Well on the track of democracy

Why should youngsters just be content with the voting process rather than be active participants in all the twists and turns of the political story? Why not make the political world a space of experiential learning for the young people and prepare them to take action in the electoral arena?

Certainly, when all hopes and expectations are pinned on the youngsters these questions need to be answered. It is with this intent that several youth organisations came up with the idea of roping in youngsters and involve them as key
players in the process  of democracy and encouraging them to craft their
own ‘Manifesto’.

Since last year Commutiny – The Youth Collective has been working on ‘My Space-My Unmanifesto’, through which lakhs of young people have opened up about issues that need to be addressed by the Government. The campaign is popular on internet but to engage more people from different walks of life, age groups, the volunteers of the Unmanifesto programme recently organised ‘Music for Harmony’, a day-long event at Dilli Haat. From debates on democracy to gigs, street theatre and flash mob, the event was replete with activities by the youngsters and for the youngsters.

The team conducted an array of exciting activities engaging the young crowd present at the venue. Starting with a debate, an interesting suggestion was placed before the audience--‘Young people do not have the experience to govern, so they will mess things up’ which led to an interesting and participatory discussion with the audience on the role of youth in democracy and governance. While some among the
gathering were of the opinion that young people should be trained and given a place, others felt that youngsters were ill-equipped to handle responsibility.

Making the programme more interesting was ‘Tweetathon’, an online event where the audience had to immediately post their demands on the social networking sites. Many had placed ‘women’s security’ right on top, followed by ‘make voting mandatory for all’.

 Thereafter, students of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) staged a nukkad natak on the social awakening of the general public. The play was a satire on those who take democracy lightly.  Also, there were gigs by bands like Manzil, Stereonoid. Since engaging general public in such participatory events is not an easy task, these bands played their role commendably.

 Jaya Sudha, a young participant says, “I think the coming year is going to see tremendous youth participation on many issues. Such activities are important to encourage and enthuse young people to be active in the political process. I don’t mean they have to become politicians but they do have to be active and aware citizens.”

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