Why Youths Are Disillusioned With Politics?
Youth and politics are interrelated with each other. In the absence of youths, democratic politics does not thrive. Neither do the nation bring about desired changes. The youth play a significant role in shaping the political structure of a nation. In Nepal, the youth have made their vital contribution to virtually all democratic movements, including those occurred in 1950, 1990 and 2006. Nepal has undergone numerous political changes and the social scenario has changed drastically, thanks to the selfless commitment and sacrifices of youths.
Despite having encouraging role in the democratic movements, they have been unable to get a fair crack of the whip in the nation-building drive. Unemployment, bad governance and instability have forced them to go abroad to make their fortune. Politicisation and declining standards in universities have deprived them of their right to quality education. The educated youths are leaving the nation in droves to pursue higher education in foreign countries. The rise in internet and social media has misled the young people into believing that anywhere outside Nepal is definitely better.
Many youths have become disenchanted with politics owing to the lack of visionary and charismatic leaders. Crisis of trust is also another factor that puts the young population in dilemma.
“I have just finished my Plus Two examination. Currently I am doing IELTS and SAT to apply for higher education in USA or Australia,” said Manraj Gurung, a student in Kathmandu.
Gurung said that he had at all no interest in politics because he does not find a single leader with vision and charisma or the one who can actually work for the betterment of the people like him,” added Gurung.
The culture of nepotism and favouritism that the politicians and bureaucrats have been promoting has visibly dissuaded the youths from joining the politics. It is known fact that politicians favour their relatives and cronies when it comes to awarding pubic posts and positions.
Similarly, Santosh Choudhary, a resident of Lamahi, said that he had already taken up Japanese language course and planned to go to Japan for further opportunities.
“I have had my fair share in politics but I have come to realise that there exist the bad practice of ‘only for me and my family members’ by politicians. So I have lost hope in politics here,” said Choudhary
Nepali youth are still struggling to stay at the forefront of Nepali politics, especially in decision making places. Their voices are not heard even though they are the ones who are actively involved in bringing political changes to the country.
“It is a matter of great concern that youths are detaching themselves from politics. There can only be fair and good politics if the young and educated people join it,” said Surendra Raj Pandey, parliamentary party leader of the National Assembly from opposition Nepali Congress.
Pandey added that youths should be given opportunities by senior leaders of the political parties so that they could actively participate in decision making platforms.
Rise in corruption, slow-paced economy and lack of development in this fast moving world has also played a significant role in forcing the youth to stay away from politics and go abroad for job and study. Youths are the pillars of development and social transformation. But when they get frustrated by the continuous political instability and bickering, it is natural for them to focus on their own personal career abroad than devote themselves to politics here.
“Political leaders have not fulfilled any promises made during the election campaign. I think that is the main reason why the youth have given up hope in politics and politicians,” Rekha Sharma, a member of House of Representatives.
“I think the country has got a stable government and it has the chance to work towards making better future of the youths and fulfill all the promises made before the people. This will foster positive attitude of youth towards politics and politicians,” Sharma added.
Top political figures also have tendency not to encourage and groom intellectual youths in their respective parties. As a result, most of the students associated with the party wings have deviated from their ideological orientation.
Today’s youth are more active in social media than physical activities. This has also caused negative impact on the national politics. The tendency of comparing between developed countries and their political leaders with the third world countries like ours has made the youth believe that all people living in developed country are well off, which is not true.
“Youths have received only negative message about politics and politicians. They are more engaged in money earning sector rather than politics because they have been fed with the wrong message that politics is a dirty game,” said Shanta Chaudhary, a Whip of ruling Communist Party of Nepal.
She said that political parties should actively involve youths and encourage them to participate in politics. “Only then will they understand the true meaning of politics.”
It seems that the main reason for youths not to be interested in politics is that they are not given opportunities to move forward and put their voice in political parties and decision making levels. And also the acts of vandalism, band (closure) and other anarchist activities committed by a few youth leaders have created false impression about politics in most of them.
Youth are the future and when there is no future left to hold on to, people choose the alternative. Likewise the fast flow of youth going abroad has made the nation susceptible to foreign intervention with all the economic and political activities being handled by foreigners. Lack of vision and future leadership will lead to the loss of sovereignty and democratic practice in the country.
Therefore, it is time for political leaders to train the youth for the future rather than push them abroad and leave the country in chaotic situation all the time.
(Bhusal is a journalist at The Rising Nepal)