The Agnipath Protests: Youth Unrest and Political Apathy

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Author: Uday Pratap Singh

To cite this article: Singh, U. P. (2024) The Agnipath Protests: Youth Unrest and Political Apathy, Youth Voice Journal, ISSN (online): 2056-2969

Categories: Paper, Youth Voice Journal

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Abstract

For the millions of armed forces aspirants, the sudden introduction of the Agnipath Scheme came as a shock, and their rage was manifested in the form of violent protests. This paper traces the trajectory of these Agnipath protests, from their violent ebullition to their silent demise. The paper begins with an analysis of the manufactured ambiguity surrounding the economic motives behind the Agnipath Scheme and argues that this ambiguity was part of the government’s continuous political manoeuvring. The other aspect of this manoeuvring was the tri-services press conferences which ensured that the scheme was seen as a military necessity rather than a politico-economic decision. The second section of the paper looks at the structural limitation of the protest. It analyses the role of the defence coaching industry and argues that the peculiar nature of these coaching centres, while providing a structural matrix for the protests, limited the protest to their respective local settings. The paper further analyses the ‘underlying recruitment system’ to provide insight into the rationale of the protest. The paper concludes by arguing that the said political manoeuvring amplified the structural limitation of the protest and transformed it into a futile officer-vs-Jawan debate.

Keywords: Jawans, Defence Coaching Centers, Armed Forces Recruitment System, Indian Armed Forces, Agniveer.  

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