Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 9 News List

Young Indians waiting for their political chance

By David Rohde  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , KNOWLEDGE CITY, INDIA

Asked what he wanted to be, he answered, "I don't have any desire."

Prodded, he said, "I wish I could be a big man and have my own shop."

He stood barefoot, holding a small straw broom, in Patna's main railway station. He said he thought a job in a private company would give him enough time off to visit his family. But he seemed confused about what working for a company, state-run or private, was actually like.

"By taking a government job I won't be able to get leave," he said.

Politics, too, seemed to confuse him. The only political position he articulated involved something he had experienced personally: corruption. He said politicians' No. 1 priority should be to eradicate it.

"Even here, police are taking money all over the place," he said, gesturing at the crowded train platforms. "Once I saw it on a train, the police extorted 100 rupees per passenger."

Asked if India would be rich at the end of his lifetime, he replied, "I don't think so."

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