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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.
South Asia

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.
PSN, India

The concern for any educated person should be to solve problems

Waseem Raj, UK
I am not against or in favour of older politicians. The concern for any educated person should be to solve problems and anyone can do this whatever age they maybe.
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.
Ajish Pothen, UK

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.
Ananta Pilaka, Canada

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.
Imtiaz Khan, UK

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.
Dr. Ajay Sharma, USA

It's time for the older generation to give way to the new

Kool, India
It's time for the older generation to give way to the new. The politicians in India decide never to give up, trying new political alliances to cling to the power. If there is a limit on the age up to which the civil servants could work, certainly there should be a limit for the politicians as well.
Kool, India

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.
Girish Bangalore, USA

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.
Puttu, Inda

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.
Asis Biswas, USA/India

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?
NC, India/USA

The mix of old and young people in government is essential for smooth functioning

Brajesh Singh, United Kingdom
In my opinion, the mix of old and young people in government is essential for smooth functioning. Old persons are required for their experience, patience, and tolerance, at the same time, younger generation is necessary for enthusiasm, energy and hard work. In my assessment a few more young persons are required in the government set-up.
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.
Dr. Liaquat Ali, Pakistan

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.
Sajith, India

I feel that the current bunch of politicians hasn't done much to justify their presence on the political stage

I feel that the current bunch of politicians hasn't done much to justify their presence on the political stage. They come from an age where economic stagnation was the norm and are essentially not dynamic or educated enough to pave a path for the future. They have come up with few or no solutions to India's problems, considering that we have had 50 years since Independence.

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.
Rohit, UK

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.
Alok Kumar, Norway

Old is gold!

Kavitha D, USA/ Indian
It's a symbol of Indian heritage and culture that we Indians in all parts of our society respect elders and honour them. Old is gold!
Kavitha D, USA/ India

The older generation represents experience, expertise and skills acquired over decades; respected and democratically chosen by the voting public.
Mohansingh, India

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.
Vijay Ojha, UK/ India

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.
Vinod Dawda, UK

India needs new blood with fewer hostilities towards Pakistan and Muslims.
Mat, Pakistan/ America

Peace is good and it's about time Indian and Pakistani leaders realised this regardless of their age, gender, or religion.
S. Malik, USA

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
Deivanayagam M, USA

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.

A natural leader will show his potential through his deeds

Vidyasankar Narayanan, India/ USA
A natural leader will show his potential through his deeds. Nobody needs to step aside to give him leadership. If old politicians are governing India, it is because people trust them and they know what people want. If the younger generation shows prowess, people will comprehend their abilities and entrust them to the responsibility. Once someone proves his mettle and climbs the ranks, no-one needs to step aside, for he will be the natural choice for leadership.
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.
Vikrant, India/UK

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.
Mikko Toivonen, Finland

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
Sunny Badalera, Canada

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