by Swatee Jog
It is a common concern expressed across the nation that today’s youth is a spent force. People rue the fact that in spite of having a vibrant youth power, we cannot leverage the same for nation building. The world over, it is the youth who have brought about any change. History testifies that many a revolution would have been a damp squib had it not been for the power lent by the youth of the nation. The past week has shown the world that India’s youth is a power to reckon with when it comes to issues close to their heart and those that affect their lives. The overwhelming response by Belgaum youth to Anna Hazare’s campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill for the last few days has definitely made every citizen proud. When students barged into institutes shouting slogans and force shutting classes, it created a sore impression of the same old students’ tactics of avoiding classes. However, these very students, joining in from the streets like water from tributaries and forming one huge surge of strength on the main roads.
RPD Cross, Bogarves, Channamma Circle, Hutatma Chowk, there were people everywhere. Social networking sites were abuzz with the happenings on in the city and as rightly pointed out by Mr. Sameer Majli – “The logic of crowd magic often defies convention. Sometimes numbers need to be seen rather than just be there. It’s (an)exaggeration on some fronts but revolution demands a bit of overdoing things in order to attract sufficient focus. Not trying to justify the means but I guess, like I said, protests should also look like protests. Apparently they have had enough effect to make the Govt. think (of a ) plan and I guess that’s a beginning in itself…Work hard and none will notice, scream hard and you are ….Guess this is what is the way of the day for the present….”
For someone like us who have never witnessed the Pre-independence fervor, it was revisiting those golden days of nationalism, when the whole country had stood for a common cause. It is only in India that such peaceful protests are possible in spite of such massive numbers on the roads. Although many students were blissfully unaware of the difference between the Lokpal and the Jan Lokpal bill, although they thought Anna Hazare was fighting to end corruption, and although a lot of productive time was lost, it still made sense. For it showed how our future generations want clean and effective governance. It showed that they wanted positive change. And it also reaffirmed their faith in the power of peaceful persuasion, years after it was expounded by the Father of the Nation!
It is ray of hope that the youth understand the importance of and the nuisance caused by corruption since they face it at every corner in their lives. Driving license, Ration Card, Admissions, Loan Sanction, PDS, Traffic Police, you name it and it’s there. Watching students from close quarters, it made us think is this generation thinking that a bribe is a cure-all? But, no. If anyone has seen Belgaum erupt last week, the youth along with housewives, professionals, students, even the retired gentry joining in, it was amazing. All the nervous energy has been channelized into something that will have long standing repercussions in the nation’s history. And all this without troubling anybody, in a disciplined manner, with a glint of hope in their eyes. It made it amply clear that all the youth require is a guiding force and they will leave no stone unturned to support for a cause.
Only supporting a watchdog bill is not enough, not being part of the whole rot of giving and taking bribes, publicly reporting any instances and above all, knowing that corruption has never taken a nation forward, is the key to uphold this campaign. Watching a frail Anna Hazare speak with enthusiasm moistens our eyes but invigorates each Indian. The spirit of Anna Hazare’s campaign must live on to steer India as the No. 1 Superpower. That, and not just a bill, should be our ultimate motto.
All Photos courtesy Team Anna (Belgaum) a group of youth who started this Facebook page to get the youth of Belgaum together.