THE RELEVANCE OF A POLITICALLY CONSCIOUS SOCIETY
Updated: Oct 4
Author: Ojaswani Dixit, I Year of B.A.,LL.B from Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad.
Political consciousness can be defined as a way an individual acts, responses and contributes in his society. Such actions of an individual are said to be guided by a commitment towards justice, human rights along with identifying and understanding the prevalent inequity in power in political, economic and social systems. The term Politics is derived from the “Polis” a Greek word which means city-state, that is, politics deals with the life within a community. Therefore, political consciousness inculcates a person's sense of duty towards their community and contributing for its common good. Furthermore, it is about standing up against injustice and also all such systems and structure within the society by promoting togetherness and harmony. According to Paulo Freire a Brazilian educator, political consciousness is said to work as a tool as well as an objective. From the perspective of a tool, political consciousness urges the society to critically analyze the distribution of power dynamics on different levels and as for as an objective, it works as building block to create an informed and sustained participation of citizen to hold accountable powerful interests. A politically conscious society is the one, which is free of self-doubt which is often observed to be planted through social evils like discrimination, corruption. Such a society is able to recognize the power held by each of its citizens.
Politics is a social construct which influences the life of every individual not pertaining to their likeness. The elected representatives have the power to mold the society as well as the future of a community. The political spectrum has its influences in various fields such as prices, laws, to name a few hence, it becomes the duty of every individual to be aware of the happenings of the political sector and acting upon it in a democratic manner. “Politically conscious” can also be interpreted as being aware of the actual political role played by each individual within a society, that is, a person becomes conscious of his contributions and duties. Politics constitutes the most minute things which are a part of society. Every little thing which may seem insignificant is a part of politics such as the clothes worn by a person, the price of daily necessities, etc.
The question which arises is concerned with the need for a society to be politically conscious especially in a democratic country. One of the most common and biggest problems faced by a society is being ignorant towards the need to be politically conscious which results in it being played by the hands of the people who abuse their power vested in them by the society itself. With the passage of time, it can be observed that the leaders of a government impact the lives of people more profoundly. How the taxes will be paid, finances will be handled and how the infrastructure will be depends on who the society elects as its representative hence, since a government holds the power to change the face of economic conditions of a country and dictate its lifestyle it becomes a necessity to be aware even when it may seem trivial.
The perception of Politics in general has reached an all-time low especially amongst the youth. On social media platforms anyone supporting the left is termed to be a communist, on the contrary, a supporter of the right is termed as a Nazi or a Fascist.
The shrinking space for such discussion is due to the incorrect interpretations and lack of comprehension regarding political ideologies. This space for such discussion is of utmost importance in a country like India, where such ideologies form the backbone of the democratic system. Nowadays we see that the youth is more aware of content which is celebrity driven rather than politics which is often sidelined as boring. The problem does not lie with the youth but the way news on social media, and all other digital media is highlighted around celebrities and marketed aggressively. One of the main reasons the majority of the society, especially the youth tend to turn away from politics is due to the highlighted political discourse in India, and how politics is meant for the politicians and their likeness and not the common man. It is important to comprehend that to make democracy successful and vibrant, its society should not only be politically educated but also should engage in its political affairs. Nowadays, the need for “benevolent dictatorship” is in trend and clearly highlights the lack of political consciousness. The trend of the need of a dictatorial system to bring about development is the result of inadequate political understanding. Such trends make the need for political consciousness in a society to become more relevant. There are many ways how a society can become politically conscious; the most fundamental way being through education. Including political education in the education system, will help in piquing the interest of the youth in politics which will gradually lead to them being politically aware. Another way is to change the focus of the college education system where students are limited to being mere workmen which produce a market instead of working towards societal development.
In conclusion it can be stated that in a democratic country like India, the society should be politically conscious and responsive. Being politically aware results in more knowledge and better decisions for the benefit of the community.