Politics. Is that for the outsiders?
Who is an outsider with respect to shaping public policy? Is everyone who is not aware of how public policy is shaped, an outsider? Is politics only for a wealthy minority who have the power and deep pockets to work on propaganda that brain-washes the majority? Is democracy a situation where a small minority that understands how “power” works, rules over a majority which is simply disinterested in these things? Is this a reality that bolsters plutocratic rule, and gets dubbed as democracy?
These are some of the questions that plague MK Stalin during his moments of reflection.
But there was not much of a reflection, when he started the DMK’s Youth Wing when he was barely 14.
It started just as a way of gathering around with friends of the locality and doing something useful during spare time, in a hairdresser’s place in Gopalapuram, Chennai – the locality where he grew up. Helping poor students with books and sharing of knowledge, collecting money to support the needy with funds for education, conducting mock tests to prepare those who were first generation learners – all such activities were a whole lot of fun, yet purposeful in their own way.
Gradually he and his little brigade of volunteers campaigned for DMK leaders, learnt the ropes of event management, participated in theater and street plays to spread the DMK’s ideology and over the years, have become the back-bone of the DMK, which was slowly ageing with wise seniors.
Over the years, the Gopalapuram Youth DMK grew strong, rented its own place and was officially inaugurated in 1980 as DMK Youth wing. Celebrating the birthday of the DMK patriarch C.N.Annadurai was an occasion to execute projects for public good, and year-after-year, the Youth wing branched out across the State, rapidly. A seven-member committee was set up in 1982 which streamlined the youth wing activities in districts, under the watchful eye of MK Stalin.
Today, the DMK’s Youth Wing under MK Stalin is the foremost body of the Dravidian party, driving change; driving the party’s agenda with the charm and vigor of the youth; reaching out to civil society and engaging young people in finding solutions to the problems they face:
- Through Education, Entrepreneurship, Employment & Skill Development
- Through development of a strong and healthy young population.
- By instilling in them pride as a Tamilian and as an Indian.
- By teaching and promoting community service and social values.
- By grooming the young to participate in politics and governance.
- By enhancing youth engagement in all facets of life.
During one of the Youth Wing Conferences, MK Stalin shares, "India has one of the youngest population band. India has youth in the age group of 15-29 years comprising 27.5% of our population. About 34% of India’s Gross National Income (GNI) is contributed by these people, and much of their potential is yet to be tapped! The firmly believe that the youth are the future of the nation, and many who are sitting here have the potential to become leaders representing Tamil Nadu, and eventually the Nation. I believe that grooming them to understand the qualities of leadership, and the essence of politics and governance is essential. But it all starts with training them to uphold social values and moral standards of the highest order."
As the Youth Wing Secretary, MK Stalin is driven by greater enthusiasm as he plans and supports schemes that promote the development of Tamil Nadu’s youth. Youth Wing members play a much cherished role, as their wing:
- Reaches education and employment opportunities to one and all,
- Encourages young people to create new technologies and applications
- Supports learning initiatives for various forms of art, music and culture
- Creates new platforms for disseminating education so that the digital divide between the Urban and Rural is minimized
- Supports and grooms leadership, oratorical, written and research skills to all those who are interested
- Supports students from school and those pursuing higher education, with educational aids and technology access for better learning
- Conducting skill development and employability training for everyone in that age group
- Positioning employment opportunities either as jobs or by supporting entrepreneurship and self-employment through the process of idea generation, incubation and finance.
MK Stalin understands that the list of what the Youth Wing can do is long yet, he is amply proud of what his Youth Wing leaders have contributed so far, for the party and for the society at large.
Every conference and event of the DMK demonstrates and showcases the organizational and event management capabilities of the Youth Wing. Other political parties are in awe of the capabilities and skill bank of the DMK Youth Wing members. But all the members feel they owe it to their Thalpathi, MK Stalin, their Commander who trains them to employ reasoned dialogue; to respect opinions and to exercise tolerance, in all situations.
MK Stalin believes that it is important to build pride in the youth of Tamil Nadu for their Mother tongue Tamil, and instill in them a national pride. In his footsteps, the Youth Wing leaders too inculcate a sense of ownership to the youth attending their camps. The importance of social values is imparted, and the need for harmony through, social, cultural and economic diversity is celebrated.
Together they build a strong Dravidian mind, within an Indian body.