“Ed­u­ca­tion plays an im­por­tant role in pol­i­tics to­day”


India Today - - HOW I MADE IT - by De­vika Jeet

Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment from Bolan­gir, Orissa and Bolan­gir District Pres­i­dent, Biju Janta Dal

New vi­sion

At 13, I was go­ing through a vil­lage with my fa­ther, it was early in the morn­ing and our car broke down. We walk to the near­est vil­lage and see­ing us there, the en­tire vil­lage woke up. They gave us a lot of re­spect be­cause of my fa­ther and grand­fa­ther. We were taken to a small hut with an old cou­ple al­most starv­ing and on the verge of dy­ing. On see­ing this, my fa­ther took im­me­di­ate ac­tion. Soon help ar­rived and the cou­ple were taken to the hos­pi­tal and looked af­ter. This made me re­alise the im­pact can have on the pub­lic, the peo­ple, on a large num­ber of peo­ple. Also there was hope in the eyes of the peo­ple, when we were sit­ting there. There were ex­pec­ta­tions in the eyes of the peo­ple, it gave me a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity about work­ing for the fu­ture. That is what mo­ti­vated me to be­gin with. At 18, I de­cided that I will get into pol­i­tics. I don't know of any other pro­fes­sion in In­dia, which gives you the plat­form to be a change agent both at the mi­cro and macro level. I also knew that for the first ten years of my life I would not be in pol­i­tics. I would be do­ing my own thing ex­pe­ri­enc­ing life, worked as an in­vest­ment banker, worked as an en­ergy project de­vel­oper.

The way for­ward

Ed­u­ca­tion plays a huge role in pol­i­tics to­day. I think the level and qual­ity of pol­i­tics is de­ter­mined by the qual­ity of vot­ers. If the vot­ers elect good peo­ple, one will have good gov­er­nance and good polity. If vot­ers elect peo­ple for rea­sons other than merit and de­vel­op­ment, such as, caste, re­li­gion or fear or in­duce­ments, then you will get a qual­ity of peo­ple who tend to swerve to­wards ac­tiv­i­ties that are not merit based or de­vel­op­ment ori­ented. That is where ed­u­ca­tion comes in. The more ed­u­cated the voter hope­fully more awake he will be in mak­ing his choices.

Eco­nomic gang­ster

Cor­rup­tion is of two kinds; trans­ac­tion cor­rup­tion and a po­lit­i­cal or pol­icy level cor­rup­tion. Trans­ac­tional cor­rup­tion has been there from the days of the Mughal’s and the Bri­tish. The way to fight this is through tech­nol­ogy. Pol­icy level cor­rup­tion is how­ever more of a sys­temic over­haul. I think the idea of dis­cre­tion should be taken away from politi­cians. Move­ments, such as, the Anna Hazare move­ment, are a pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment. They show that the youth are get­ting in­volved and civil so­ci­ety can bring at­ten­tion to an is­sue, which is a di­rect con­cern to them with­out be­ing in a po­lit­i­cal sphere. I may or may not agree com­pletely with Anna Hazare’s Jan Lok­pal bill but he has cer­tainly put cor­rup­tion on the cen­tre stage of pol­i­tics as well as civil so­ci­ety in the years to come.

To­day’s strength

Stu­dents need to be more awake and ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tions. Even though they can pri­ori­tise their own lives in terms of jobs or im­me­di­ate sur­round­ings. A sense of aware­ness and in­volve­ment with the civil so­ci­ety should be there. The lo­cal body elec­tions now see the par­tic­i­pa­tion of young peo­ple. There has been a rev­e­la­tion of the youth in pol­i­tics at this level. It will take a while to pec­u­late to the MLA or MP level but this is a good be­gin­ning. The youth is more re­cep­tive to is­sues such as cli­mate change and HIV, es­pe­cially, the ur­ban youth. I think the cur­rent for­mat to spread aware­ness on these is­sues is through the ur­ban youth. To in­sti­tu­tion­alise both aware­ness at a stu­dent level and keep them ac­tively in­volved in pro­grammes that al­low them to par­tic­i­pate and spread the aware­ness them­selves.

March ahead

I think pol­i­tics is not a very or­gan­ised ca­reer so you can’t re­ally plan. There is no hi­er­ar­chi­cal sys­tem. My driv­ing force in pol­i­tics is de­vel­op­ment at a grass­root level and that is what keeps me go­ing. My heart is in the state.

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