The agony of the hereditary turks
9 Aug 2010, 0713 hrs IST,C L Manoj,ET Bureau

As if Omar Abdullah’s contribution alone were not enough, now we have
the collective ‘GenNext intervention’ from Delhi on J&K! Right when
the country’s youngest chief minister has squandered away, in a matter
of a year, the hope and optimism the last two successful Assembly
elections and the subsequent political process had generated in J&K,
around 40 young members of Parliament, cutting across party lines,
issued a joint appeal, urging the agitating Kashmiri youth to join the
negotiation table. On the face of it, their resolve indeed is
praiseworthy. But the problem lies in an uncomfortable question; about
the political and social credentials of these MPs, barring a few
exceptions, to be the true representatives of the youth of democratic
India and their credibility to command the respect and trust of the
country’s aspiring and struggling youngsters, from Kanyakumari to

Before going to the fault-lines in these young MPs’ political makeup,
one should look at the backdrop and timing of their ‘peace move’. It
took almost two months of agitation and nearly 50 deaths on the
streets of Kashmir for Omar to realise the basics of politics and
governance; that in a democratic system, the true leaders have to
remain constantly in touch with, and reach out to, the people and not
remain like a king in an ivory tower especially when outbursts of
popular discontent are on display.

It was only after the cultivated ‘bright kid’ image of Omar was razed
down, ironically , by the very (stone-throwing) youth of his home
state through 24×7 reality TV shows, that he thought it fit to visit a
hospital to see the injured. It was exactly on ‘Omar’s day out’ that
his young friends in Parliament chose to launch their own ‘peace
mission’. It is a different matter it took some experienced political
brains in Delhi and the octogenarian Syed Ali Shah Gilani in Srinagar
to provide the battered young CM a temporary relief.

In short, in their two-month silent watching of Kashmir crisis and
their final decision to venture out, Omar and his young friends put up
a perfect display of synchronised reflexes. Did these young MPs snap
out of their collective slumber to see their own potential future in
Omar’s total disconnect with the youth of his state?

The plot only thickens when you consider that these so-called young
turks had neither been shaken nor stirred by a series of recent events
that had special significance for India’s youth. Many young couples
are being hounded or hacked to death in the name of ‘honour killings’
or ‘upholding the caste pride’ by hoodlums. But none of us had the
privilege of seeing these young MPs, supposedly champions of India’s
youth, issue an appeal for reason or launch a movement against caste
authority. Instead, one of them vowed to take ‘the khap panchayat
cause’ to the PMO!

We recently saw a young Dalit girl being made to wash toilet at the
school where she studied, leading to her suicide, and how a social
boycott forced the Uttar Pradesh government to abandon its plans to
employ Dalit cooks in schools. But none of this pricked the conscience
of these ‘young and progressive’ MPs.

The nation is also witnessing an animated debate on how to tackle the
Maoist problem, especially when many young men and women of the
neglected social sections are joining the radicals’ bloody war against
the state. Have you heard our Gen-Next MPs air their views on the
matter? They also suffer no bout of collective anger when the
Commonwealth Games, meant to boost the spirit of Indian’s sporting
youth, has turned out to be a mega show of corruption and

But, then, it is no accident that these young MPs who display their
collective agony over their friend Omar falling flat on his GenNext
nose, remain indifferent to the real issues and causes of the Indian
youth. Because, they, like Omar, owe nothing to India’s youth, or
their aspirations for becoming what they are; MPs, ministers, chief
minister and tomorrow’s rulers. They have made it big not because they
have risen from a genuine youth movement or political process or by
charming the voters with some exceptional talent.

They owe their rise to just two factors: the powerful political
families to which they belong to, and the way they systematically and
collectively degenerated our democratic system into hereditary rules
that ambush the genuine youth activists, snuff out their political
careers and leave voters with no genuine choices.

And the fact that most of the national and regional parties, including
those that harp against the ‘dynastic Congress’, have started
accepting family raj and started churning out their own Hereditary
Turks is posing amajor threat to the democratic process.

As Srinagar revealed the disconnect between Omar and the youth on the
street, no wonder his true cohorts in Parliament too felt the heat.


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