Are the youth being heard in our country? There is no concrete answer to this. It depends upon what the Youth demand. The demands have to be logical, and should not be out of place. However, there have been instances where out of place demands were accommodated, to garner more votes and win elections. The method of demand would also matter. If the youth protest peacefully, without any loss to property, or without any hurt caused to one self, then the chances of being heard is less. I am saying this, because India still has the notion of elders being more worldly wise, than the youngsters.
As Steve Jobs said, we need to create a dent in the universe; similarly the youth will have to create an indelible mark, so that they can be heard. This can be best explained by examples.
A young girl in Delhi gets brutally gang raped and murdered, shocking the collective conscience of our country. What follows is a huge agitation and protest across the country, with the epicenter being Raisina Hill and India gate. The outcome of the protest prompted the Government of Karnataka to launch of a 24/7 dedicated helpline (1091) to be operated by the state police to register sexual abuse complaints from women. The Government of Tamil Nadu also announced a 13-point action plan to ensure safety of women in Tamil Nadu and said that incidents of sexual assault would be treated as a grave crime, and probes would be entrusted to top police officials. It also lead to the promulgation of the the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 by the president of India, which provides for death penalty in case of rape. In addition to this, several new laws were passed, and six new fast-track courts were created to hear rape cases.
The Youth’s protests were heard
Aligarh Muslim University did not allow girls access to the main library, as the authorities feared that they would distract the boys. The feisty girls lead a peaceful and a successful protest to gain access to the main library.
The Youth were heard again
Jats protested in Haryana for reservation in services and educational institutions. This protest caused massive losses to the property, estimated to be US$5.1 billion. The consequence of this protest was the passage of Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Bill in Haryana Legislative assembly.
You guessed it right, The Youth were heard again……
Barring the protest by girls, what was common about the agitation in Delhi and Haryana? There was violence, Huge mobilization of the people, People joining hands and protesting as one to demand a change. The youth will definitely be heard, if their cause is able to bring votes for the ruling party in the next elections. They will also be heard, if their cause is for a social change, for the betterment of the society, eg, protests after the brutal gang rape in Delhi in 2012. In rarest of rare circumstances, hey would be heard, if the government is convinced about the youth’s point of view.
- Would the youth, however be heard, if they orgnanise mass protests for better roads?
- Would they be heard, if they protest for an improvement in public transport in our country?
- Would they be heard, if they protest for an improvement in the crumbling infrastructure of our country?
- Would they be heard, if they protest for a better treatment from police when they go to file a complaint?
- Would they be heard, if they demand clean air and conservation of nature?
- Would the youth protest for these causes in the first place?
- Have the youth ever protested for these causes and do they have the basic intelligence to even think of protesting about these issues?
The youth will only protest for causes that impact them economically and concerns their safety, but will never protest for implementation of measures that leads to betterment in their standard of living. For this to happen, they will have to let go of their smart phones and seriously think about these issues. They will then have to, collaborate amongst themselves and besiege the authorities for the change to take place.
The moot question is….Will they ever think? Or even after doing so, Will they every Act? And even if they acted…would the establishment pay heed to their protests?