Mothers want their sons to grow up to be Presidents, but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process.
These words from former US President John F. Kennedy still holds true in most parts of the world where democracy exists and thrives. One of the most important professions in current times – and even in times gone by, politics and politicians are, nonetheless, seen through the prism of suspicion all over. That, perhaps, is what may have led BJP’s Madhav Prabodhani to establish Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership – an institution which promises to train people to become politicians in about nine months.
Through what may be a one-of-a-kind institution in the country, Prabodhani seeks to take ordinary citizens and train them to become politicians. Oratory skills? Check. Argumentative abilities? Check. Model parliament, how to support or protest in Lok Sabha, and getting controversial bills passed? Check, check and check. Did you know? A Ram Mandir bill was introduced during one such mock session and was even passed.
The training at IIDL brings together classroom sessions as well as field studies for people from various backgrounds – engineers, business executives etc. In the recent Gujarat state assembly elections and Mira Bhayander Corporate Elections, several students interacted with leaders from various parties to get a first-hand experience of what Indian politics is all about.
Several political leaders – mostly from BJP – have praised the initiative and believe that more institutes like IIDL will help the country’s youth take to politics as a career path instead of shunning it altogether. They say it may be the first step in a long and ardent journey towards Parliament but students are being encouraged to not just be good citizens but citizens who think and care about the country.
Congress leaders though say that it is merely a gimmick and claim that because jobs cannot be provided to the youth, such programs and institutes are being established.
Either way, politicians and people at large agree that it is a novel concept – one that may have no precedent at all.