Age Matters, Or Does It?

Today’s young people. Today’s leaders.

Sudhanshu Kaushik founded the Young India Foundation (YIF), India’s first youth advocacy group, to help ‘young’ people get elected in local and national level positions. The foundation supports young diverse candidates by helping them with legal aid, campaign management & tactics, organization building, and access to training that is needed to be successful.

YIF advocates that in a country where 73% of the population is below the age of 29, it is unfair that the average age of a parliamentarian is 56. India has one of the highest age of candidacy (i.e. you need to be at least 25 years old in order to be elected as an MP). While most countries such as UK, Australia, and Germany have 18 years for the same.

The demographics of Indian politics have remained unchanged since Independence. Yet, India gets younger and younger. The goal of YIF is simple: to bring fresh ideas, concepts, and people to the leadership to change the stagnation, get rid of the corruption and be more representative of the current population.

You may argue that ‘young people are not mature enough’. So let me get this straight, I can join the army at 17 and learn how to use a firearm, but I am not mature enough to represent my people?

In the words of Antigone Aesculus, “If I am young and wrong, then you are right [to look down on my youthful ignorance.] But if I am young and right, what does my age matter?”

Age doesn’t define maturity. Hence, the youth should have every opportunity to fully participate in the lives of their societies.

We have always been made to believe that the reigns of the future will be handed to us when the time is right- when we are old enough. But if you look around, society is failing. We need the energy, the brains and most importantly the talent of the youth to stop India from falling apart.

And that I believe is the need of the hour.

We need to give the youth a chance to lead.

We need to accept that there is much to learn from them.

We need politics to better represent the needs, experiences, and demands of the youth.

Young people, when empowered can be the key agents of development and peace. I commend the efforts of Young India Foundation in helping us achieve that dream.

Enough of the Facebook statuses. Become a part of the system instead of just complaining about it.

#Simran #YoungIndiaFoundation #AntigoneAesculus

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