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Political Awareness among young people

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“One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” – Plato

Politics is one of the indistinguishable parts of being a responsible citizen. Political participation and civic engagement awareness is very much needed in youth. Youths, the most spirited part of a population, have a lot to offer to politics. Their involvement are deemed to be crucial not just because they are the key to the future of our community but also because they play a decisive role in making changes in the present course of action.  So it is important for the young people today to gain an affirmative attitude towards politics rather than a deplorable one in order to truly grasp political scenarios and their impact on their lives. Nepal’s 40 percent of the total population consists of youth which makes them a majority when it comes to voting and voicing out their opinions. This huge percentage of people cannot just evade away their responsibility as a conscious citizen.

Albeit the potential of politics is colossal, many Nepali youths feel disconnected to the mere notion of politics. From blockades to strikes, Nepal is no stranger to different political activities disrupting and affecting the everyday lives of its citizens in several ways. Kusum Pathak, a 19 year old BBA(Bachelors in Business Administration) student, thinks these frequent disruptions are the primary reasons as to why young people feel disconnected with the politics of Nepal. She thinks these activities make politics attached to negative connotations which may compel young people to blur out huge opportunity of public resourcefulness politics can offer. As the news of corruption and accusations are getting more frequent, so is the disinterest of politics among young people.  Politics is not just about ‘rehearsed long speeches’ and ‘lies and manipulations’ as many young people connote it to be. It is an opportunity which will help explain everyday phenomena and open up discourses. These discourses will later on lead to policy and government formation. One of the recent examples might be the controversy of Guthi bill. Only after a social media outburst led by youths, people engaged in discourses which coerced government into taking a thoughtful action of not passing this bill.

As these connotations exist, it is important for youths to not get driven by these conceptions which overshadow the powerful potential of politics. Kripendra Amatya, a political activist who’s currently working on a campaign of Save Nepa Valley, emphasizes the urgency of political awareness. Having being involved in Guthi bill discourse himself, he points out that there are multiple factors that can incentivize one to stay politically aware. He points out one’s social background and political ambition can incentivize today’s youth in involving in political discourses. He claims his frustration towards the system has been one of the major incentives to stay political aware. He believes such frustrations must be harnessed and different observations about our political system should be made. For instance, the road expansion which has affected his and his community’s lives immensely has incited him to be one of the prominent voices in Save Nepa Valley campaign. Even as a minority, he believes his civic engagement can make his voice heard and help minimize his frustrations. He believes campaigning is the best way to make people politically aware which can make young people today recognize the power politics holds in their lives. He also thinks different civic engagement can help people gain perspectives and knowledge on political activities.

Disorientation from politics can lower down civic engagement which can lead all of us to a dangerous path. So the notion of gaining a positive perspective on the field of politics by youth is ever so crucial. Like Amatya, young people today, can thoroughly condemn the dark side of politics by actively discussing issues affecting society rather than just ignoring them. Aristotle referred to politics as one of the most sacred professions of all time as it can lead us to greater good of humanity. Young capable minds must not be empty minded and politically unaware vessels only to be filled in by incapable political activities. They don’t have to read Aristotle or Plato to grasp political theories, just allocating 10 minutes newspaper reading of 24 hours of a day can make young minds bit aware about the happenings of politics and then lead them towards civic engagement.

-Poonam Regmi