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Shujalpur: Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses an election rally for Lok Sabha polls, in Shajapur, Saturday, May 11, 2019. (PTI Photo) (PTI5_11_2019_000065B) Image Credit: PTI

What you need to know:

  • India needs to vote for a better, brighter tomorrow. 
  • Vote for the right candidate.

The elections in the world’s largest democracy, India, are in full swing. The effects of which were being echoed through a dinner with our neighbours over the weekend. As the adults sat on the table, the men mostly let their opinions know on the country’s political workings and their political wondering. While this took place, I found myself at the kids table, where a 15-year-old friend let his opinions made known to confused nine- and 10-year-olds, by saying: “Modi for life!”

This came as a surprise, not because of his choice, but because of his conviction. Because, here was the future stakeholder in the world’s largest democracy, and he had already decided his political candidate for the rest of his life. What was shocking was how easily it was made. It is shocking because this is how easily this decision was made. It was made without heed, without an open mind, without once just asking: What’s at stake? Democracy is a popularity contest, which used to be a closed-door secret but not anymore.

We are the largest democracy, at least we should uphold the basic ideals of a democracy. It is great that children this young are aware of politics, it is imperative that they be aware as future voters, decisions made today affect them as much as anyone else. But it is also important that we as responsible adults share our ideologies, as well as are the basis for those ideas. It is important that we instill in children the importance of asking ‘why?’, especially in politics. It is essential that we teach children from a young age to be open-minded, to be constructive, and to know all sides of an issue before choosing a side. It is important that we help them understand that we all, in the end are rooting for the same goals. For a healthy democracy, we need healthy conversations and for that to happen we need minds that are ready to listen, to understand not just ready to choose.

- The reader is an analyst based in Dubai.