Nepal, in the past 15 years has seen political and social changes once people only imagined of. From unitary to federalism, from monarchy to republic, from a Hindu state to secular, from armed conflict to temporary peace, Nepal has progressed at the speed of rocket. Liking the change or not is a subject to one’s perception and can be debated. But Nepal’s fast paced political progression has included and attracted minorities into politics, including the youth.
It is an open secret that the conventional political parties for a long time have used their young cadres in all the political struggles but haven’t proportionally offered them with executive posts both in the party and in governing bodies. Indulging yourself into politics before 2062/63 was a risky affair. The battle was with the state and could lead one to an absolute nothing. No parents would want their young ones to choose politics as their career. So there has to be genuine respect for all the young politicians, who chose to struggle than to flee. Their conduct post the political achievement is a different tale.
After the establishment of peace and no serious oppressor in the government, there occurred a change in the paradigm. With no serious threat to one’s life, talking about politics was easier and more appealing. The demand of courage was lesser to get into active politics because the newbies didn’t require taking up a gun, protesting in curfews, facing 240 years of tyrannical institution or facing any serious physical threat. After the success of the People’s revolution – II in 2006, the interest of youth in politics escalated and hence formed the new parties, calling themselves alternative.
Today, politics has emerged as the new sexy, something that gives the newbies a personal identity and an intellectual certification. This has led to the answer of ‘I am a youth, I am better’, when asked for their unique selling proposition (USP). A rebuttal to this logic would be the example of Mahathir Mohamad’s takeover of the office in Malaysia. Mahathir, who is 92 was voted recently by his people into his government. The major question now is, is being youth all it takes to be a good politician?
The answer is definitely no. We have to read the history, understand politics better, understand the importance of policies, research more and have a definite plan. All this can be done at a very young age but it needs tremendous effort of going through all of history, studying political ideologies, analyzing the need of the country and start talking sense than emotions. B.P. Koirala, at a very young age was known for his tremendous knowledge, wisdom, political understanding and also his governing abilities. He never had to use his youth as his unique selling proposition. Similarly, today’s youth have to outperform the older generation, in their game, being better than them.
Most often ordinary politicians do not have an agenda to establish but rather think politics as a mere profession without an end to it, the greater ones have vision and a goals to accomplish. The young generation has to discover its goal.
Complacence in adding extra effort in preparations with a bit of oratory may make us sound good but the mask is sure to fall in no time.
Remember – ‘The more we sweat in practice, the lesser we bleed in Battle’
Timalsena is the National Coordinator of Youth Congress Nepal, a nation-wide youth campaign to preserve democracy and advocate for good governance.