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Thursday, 31 August, 2000, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Are India's politicians too old?
Many of India's politicians including the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, are now over 70 years old.
The country has no shortage of promising younger politicians, but they are denied the reins of power.
Is it time for the older generation to move aside? Or can India not afford to squander the vast experience of those who have led the country for so many years?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Its just that because we have such a large population there's lot of competition everywhere, even in politics.
So it takes a lot of years for an individual to get up the ranks.
Waseem Raj, UK
I think, we need a mix of both old and young when it comes to ruling a country like India. But a few more open minded and western educated people will only help India grow and become a vital part of the global economy.
The ideal situation will be young mind assisting old minds.
What is required is maturity. Young people maybe less matured, and maybe interested in short term gains. They may not visualise impact of long term strategies. An old politician is required to control the flow of ideas of young people. He may have excellent ideas. But some of them could be risky.
India needs post independence born leaders to lead the country, only they can sort out the massive ongoing Indian internal and external human rights violations. It seems to me India is becoming more fascist by the day and non-Indians, particularly tourists, lives are at risk. I'm sure a younger leader would be more compromising towards it's neighbours and sort out the problems inside India's own borders.
The changes in this world that have already had and will continue to have the most beneficial effect on the largest populations were Deng Xioping of China and Narashima Rao of India. Both were the oldest leaders in the world and also in their respective countries. The result today is that both India and China have the world's highest growth rates. Surely fact are more important than personal opinions.
History in India shows that older politicians have always done better than the younger lot. Of course, the younger ones should be given reigns in handling Modern Industry but giving then total control like in the case of Rajiv Gandhi was and will be a total disaster.
Definitely we require Old and Young politicians in India but the driving force should be an experienced one willing to direct the country into the New Millennium to face the domestic and international problems with the latest technology/trends in the World.
Yes, I agree that Indian politicians are old. It's very true that knowledge of old politician's are most valuable things. But only knowledge can move a country. We need young people to move the country. The best combination will be mixed of old and young people. It will be very good if we can have all young people in front line and the older to provide knowledge base. That we need NOW.
The present condition in the Indian subcontinent requires a lot of patience and wisdom and the present government, a combination of all the factors that experience and age brings has done a wonderful job.
The most important feature that the politicians should have in my opinion is the vision of the future. What could be better than this combined with wisdom and experience?
Brajesh Singh, United Kingdom
Yes I agree that Indian politicians are so old. Old age is not bad quality but drain the new talent is not good. I appreciate, if India uses the young brilliant mind because the young talent has so many new ideas. Although old is gold but sometimes they rigid mind and don't accept innovative thinking. Indian old age politicians are suffering much disease.
The wisdom and experience of the older generation of politicians have stood us in good stead for sometime now. As for Mat from Pak/America, I would advise him to look closer at Pakistan's role in supporting terrorism before making naive statements.
I agree that Indian politicians are too old and they should all be retired, but one should look at the performance and record of the so-called young politician - Rajiv Gandhi. His short tenure was nothing but a disaster and his only policy was to stay in power. This was done by appeasing Muslims at the expense of the majority Hindus.
Politics is a thinking process and requires a lot of practical knowledge and experience. The young hot blood can make rash decisions that are not good for society in the long run.
Kavitha D, USA/ India
The older generation represents experience, expertise and skills acquired over decades; respected and democratically chosen by the voting public.
If a 41-year-old English man is considered good enough to play test cricket then there is nothing wrong with a 70 year old Indian politician. It is survival of the fittest and age does not matter.
I doubt if a younger politician will exercise the degree of tolerance and patience that the subcontinent needs. The younger politicians may have the zeal but would lack the wisdom!
However, it would be better if a politician does not occupy the higher executive power for more than two terms or so.
The intoxicating effects of power need to be controlled. For example,Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, and Nehru stayed far too long in the driving seat.
India needs new blood with fewer hostilities towards Pakistan and Muslims.
Peace is good and it's about time Indian and Pakistani leaders realised this regardless of their age, gender, or religion.
When India is becoming one of the leaders in technology (mainly IT industry), the old leaders who are not keeping updated about the modern world should give way to younger ones similar to Mr.Rangarajan Kumaramangalam who was one of the best in Vajpayee's cabinet
Being "old" is not an issue. However, being out of touch with the issues that matter is a problem. People want leaders who live in the present and work for the future and do not live in the past. This is true anywhere in the world.
Vidyasankar Narayanan, India/ USA
India declares itself to be a democracy but it is a country run by feudal lords and high caste members. This ideology has existed since the beginning and no matter how great a potential leader, if he's from the "untouchables" he will never be in power. These leaders are not only too old but bigots and it is now time for change.
I have personally always appreciate India having "old" politicians and thought that Europe should follow suit. The younger lions should spend more time in industry and business to learn about life before being admitted to serious political positions.
Yes, I think Indian politicians are too old. Hence the rigid outdated attitude and outlook. All their actions are based on their past experiences which are hopelessly outdated and irrelevant to today's Modern India
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