nowhere happening. The action and plans seems poles apart.
Subliminally, the demands are of the quality, of the transparency, justice, reach and connectivity: the countrymen are ready to take singular leads, monitor the glances and work in a patterned way; they demand collaborative system of work (based on the focus group discussion with the protestors which had taken place in capital reference to 16/12). The leaders have been named in simple terms as “land bugs, self made gods and on a sabbatical since an era”, in fact what bubbles up is people crave for trust and connectivity. Leadership, although is often frowned upon, however, it is both what brings glory and shame.
The need seems to be for introspection nationwide, although narratives from the media talks, prints and researchers all have been speculating on the quality of leadership our country demands. The aspirations and wants of metropolitan youth are different from three tier cities and villages. However, the understanding of nuisances of politics, promises and identification with the leaders remains undifferentiated. So is the youth of this country aspiring high, expressing high and illuminating the vision of multiple goals of what the preamble of India sets out:
“We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens
JUSTICE social, economic and political
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity and to promote among all its citizens
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation”
The demands of the youth, till date is in sync with above stated, however it has never been gruelling after the infamous New Delhi, Gang Rape, 2012. These youth voices are a step ahead for a liveable and safe society. They (us) as a matter of fact are change agents and the future leaders. I should end on a plea from a young protestor which has been re phrased “ Let us not see but participate, to make authority in perfect alignment, let us perform and not be an audience to this political opera, let us work for mutual good, bring honour, glory and peace in the world. Let us see if this can sustain democracy.”
Kiran Sakkar Sudha is a Research Scholar at the Department of Psychology, Jamia Millia Islamia, India.