"Narain Karthikeyan has become the first Indian to compete in Formula One. Sania Mirza has become the first Indian woman to reach the third round of an international Grand Slam. All very thrilling. But hang on, folks. Before we get carried away overhow youth is shattering the old world, a word about how the old world is still demolishing the young."
In a hard hitting piece in the Indian Express dt Feb 7 Sagarika Ghose asks: Why haven't all those young politicians we elected last year (dubbed by the media as GenNext MPs) made an impact?
Alas, she says: "None of those young MPs have either distinguished themselves as charismatic or powerful leaders of people or as heartful orators. They have not been able to announce original ideas. Nor have they been able (or allowed) to significantly challenge geriatric party leaderships by sheer force of personalityand achievement.
They haven't been allowed to succeed precisely by the same politics to which they owe their existence: namely the politics of family. Family has brought them political success, but paradoxically family has trapped them in political stagnation."
Ironically the "Minister for Youth Affairs and Sport" is the 75 year old Sunil Dutt who is neither youthful or sporty!
The average age of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet is definitely 70 plus. The opposition BJP is also populated with oldies. A B Vajpayee could have gracefully retired after the election. But no, the old guard continues and by the time they actually 'let go' the young fellows (like Arun Jaitley) will have white hair themselves.
Some things, evidently, won't change that easily. Maybe, just maybe, when Mme Priyanka Gandhi becomes PM. Don't snigger - it's going to happen sooner or later. So one may as well focus on the possible silver lining.
Given facts if political life such as corruption will remain - whether the young or old are in power - I for one would still plump for youth. Because young politicans - thanks in part to their fancy overseas education - have a greater stake in seeing the country progress than politicians well past the prime of their lives.
Give them a chance to take risks and turn some of their 'foolish dreams' into reality. Before the little idealism they possess gives way to cold, hard cynicism...