Don’t alien older persons in democracy

Democracy is not only about periodic process in democratic elections and political rights but also to empower the underpowered older persons to participate in nations affairs, express their opinion and thus be counted in political process.

On the eve of 15th parliamentary elections in democratic India advertisements are appearing with titles like “Why is the youngest parliament?” and “the great Indian Neta. Allowed to tire best but not retire.”

The advertisers of such advertisements with disproportionate bias in favour of young voters particularly 4.3 crore first time voters are perhaps trying the easiest way to become somebody by saying something very provocative, very loudly and very often. Such advertisements dampen democracy.

These advertisements are glaring examples of age-discrimination and the practical manifestation of ageism creating a tendency in modern society to see people above 60 as “old” with little or no contribution to society ignoring the fact that older people are just as diverse in character, skills and talent as the rest of the population. In addition they can bring the undoubted benefits of their years of experience to the needs of society.

The level of interest of youth in politics does not differ from the rest of population. When it comes to polling the percentage of youth, that vote is less than the average turnout. Age makes much-less difference to voting choice than class, caste, locality or gender. They support democracy, have a moderate interest in politics and hold opinions on issues of current times that are no different from the older generation. This makes India very different from Europe, where age divisions have been the driver of many new political trends like Green Parties, says Yogendra Yadav in The Hindu, April 6, 2009.

The idea of India with its old traditional values and young energy is never a dull thought.

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