Republic Day 2022: Youth say democracy under attack amidst low representation of youth in Parliament

Students say youth playing the role of opposition

Society

January 26, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

Republic Day 2022: Youth say democracy under attack amidst low representation of youth in Parliament

Indian Air Force contingent performing march past at Rajpath, Delhi on Republic Day 2022 (Photo: PIB)

As India marks the 73rd Republic Day, it is a day of celebration for the entire country. However, a significant chunk of the population feels increasingly left out of the democratic processes that the R-Day is meant to highlight.

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As India celebrates its 73rd Republic Day with usual gaiety and festivities, some feel that the day has been reduced to pure symbolism and that the principles behind the celebrations of this momentous occasion have been lost along the journey since 1950. It was on this day that the country’s Constitution came into effect, after having been adopted on November 26, 1949. In many ways, it is the most important day for the country’s democracy and electoral politics.

But yet, for many, if not most Indians, the Republic Day has been reduced to simply a national holiday, a day to have fun and frolic and the reasons behind the celebration and the importance of the day for the country and its governance seems to have been lost.

However, for some, especially the youth, the Republic Day has also become a day to voice their concern over the direction that Indian politics has taken of late and the constant attacks and weakening of the Constitution that has been undertaken lately.

Madhurima Kundu, a doctoral student of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Secretary of All India Students Association (AISA) feels that there is an attack on the very essence of democracy, the Constitution. “Republic Day marks the adopting of the Constitution by the country. However, right now the Indian government is attacking the Constitution and diluting its core values namely secularism, equality and justice. It’s very important that we as youth reassert the core values. We also need to give a clear message to the government that no attack on the Constitution will be taken on its face without any resistance,” Kundu tells Media India Group.

Kundu dismisses the notion that the youth today is not aware or does not raise its voice against the wrongs of the politics and the society. “The youth especially the ones who are studying in universities and colleges are aware of their rights and that is the reason why in the recent years there have been huge movements and protests coming from the youth. Be it an attack on the right to education, privatisation of education or on turning Muslims into second class citizens by NRC, CAA, etc. It has been the Indian universities that have been the hotbed for protests in the past years against the government and against the attack on the constitution. So, Indian youth is very much aware of their rights,” she says.

“Youth has a role to play in upholding the democracy and it has been playing that to preserve the value of the Indian democracy it’s the youth which has been playing the role of the opposition. The Indian Parliament is filled by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) people and anything is being passed in the Parliament. All bills are being passed without any resistance because the government is not enabling any form of discussion. So, the Parliament has become a mockery of the democracy and it is the street where the youth is playing a leading role,” Kundu adds.

Kundu is not alone in her views. Adwit Panigrahi, a student studying in class 12 and resident of East Delhi also feels the same. “Republic Day is celebrated to commemorate the day when the Indian Constitution came into effect in 1950. As far as I think, the young generation is quite aware of their rights. Most commonly the youth are very concerned about their right to information. They feel that they must be aware of everything and generally, people are quite self-aware about their rights,” Panigrahi tells Media India Group.

“Youth has a very important role in democracy. However, youth have no representation in the democracy. The Parliament is being run by comparatively older people who don’t have much contact with the youth and are not aware of our problems or needs. Most of the powerful positions are held by the aged people. If youth is given proper representation in democracy, then they will provide better and modern ideas related to the current needs. If the youth is more involved in democracy, then certain changes might occur. For example, gender is an important issue among the youth. We often read in the headlines that in foreign countries there are mass protests and discussions about gender issues. The abolishing of Article 377 is another great example, had the youth been more active in democracy then the legalisation of gay sex would have taken place much earlier,” feels Panigrahi.

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