Why is youth connecting with Narendra Modi
I recently heard an expert in one of the TV debates saying, that as per some study Indian youth under the age of 35 are conservative. As per that expert youth are connecting with Narendra Modi because they are conservative.
Before I discuss further let me confess that I did not see the complete debate, for I am generally averse to all TV debates; I find them more entertaining and less enlightening.
Is Indian youth connecting with Modi? Obvious answer is yes. Without the whole hearted support of youth, BJP could have never won such a huge mandate as the party has won in the last general election. But why are youth connecting with Modi and not with Rahul Gandhi or even with Arvind Kejriwal?
Is Indian youth conservative? As per the Oxford dictionary, conservative means ‘opposed to change and holding traditional values’. Indian youth is surely conservative for most of them still respect parents and, even after marriage, don’t mind living with them; they still rely on parents to get them married; many go to places of worship; many, if not most, are unable to break the caste barrier. One can go on and on.
Broadly speaking, by these standards, youth of every part of the country can be categorised as conservative; even those who followed Kejriwal in series of dharnas organised by him and eventually voted for him and his party; and also those who still have some faith in Congress party and had voted for that party, the part received about 20% votes in the last election.
Youth is attracted to Modi not because they are conservative but because he dared to present a vision to Indians and the vision appealed them. The bane of Indian political system has been the rise of political families. Nehru- Gandhis, Abdullahs, MSY and his family, Karunanidhi and his clan, Lalu Prasad, Badals, so and so forth; it is sad tale of families ruling Indians like feudal lords of the yore.
There has not been even one person from any of these political families who had some vision that he could present before the young Indians. Every family is surviving on caste, religion, language, and region politics. These families have lived and thrived in pomp and glory while every average young Indian has to struggle to achieve anything worthwhile.
Lakhs of student compete year after year for few seats in IITs, Medical Colleges and IIMs. In last fifty years they could not even create one IIT in each State, and many if these states are bigger than European countries. And when they pass out of second, third and fourth grade educational institutions, they have to struggle to get even a clerk’s job.
The bright ones who get an opportunity to go abroad are shocked to see the standard life enjoyed by the common people of those countries. It hurts them for they know that Indians could also have enjoyed reasonable standard of life but for the corrupt and venal political elite ruling the country.
Indians below the age of 35 may or may not be conservative but they are definitely more informed than the youth of 60s and 70s. They know what is happening in every part of the world. They know what could have been achieved in last sixty years. And, therefore, they have less patience with leaders who are bereft of ideas. Lineage means nothing to them. They want to get on with the job.
Modi, like many other heros of Indian youth (we all who they are), has risen by dint of his sheer hard work and ingenuity. His success gives hope to those who are not born with silver spoons in their mouths.
No, it is not conservatism that attracts youth to Modi. It is his own success in an unjust system, perpetuated by political families, and the dream that he is presenting to the youth that connects Modi to Indians below the age of 35.