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'I'm a little troubled'



Ananthamurthy fears the lack of a sharp political awareness among the youth

"I FEEL a little troubled about young voters because I can't see a sharp political awareness in them," says Jnanpith Award-winning Kannada writer, U.R. Ananthamurthy. He contrasts it with a generation that grew up in a Socialist atmosphere, where issues such as equality and self-respect meant a lot. The absence of a strong political ideology may attract youngsters into whatever excites them momentarily, he adds. "And they have no time to learn from experience."

Recalling the time when he went to school in a Malnad village, he says: "There was one school in the village and everyone was forced to go there. So, whatever the atmosphere at home, one was forced to mix with a variety of children in school." With the whole education structure changing — with one set of schools for the rich, another for the middle-class, and yet another for the poor — there is greater polarisation and ossification of interests. "It's among sections like the Dalit youth that you see a sharper political awareness. Upper class is increasingly becoming a section where ideas don't matter," says Dr. Ananthamurthy.

B.S.

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