Today in the Young Leader Series, Wandering Soul of Sikkim presents an interview with Bikash Basnet, General Secretary, Press & Publicity, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM). Young Leader Series is a part of our initiative to reach out to young and emerging leaders of Sikkim across the political spectrum and to present their views on issues like participation of youth in politics. Please do Like Share & Support our initiatives. You can check into our Facebook page at Wandering Soul of Sikkim
Wandering Soul of Sikkim(WSOS): Would you like to share something about your growing up years and about your education?
Bikash Basnet(BB): First of all, thank you Wandering Soul of Sikkim for granting this opportunity. I was born and brought up in Yangang, South Sikkim. My father works with Health Department and mother is employed as a School Teacher. I am an elder son in the family and I have one brother. I completed my schooling from Government Senior Secondary School, Yangang and my BBA from ICFAI University, Sikkim in the year 2010. After graduation, I did my PG Diploma in film and television in the year 2011 and later I completed my MA in Economics in the year 2013.
WSOS: What inspired you to join politics?
BB: Well since early childhood I was much drawn towards Politics, I was much inclined to talk or debate with seniors rather than engage myself with the people of my age. Certainly that interest garnered with time and during my college days I got an opportunity to meet veteran politician and Former CM Late NB Bhandari. I feel he is the person who inspired me to join politics and give my service for people of Sikkim. I was much interested to spend my time with him and learn his vast political experiences since the time of Chogyal. I believe I got the best person who could impart politics in great detail, infact he was an open book of Sikkim’s political history, the time spent with Bhandari Sahab nurtured and groomed me with self confidence . From his life, what I learned was, the sense of respect towards my motherland and to selflessly serve the people, also to be optimistic and be patient to sustain in politics. I was not in hurry to join politics until 2013 because I believed in observing and learning before coming into mainstream politics, I had an opportunity to work with NSUI – National level Students association and spent time in journalism for two years where I got an opportunity to work with TV Live productions, Doordarshan Kendra, Gangtok and Talk Sikkim. While working with Talk Sikkim for one year I was exposed to the prevailing political situation of Sikkim which further moulded my inclination towards politics. Eventually in 2013, I joined with opposition front Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) and by the grace of God, I got an opportunity to become one of the Contenders in 2014 general elections. Fighting election is one of the turning points of my life where I gained confidence as well as maturity in me.
WSOS: What would be that one thing you would like to change in the system?
BB: While observing the state of affairs since 2007, I identified many issues that needed to be answered, but to point out one particular thing would be ; in Sikkim political or bureaucratic service is understood as the misuse of public funds for self-comfort. I think policy makers should have pure minds to serve the people, not for self-benefit or gaining extra superiority or wealth out of corruption. Though there are sincere people in politics and administration but in total, it is captured by corrupt people, I think big revolution is need of an hour to change a corrupt and monopoly system which is being encouraged by the political set-up of state since two decades.
WSOS: What is your take on those who term politics to be “a dirty game”?
BB: Politics is not a dirty game it has been made dirty by some politicians setting a trend to become rich rather than welfare of common people. I believe politics is a creative art directly linked with people, demography, society, culture , communal harmony ,economy and in large subject that serves service to humanity. Once you have pure thoughts to work for people than there will be a change of perception regarding politics.
WSOS: How important it is to involve students and youth in mainstream politics?
BB: I think political participation is fundamental where you can change society in total but in our state, politics is practiced after age of 50s or after being well settled. This thinking should be changed; youth should come forward to participate in politics openly without any fear adapting as a primary career. We need young people to lead this state with modern innovative politics that can take to new dimension of developments, welfare of society. I would like to quote with my example as I was assigned with party ticket against the giant politician of Sikkim, at that time I was having only 1800 in my bank account, but my inner motivation was that someone has to take against him, so why not me? may be I am the one chosen to fight against him. I was entered in electoral politics at the age of 26 that too without money but with my patience as well as my determination, I got a total of 3201 votes which was like a win-win for a new entrant like me. With this I want to outline that there is a need of young hearts in politics of Sikkim as I see most of the politicians are senior peoples where certainly they may not be able to understand what today’s youths aspirations , in order to empower youths and be voice of youths in the political system of Sikkim, there is a shortage of younger generation in the politics of Sikkim.
WSOS: Your take on the need of an intellectual and informed debate on issues that matter in the state of sikkim. How do you think can young people be engaged to talk on issues that matters?
BB: In my observation the youth in Sikkim are kept under political paranoia. We simply can’t comment openly against the ruling front . Somewhere we may feel that we need to speak out against odd practices of the system but another side we get suppressed by political pressure resulting in a state of complete silence. I think we all need to come out of the cage and enjoy freedom of our democratic essence. There is a need of youth participation in policy making of our state, if not today than we may go into extreme suppressions. Youth should step up openly in public participation. It is very disappointing to see the apparent lack of participation or engagement of youths in the pubic open forum like Gram Shabhas or any public hearing related to developmental projects. In addition, there is a lack of vigilantism by youths in public works, inreturn we witness poor quality of development. We must speak up freely without fear if we see any injustice, need of more consciousness and awareness than only we can compete with the outer world.
WSOS: Your message to the youth of Sikkim?
BB: I urge the youth of our State to get out of the box. To not be confined to the idea of living within the boundaries of Government Employment to sustain oneself. They should rather step up an explore the vast opportunity that entrepreneurship has to offer.
WSOS: Thank You So Much for taking your time out to respond to us for the Young Leader Series.
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To read more in the Young Leader Series Click YOUNG LEADER: An Interview with Lalit Pokhrel Sharma (President, SUSA)
YOUNG LEADER: An Interview with Subadra Dangal (Zilla Panchayat, Amba Taza TC)
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