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Youth-N-Democracy Campaign Is Going Places!

The YnD campaign has travelled places! Metaphorically and literally! This map of India highlights the places and colleges YnD campaign has reached so far -- from Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh to Assam, via Delhi and Haryana. The map envisions not just the physical journey of the campaign but also the wisdom it has collected from the enigmatic group of college goers. 


As a wintry India warms, have you ever mulled over what democracy means in everyday life? The retired, newspaper-glued bespectacled uncle/aunty of your neighbourhood might also wonder if the youth are even aware of what it truly means to be “democratic”. If you are a representative of the glorious youth of the country, you are going to encounter something that is quite powerful. If you are a retiree reading this, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise.

A bunch of young people from PRIA have set forth on a mission to actively engage and redefine notions of democracy among the youth of India through the Youth-n-Democracy (YnD) campaign. The campaign engages youth, in college and university campuses across India, in conversations on Democracy In Everyday Life (#DiEL).

The campaign has travelled places! Metaphorically and literally! This map of India highlights the places and colleges YnD campaign has reached so far -- from Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh to Assam, via Delhi and Haryana. The map envisions not just the physical journey of the campaign but also the wisdom it has collected from the enigmatic group of college goers. The youth of India is actively talking about ‘#DiEL in their own language and idioms.

What is Democracy in Everyday Life? The fundamental question the YnD campaign asks the young to really think about is: Does democracy play a role in our lives only once in five years as an electoral, symbolic ceremony or is it more penetrative, entering the realms of our family dynamics, relationships, friendships, education and play-time even? Think of democratic families where all genders are given equal importance, or democratic neighbourhoods which are tolerant of different castes and religions. Does the essence of democracy then lie in the values of freedom and selflessness?

What does freedom of expression mean in everyday democracy? The everyday culture of democracy is enhanced when citizens residing in a community have every right to think and act within legal frameworks. Greater the freedom of thought and action, greater would be a favourable environment for growth and harmony.

The over 1000 young students who have participated in YnD events in 2017, asked themselves and others such questions in order to realise the everyday commonplace nature of democracy. Do we as budding citizens ever say or act upon what we actually feel? Have we ever questioned our beliefs/opinions/perceptions? Are we, as youth, allowed to question? In an ideal democratic setting, yes! But there seems to be a growing push back against the very pillars of democratic life, such as freedom of thought, expression and action, the students opined.

The campus walls and corridors reverberated with the cries of its youth urging for resolution of burning issues ranging from gender and caste discrimination, status of education, career aspirations, employability, disability and health care to freedom of expression. The discussions and debates intensified with questions of the neglect of the North East in the universities there.

“Every big change starts at the individual level, and his/her beliefs and practices. So the change should begin today, and with us, and in this conference room!”

“Individual efforts cannot sustain in the long run. If we want to move together as a democratic nation, all societal institutions should come together in these efforts.”

“We can no longer keep delegating responsibilities and expecting others to deliver, it is time we take responsibility for the change we wish to see.”

- Quotes from students during YnD events


If we try to make everyone conform to one reality, the new generation may be deprived of the ability to argue differing views, political or social, which their elders took for granted. The YnD campaign is a wonderful platform to enable the new generation to learn this ability.

 

 --With inputs from Monica Kamath, a young volunteer from Bangalore,  who helped with writing this update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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