Renaissance of politics in our youth

Richard Pamei
Is politics important?
- Well, it is not, if we want to see a society decay or if we want to see a society led by a kleptocratic leader. Perhaps one might wonder why I started off with a negative tone in the article. If I may quote Plato from his work “The Republic’’, “one of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” which I think, when we are unaware of the politics or the essence of it, we do equal harm as that of refusing to participate.
Perhaps, we want to look at the contemporary context. Why must we involve or take politics more thoughtfully for the lack of better words ? Well, the answer reverberates in the sky rocketing price of cooking oil, to onions we find in the market; from fares of auto to the fuel of the buses that take us to offices, schools, colleges, and many other institutions that allow the State machinery to function.
The impact of the essence of politics in our daily lives is flattened when the public is not aware of the weightage of his or her own vote. Well, of course, the English word ‘Politics’ is rooted in the Greek word politiká or ‘the affairs of the cities’. Certainly, it is not possible for a common man to be deeply ingrained in the matters whose portfolios are constitutionally designed and assigned to the politicians. However, what a common man has got is the ability to democratically choose the candidate, who can, for instance, bring forth creative ideas to provide employment, or have workable plans to uplift the standard of living whilst bringing down the cost of living or perhaps a candidate who can represent at the union level to empower the exuberant youth to greater heights, just to mention a few.
Why do we see changes that we are told to see and not go beyond it ? There are taboos of sorts in our society today. When we talk of politics, the thought becomes heavier, more murky, boring or a discussion one thinks is a pointless inoperative scrap except for the sons or nephews of the political leaders. Perhaps under the notion that deep-pockets will eventually pick pockets and one can do nothing about it. Furthermore, I would like to borrow a western expression or a phrase that Dr Shashi Tharoor once used it in the Oxford Union debate that went viral in the year 2015, wherein he referred to his Opposition as “all hat and no cattle”. There are truths to it, no doubt, in fact, Ronald Reagan the 40th United States President in his congressional speech once shared terrifying 9 words, though humorously, “I am from the Government and I am here to help”.
Perhaps the time is right to end many of the taboos around here if not there. Bringing the present context alive, let’s be open about it. The villages and the leikais speak of the backtrack of the society due to the ongoing conflict, some estimating 10 years of recovery time, some 20, some even 30 years as one might have heard or even talked about. I would like to bring forth what John Locke firmly believed that wherever law ends, tyranny begins. Having said that, the reverse is also a point I would like the readers to note, if not taken, that wherever tyranny ends, law begins. We must prepare for it. We must simplify the significance of politics for all ages eight to eighty to comprehend and emulate in day to day lives.
We have for so long hidden the essence of politics or the crux of politics from the public domain by our inability to simplify it for the majority, if not all, to understand the basics of the politics. From the school syllabus to the collegial lectures, we need to engrave the liveliness and simplicity of the essence of politics.
We elect the representative and the representative listens to the voice of the people in an ideal democracy.
For the sake of an argument, let’s take Education for instance. The Department of Education or Ministry of Education headed by the Minister of Education makes the decision of the standards, curricula and even fundings. It is a known fact that we have not seen enough of the history and culture of North East or Manipur in particular in the NCERT textbooks, it is up to us now to elect the representative that will get that job done or voice it in the Parliament to bring forth the changes. The Power to change or pressure absolutely resides in us. The point I am trying to make here is that many times, folks jump right into the bandwagon that lulls us with the carrot in the stick.
I am confident that by virtue of enriching the common man with the simplified meanings of the essence of politics in daily lives, we, particularly Manipuris will have a ripple effect to propel a better economic policy, a rigid health care policy, a strong science and technology policy, superior sports policy, a top notch education policies given that we have early sunrise comparatively to the western, northern and central part of the country for education. For such a small State, we have world class athletes with the likes of Mirabai Chanu leading forefront in the face of the world in the upcoming 2026 Paris Olympic games, we have the likes of our young Licypriya Kangujam, a global climate activist who is a global Icon today. We have Bala Devi, woman international professional foot- baller alongside Grace Dangmei and Panthoi Chanu who professionally represents internationally. We have four scientists who were directly involved in Chandrayaan-3 successful launch recently- Raghu Ningthoujam, James Lei-chombam and his wife Praneshwari and Noel Chawang, all of these, which are few names I recall for now, yet the point is that it points to a potential powerhouse of this sub continent.
It is my firm belief that understanding the essence of politics by a common man is the key and is exactly opposite of alcoho- lism. To put it simply, in alcoholism, the good effect comes first and bad effect comes later, while on the other hand, interestingly, if I may put it the reverse of alcoholism, that the bad effects, in this case, which may mean sacrificing the conventional way of jumping into the bandwagon during election, for an explanation sake, might have a slight societal repercussions however, based on the understanding if one democratically exercise the franchise, one will enjoy the good effect of good governance. Your sons and daughters will have better educational policies perhaps, or many more scien- tists and entrepreneurs will rise out of competitive and good Government policies. The world can change at the drop of an ink. We control who may or may not use the pen that drops the ink.
Holistically, education is the key to an informed citizenship. We need a simplified and understandable politics for farmers, fishermen and common man with trades so that they can discuss the simplest of politics to the kith and kins and even inspire them. We need to give rise to the generation of informed citizens, we need the Education Department and the Fourth Pillar, that is the Media, to take more practical and empirical ownership to pool the resources, the finest of minds into the science of politics. We need aspirants of Legislatures just as the aspirants of doctors and engineers or an IAS. A retired doctor or a bureaucrat  or a contractor does fine politics, we have witnessed it and we are where we are with all the technologies and global limelight on many occasions because of them. Imagine if thousands of youths aspire to be a politicians who have acade- mically, socially, emotionally, ethically rooted in bringing about the true meaning of Politics; A renaissance of true politics in our State. Such politics will be the key to release the policies to social advancement, gluing diverse prevailing communal cla-shes which will eventually act as a fabric to the mosaic of cultures and traditions for the modern world to take a look at, if not learn from.
From the simplest of the price of Umorok to the fare of Air India, one must feel the presence of politics to inspire, not just to aspire and grow into holders of the ink that drops to uplift the lives of people who depend on the price of chili and potatoes.For, when the common man and youth realize that politics is easier to understand by referencing it to simple daily activities, we will see the standard of living rise, that’s when we will know great minds are behind making challenging policies.
For it is indeed the right time, public participate into the government initiatives, and Government to support the public interest by which we will all share in the values of what Abharham lincoln said, ‘a Government of the people, by the people, for the people”
The writer is a student of Political Science and International Relations from University of Delhi, and an alumni of St. Joseph’s School, Sangaiprou, Imphal