We have heard a lot in the news about the youth brigade formed by Mr. Rahul Gandhi and how the present cabinet is a lot younger than the previous cabinet. We can certainly see a lot of young faces like Ms. Agatha Sangma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Naveen Jindal etc. Does this brigade represent infusion of new life into Indian politics? Or is it just a “more of the same”?
The first thing that hits us when we hear/see these names are their surnames – Gandhi, Sangma etc. All of them come from a known family i.e. they have a family legacy behind them. This new-found position is a mere extension of the bloodline, something like a new face over the old body. Living under the shadow of great parents/family is not easy and their family must have had an impact on their way of thinking and working, including their political thought.
I know you may say, “C’mon, you are being too harsh and cynical now, they are new and fresh faces. They have a lot of new ideas and they can effect change from such powerful positions.” I will not argue with you on this as they will certainly bring about a “change”. The question is “Is the change the needed change or the same “change” that we have witnessed for a long time now?”
Change – this word has gained immense prominence after Obama’s ascendency to the most powerful post in the world. The change which took place in the USA was in many forms – shift in ideology (Republican to Democratic), from partisan politics to “unification” politics, from older leaders to younger leaders, from family names to newcomers (First time in 28 years where neither the President nor the Vice-President has the name Bush or Clinton). It was a wholesome change and not just a “old-to-young” change. This real shift came when Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the primaries, the public rejecting “family name” for a new comer who promised real change. Hillary was a woman, but she carried the tag of a “former first lady” that did not appear to resonate that well with the voters (although I still dispute the result of the primaries). People had already seen Bill and Co. in action, and wanted to see someone different at the helm. Obama was their man.
As much as I criticized Obama the President, I have always acknowledged the fact that his rise has been remarkable - from such poor roots, unconventional childhood, he rose through sheer hardwork. He did not have his mom/dad to support him and teach him to dream big. He achieved what no one thought was possible for atleast another 100 years - a black President, well atleast half black :)
This is where “Pilot” or “Scindia” lag behind as such – they had a headstart. And in a country like India, it is tough for people without that “start” to make it as big as they did. The youth are mere reflections of the legacies of their parents. They have not experienced what we have experienced and what our parents went through. How many of them had to fight for entry into a good school, or fight for a good college education, or even for a job/living? Were they as confused as we were on what to do in life? How many of them have struggled to finance that book club they always wanted to start in school? I am sure that the answer is “NO” to almost all of these questions from their side. They had it all and will continue to have it all too.
I surely love to see young faces, but not those who carry their parents’ legacies. True, they may be more efficient than their illustrious parents or any other older politician in the cabinet. But will they understand the real India? Only time will tell…