Politics is a field associated with a lot of negativity, frequently linked with terms such as corruption, greed, and nepotism. However, the role of politics is a noble and an ancient one, around since the first formation of societies. In India, which is the biggest democracy in the world based on population, there is immense potential to transform the political climate.
To bring about a change in society, and subsequently, the state and the nation, the passion to do so has to come from within, especially from the youth. Engineers and civil service personnel have their own place, as do the armed forces, farmers and every profession that goes into supporting society, however, the leadership falls into the hands of politicians.
In recent times, there has been an increasing trend of people from non-political backgrounds joining the field of politics and achieving considerable success. So, if you too have your eyes set on becoming one, you should give this article a read.
Career As A Politician in India
Politics has not always been considered as a mainstream career, as there is no formal educational requirement or ‘entrance test’ that can be studied for. Typically people have entered the field of politics after pursuing another career, although the trends are evolving and people are now directly joining the field of politics.
As a career, politics has a lot to offer, depending on your success. Most importantly, you will have a chance to improve the country, by making choices that will help the people. Everything comes down to charisma, passion and decision-making skills, as the faith of voters is what will ultimately decide your success in the field.
Your ‘entrance exam’ in politics would be to contest elections, and salary would be dependent on which post you are elected for. In addition, if you are elected there are plenty of governmental perks that come with the role.
For MLAs, perks include daily allowances, accommodation, travel, medical coverage, constituency allowance and office expenses allowance. MPs receive an air travel allowance, residence, electricity, water and more. Another major perk of serving as an elected representative is a lifelong pension which increases based on years served.
How To Become A Politician in India
To become a politician, the best way is to start at a grassroots level, by volunteering and working with a political party that matches your ideals. You can volunteer or intern with political parties during elections and political rallies to gain practical experience and a better understanding of the ground reality of how politics works. Increase your visibility and social media presence with effective posts to build your brand name as a budding politician.
To join the field of politics, you can join student bodies of political groups such as ABVP and NSUI, which will provide you with a great platform to gain practical knowledge of how politics works. Popular universities such as Delhi University (DU), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) are well-known as political hubs where students are often recruited by political parties.
While in college you can join debate societies, participate in public speaking, parliamentary debates and in Model United Nations (MUN) panels to hone and polish your oratory, debating and critical-thinking skills.
Take part in events and in activities related to your focus areas, for example, women empowerment, better healthcare, etc. Participating in student wings of political parties directly from a college level is a great way to enter the field of politics.
BJP party president Amit Shah began his political career as a leader of the ABVP when he was 19 years old, while current union minister Nitin Gadkari became the president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha at age 24 years. Former Congress leader turned Aam Aadmi Party leader, Alka Lamba, began her political career in 1994 at age 19 years, joining the National Students Union of India (NSUI), and in 1995, winning the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) president’s post.
Although there might not be a specific educational qualification to become a politician, there are many paths you can follow to best equip yourself for a career in politics.
Here are a few popular career paths to become a politician:
1. Civil Services
The civil services are among the most popular career choices for people entering the field of politics. Civil services are responsible for administration and smooth functioning of the country, and work in close contact with political leaders, to develop the nation. Experience of working in any of the allied civil services will help you in politics as you will have a better understanding of how administrative processes are carried out on a large scale. Famous politicians who were in the civil services include Ajit Jogi, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Meira Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal.
Recommended Read: How to Prepare for UPSC Civil Services: A Beginner’s Guide
2. Political Science
The study of political science, whether at an undergraduate level with a BA Political Science or at the masters level with an M.A Political Science, is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a career in politics. The course studies the theory and application of politics and political systems. After studying political science, you can pursue a job in the same field, such as in political journalism, civil services, or teaching, or you can directly transition into a job in politics, by working with political groups.
Law is another field that will expertly prepare you for a career in politics as it will provide you with a thorough understanding of the legal framework upon which the nation relies and around which governance should take place. Famous freedom fighters and politicians around the time of independence, for example, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi were also in the profession of law, and since then there have been many more famous politicians who have a background in law such as Sushma Swaraj and Kapil Sibal. After studying law, at an undergraduate level with LLB or master’s with LLM, you can work as a lawyer or advocate or directly enter politics.
Recommended Read: Justice for All: What it Takes to Pursue Law as a Career
If you enjoy studying numbers and policy, economics is a field that will help you greatly, especially in boosting the economy of the nation. Several famous politicians found their beginnings as economists, for example, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Subramanian Swamy. You can work as an economist or join civil services or directly enter politics after studying economics at the undergraduate (B.A Economics) or postgraduate (M.A Economics) level.
Recommended Read: What is B.A Economics All About? Career Options & Colleges
Media is considered to be the 4th pillar of democracy and is responsible for communicating news and information to the public, which serves an important role in the development of a nation. Many famous journalists have made the cross-over to politics, such as Arun Shourie, Shazia Ilmi, Manish Sisodia and Rajeev Shukla, using their skills of communication to succeed in the field of politics. Journalism courses can be taken up at an undergraduate or postgraduate level, after which you can practice as a journalist or directly join politics.
Recommended Read: Mass Communication Vs. Journalism: Are they the Same or Different?
6. Social Work
The role of social work is inherently similar to that of politics; to help the people. By studying social work, you will be better equipped to help the weak and underprivileged sections of society, working directly with communities. Working as a social worker can directly help your chances of becoming a successful politician as you will gain visibility at the grassroots level for your work.
Recommended Read: Serving the People: Social Work as a Career in India
Other Career Opportunities in Politics
The field of politics is vast, and if you do not want to contest elections, no need to worry, there are a wide variety of roles in the overall political arena through which you can drive change in the country. In any political party, there are numerous roles that require qualified personnel for the success of the party, for example, campaign managers, PR consultants, social media managers, general managers, legal aides, youth wing workers, political strategists and general party workers.
If you are not interested in being associated with one specific political party, you can consider working with think-tanks, or non-governmental organizations as a policy analyst or political scientist, who analyze and monitor the performance of political parties. Another popular career opportunity is to work as a political consultant, which involves taking up specific projects with political parties, without having to commit to a specific political party.
Recommended Read: Scope of Liberal Arts In India: Where Your Degree Can Take You!
There are immense opportunities in the field of politics in India. With the benefits of technology, the world has become a global village, and it’s time for India to further increase its speed of growth.
Youth in politics have the potential for an unprecedented vision and the capability to transform politics and with it, the nation. There are many ways to pursue a career in politics, and one crucial requirement is to have a passion for development.
Did you find this article helpful? Share with us in the comments below!