Mrs. Priyanka Vadra said that her cousin Mr. Varun Gandhi had gone astray. Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, Varun’s mother, retorted that the nation will soon reveal who has gone astray, indicating thereby that Mr. Rahul Gandhi and his sister had gone astray. The nation knows that both Rahul and Varun have gone astray. In fact the nation knows that not only these two cousins but the entire class of the young political generation including Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, Mr. Anuragh Thakur, Mr. Sachin Pilot, Mrs. Supriya Sule, Mr. Jay Panda – indeed all young leaders cutting across party lines are on the wrong path. They are all prisoners of a past created by their elders. They face a new century, a new world and new opportunities to make India a great nation. To accomplish that they must without disrespect to their elders abandon their path, their culture and their policies. The opponent is not this party or that party. The opponent is the previous generation. To defeat it and to scrap its legacy, this is what they must do.
For a start they must break down the artificial barriers created between different parties following the same approach and same decadent political culture. Cutting across parties, young leaders must confer among themselves uninhibited by past prejudice. They must organize a private summit of young leaders with doors open to members of all parties and of all persuasion. They must invite even young activists outside electoral politics. They must invite even members of the Aam Admi Party. Someone or some group must take the lead to accomplish this.
Once the Youth Summit is held its task should be clear. The Summit must after discussion identify the main impediments to a great and modern Indian nation and then formulate a concrete feasible policy agenda to introduce necessary reforms. To achieve this through a consensus will be a difficult task but given the will quite achievable. It is not necessary to outline here all the defects of our present society that must be addressed. National security, foreign policy, economic disparity, social justice, democratic federal rule, rational affirmative action, constitutional reform – all aspects can be covered through formulation of practical policies. At the appropriate time such a policy agenda can easily be formulated. Once a policy agenda is agreed upon, attention will have to be directed to creating an organizational structure, first of a movement to propagate the agenda across the nation, and then of a political party to contest elections and administer the nation as a national consensus government representing Young India. The new party must have a democratic constitution demanding strict adherence to procedure.
Lest young leaders consider this proposal wild and impetuous, let them reflect. For how long has India’s performance, matched against its potential, continued to decline? How serious must the crisis of governance, corruption, national security, terrorism, law and order and foreign policy failure become before serious danger is recognized? I would like to draw the attention of young leaders to something I had written earlier:
“Political setbacks on all fronts…have brought down public spirit in India to an all time low. That is normal. There have started in private conversations among public men doubts about our institutions, our objectives, our values. That is healthy. But all speculation about the future is inevitably climaxed in a mood of total futility. That is sickness… When demoralization so acute and widespread sets in among the people it is safe to assume that there is something wrong with the nation… A huge heavily populated, strategically located nation like India can only move towards the assumption of world power or towards disintegration. There is no third choice. If India seeks survival it must dream, plan and act to become a great Asian nation and ultimately a world power. It is true…we thought big. But we thought wrong. We lived in an artificial world of our own creation. We mistook pomp for power and symbols for substance… History tells us that when men with small vision are left to command the destinies of a great nation, their vision must grow or their domains will diminish. India is a giant, but today it lying on its back.”
The Indian giant continues to lie on its back. Conditions are much worse today than when this was written. Since this was written there has been continued decline of system and governance. This was published in The Indian Express half a century ago on February 21, 1965. It has been a long wait for change. But I believe now the time has come. It is not due to the emergence of new leadership. There are no innovative leaders on the horizon. Change will come because of the new environment and new technology. If there were innovative leaders in India they were never heeded by those who matter. They must have languished in obscurity. Now events are leading the nation. Youth can respond to events. The opportunity to transform the nation by changing its fate has arrived. Will youth seize the opportunity?