Walking through the corridors of power

Walking through the corridors of power

Change agents

Walking through the corridors of power

Aparajita Bharti, 23, holds Indian Parliament in high esteem. No wonder then that she aspires to be its member someday, but not by becoming just “another” MP, instead she aims to get into the union cabinet.

“I want to hold such an office where I can bring a difference to the country’s state of affairs,” said Delhi-based Aparajita, who is currently studying for a master’s programme in public policy at Blavatnik School of Government at University of Oxford, UK.

In a little bashfulness, yet assertively, she admits to harbouring a dream of becoming the Prime Minister of India. After having worked as an assistant to N K Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP for one year, she wants to relive that experience by joining another MP once her studies get over. 

“After I return to India, I will join a political party or an MP soon after 2014 elections,” she said.   

However, she is not alone in her journey to the corridors of power. There is a growing crop of 20-somethings who have shunned promising careers to shape better future for this country. Rohit Kumar, 29, who completed MTech (mechanical engineering) from IIT Bombay quit his high-flying job in 2009 at Boston Consulting Group that paid him around Rs 20 lakh per annum in his quest to make foray into Indian politics.

“First, I worked with PRS Legislative Research at a very steep salary cut, but now I am glad to be heading Jay Panda’s (a Lok Sabha MP) policy and research team.

Though I studied engineering, and now I am working in the area of politics, however, my engineering education came handy as it taught me to think logically,” said Rohit.
Similarly, 31-year-old Nishant Baranwal, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, who worked as a finance professional at Goldman Sachs for five years in New York and Mumbai quit his job in investment banking to join Naveen Jindal, a Congress MP from Kurukshetra where his small decisions help “change millions of lives”.

However, there are some who want to remain behind-the-scenes in Indian politics instead of becoming the decision-maker themselves such as 28-year-old Hem Borker who worked in the Lok Sabha secretariat as research scholar for one year before joining Oxford University to pursue DPhil in area of inclusive education. “My research focuses on Muslim girls’ everyday engagement with madrasa education,” said Borker.

 One may wonder that if these youngsters want to make it big in Indian politics, then what compels them to study at overseas universities? To this, Aparajita said, “No country can afford to stay in isolation. At Oxford, one doesn’t experience only British culture. It is a multi-national and multi-cultural institution. In my class of 38 students, there are students from 17 different countries including those from Nigeria, South Africa, China and Kenya. Moreover, it’s quite interesting to study the development models of different countries and evaluate their application in Indian context.”

On her experience at Oxford, Hem Borker said, “This university encourages me to explore, think, question; where understanding is not equated with the number of people you have read.”

Getting into the corridors of power may not be an easy feat to achieve but these youngsters stare destiny straight in the eye. “A research by Patrick French proves that all politicians under the age of 30 who entered Parliament (in the current houses of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) belong to political families and more than the two-thirds of those under the age of 40 have political clout in their families,” said Rohit.

So, are we ready to witness a change in the face of Parliament post 2014? Well, it appears a little too early to say.

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