India Today Mind Rocks Youth Summit: Arvind Kejriwal, the man who brought youth to forefront

Arvind Kejriwal

Two years ago, it was believed that the Indian youth’s political idealism is restricted to watching Rang De Basanti and their patriotism to chest-thumping during cricket matches between India and Pakistan.

Today, young Indians are shaping the political agenda of the nation. Their level of political awareness is such that mainstream political parties which ignore this section run the risk of being decimated at the hustings.

Much of the credit for transforming the youth from perennial backbenchers to the vanguard of politics should go to Arvind Kejriwal, the man who helped spark the mass upsurges at Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Maidan the past year.

Anna Hazare might have been the face of the Jan Lokpal agitation, but Kejriwal was undoubtedly the brain behind it. The central position that the Magsaysay awardee occupies in the movement has only become more apparent now that it is in a phase of transition.

He will be speaking at the India Today Mind Rocks Youth Summit 2012 on Friday.

It is inexplicable why mainstream political parties ignored the youth as a ” vote bank” in a country where over half the people are below 30 years of age. It is this section that Kejriwal and his team tapped into. However, their contribution lies not so much in the manner in which they caught the imagination of young Indians but for mobilising them under a platform which had nothing to do with the politics of caste, religion and region.

Critics have tended to present Kejriwal and his team as a bunch of event managers who somehow managed to gather a crowd. This is both inaccurate and unfair. Kejriwal’s efforts at mobilising the youth predate the Jan Lokpal agitation by over a decade. Since the early 2000s, Kejriwal, through his NGO Parivartan, has been going to various schools in Delhi to advocate for transparent governance. People still recall that it was by attending his presentations during their school days which made them realise that they paid taxes even by purchasing a bar of chocolate.

Having now turned the movement against corruption into a political one, the challenges have only increased for Kejriwal.

Whether Kejriwal’s political does well in the elections is besides the point. He and his team have brought corruption, which people had almost become accustomed to, into the centre of the political discourse.

This will remain their lasting contribution.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: