'Wake Up': India's Message To Young Voters
- April 6th, 2009
- 1 Comments
Today’s Ypulse Youth Advisory Board post is from Akanksha Aurora, a teen in Mumbai who has seen India’s efforts to galvanize the youth vote first hand. Not quite voting age herself, Akanksha had some strong feelings about the campaign . Remember, you can communicate directly with any member of the Ypulse Youth Advisory Board by emailing them at youthadvisoryboard at ypulse.com…or just leave a comment.
Wake Up: India’s Message To The Young Voters
As the Indian elections draw to a close, the voter registration campaign “Jaago Re!” (translation: Wake up!) is still fresh in my mind. Initiated by the Bangalore-based non-profit organization Janagraha in partnership with Tata Tea, the campaign’s ambitious goal was to gain one billion votes. It commenced with a series of ads featuring an energetic youth raising awareness about voter registration, followed recently by the “Shut Up and Vote” rock tour, which attempted to reach young people through our favorite medium: music.
One of the most striking aspects of this initiative was the nature of the campaign itself. It is among the first (although not the only recent example) to even attempt to delve into the complex dynamics of the hopelessly corrupt political system that exists in India today. And with economists worldwide engaging in discussions about India as a potential superpower, this could be an important step towards nominating honest political leaders who won’t take advantage of the uneducated masses—a large portion of which is dominated by young people. By tapping into the 25% of young voters in urban areas and the 50% in rural areas, this campaign attempts to make a change for the better.
The eye-catching and colorful design of the website created for voter registration, www.jaagore.com, was their first step in the right direction to hold potential voters’ attention long enough to encourage them to register. The site was user-friendly and also had a widget that displayed the number of voters already registered. It also made the actual process of registering much easier, by providing the registration form as well as locational details about the nearest electoral registration office or ERO for the voter.
Personally, however, I preferred the concept of the “Shut Up and Vote” rock tour because I believe it speaks directly to youth. It incorporates a medium that we already appreciate. The tour will entail free rock concerts in five key Indian metro stations, and is open to all to encourage maximum participation in the electoral process. If I was old enough, I’d probably vote as well.
The overall look and feel of the campaign is one that seems to understand the importance of the youth vote. And yet, it doesn’t force itself on us to successfully capture our attention. In contrast to generic campaigns that attempt to do the same thing by including several out-of-context slang words within their profiles, this one discusses a cause that is pertinent to us and previously unexplored. It makes us think, and creates the desire to try harder. To be the change we want to see.
By the time she got to the much-dreaded, self-esteem destroying wasteland also known as high-school, Akanksha began to develop an interest in writing. Suddenly, all the words she ever knew began to creep into her dreams, and discover all her darkest thoughts and feelings, before silently but permanently immersing themselves within her soul and transforming themselves into fiction. In addition to that, the French language is her drug and acne is her worst enemy. She laughs a little too much and is a romantic in the extreme sense.