India is a country of many interesting titles, but one of the aspects it boasts the most is that it is a country of the youth, as 65% of it’s population is below the age of 35. Yet, it has been noticed that the voice of the youth is the most suppressed. Often hearing things such as, "You are not old enough to know better," or " You are just saying that because you are going through a rebellious phase," is something that has become the norm, as though the opinions of the younger generation are a topic of mockery.
Although this might not seem a major problem, it has snowballed into a sense of dissociation for the youth from their homeland, as they live in a country where their voice has no meaning.
There have been numerous instances where the youth have attempted to get involved in the political situation and have faced terrible backlash, ranging from being arrested for peaceful protesting to a state-wide internet shut down to prevent mobilization of masses through social media. With a prime minister who is willing to go to all lengths to control the freedom of speech of 1.3 billion people, the risk of being a vocal activist is comparable to that of being a soldier at the frontlines, except the enemies at times are the people you share a home with. The most recent and harrowing example of indirect censorship was with the case of Disha Ravi, a 22-year-old climate and animal rights activist associated with Greta Thunberg, who was charged with sedition after sharing a protest manual with farmers who were demonstrating a peaceful protest in response to three farmer’s acts passed that are rumored to be hurtful to the agricultural community, the backbone of Indian economy.
The mental strain of having strong political opinions that are vital to be voiced in a country that is in dire need of a change of leadership, yet being treated as though they are mere thumb-sucking infants is getting to the youth of India and is radically changing the emotions they hold towards their homeland as it instills a sense of hopelessness towards its future. How can one feel a sense of safety and pride for the "democratic" nation in an environment where opposing the ruling party can get you behind bars? How can a nation where political and religious strife divide generations find a peaceful future? Not only does this impress a feeling of inferiority in the youth but also leads to their isolation from active involvement when it finally comes to the point where political decisions are to be finally made on their behalf.
The unjust implication that the opinions of the youth have no consequence or value in their nation puts India on a tipping point where either the frustration of the affected leads to a radical change or the fear-mongering wins over rationality and leads to further bloodshed. As a proud 19-year old Indian, all I hope is for the odds to ever be in our favor.