National Youth Day: Young Aspirations and the Way Ahead

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A person without a purpose is nothing but a walking corpse. Our youth must have a clear conviction in life to do something that impacts the lives of people around them
Rahul Chaudhary & Aditya Kashyap
Swami Vivekananda, the patriot-monk, was an embodiment of youth, dynamism and spirituality. His life, message and ideals, spread across a short span of 39 years, are even today the greatest inspiration for the youth. This year, when we celebrate his 157th birth anniversary, we need to dive deeper into his message for modern youth.
The big question lies as to how the youth can apply the message and ideals of Swami Vivekananda in these challenging times when the world is transforming at a rapid rate and our society and nation is facing several social, cultural and economic issues. Out of this churning shall emerge the way forward for a New Bharat.
Swamiji, during his lifetime, had made three predictions out of which two have already been fulfilled. The third vision was that India will rise to greater heights than she had in her glorious past; he invoked the youth to carry on ‘root-and-branch reforms’ to achieve this. At another occasion, Swamiji said that in order to become great a nation requires three things, namely—“conviction of the powers of goodness, absence of jealousy and suspicion, helping all who are trying to be and do good”. These words are simple yet profound.
Swamiji’s Vision
Swamiji’s call to the youth can be precisely put in three words, viz. Head-Heart-Hand. What he wanted was a simultaneous development of these three faculties of an individual—a head to think for others, a heart to feel for others, and hands to work for others.
One of the primary causes of downfall of India, as Swami Vivekananda used to say, is the lack of shraddha—faith in ourselves, our cultures and traditions. Thousands of years of slavery followed by the clerk-making Macaulian education system has dampened the spirit and we need to re-kindle it by believing in our divinity— amritasya putrah (children of divine). Swami Vivekananda attached more importance to self-confidence than even faith in God! “He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself,” he famously stated.
We need to reinvigorate the lifeblood of this nation and that’s the way to regeneration. Self-confidence and self-respect should be cultivated in a person right from the very childhood. The roots of this culture and civilisation are to be deeply entrenched by institutions like family, schools and society.
Swami ji always stressed that every individual must have a very high goal in one’s life. He believed that a person without a purpose is nothing but a walking corpse. Our youth must have a clear conviction in life to do something that impacts the lives of people around them. Once the purpose of life is clear, all actions of life should be driven by that purpose. We must have tremendous perseverance and insurmountable will, which are required in order to achieve any such goal.
Next, we require man-making and character-building education that will teach the youth to stand on their own feet. The erstwhile education system requires major reforms and must include an amalgamation of Eastern faiths coupled with Western sciences, theoretical doctrines along with practical training, development of intellect, skill and character simultaneously. We require a conglomeration of the Orient and the Occident—Science & Religion—Sattva and Rajas. It is imperative to empower our youth with the relevant knowledge and skill that will convert the mammoth potential to desired results.
This is the era of organisation and teamwork—accumulation of power and co-ordination of will. Our nation needs substantial improvement in the faculty of organisation. The first requisite for organisation is obedience. Five people cannot act in concert together in India for five minutes. We must change this and synchronise our team spirit and synergy. The spirit of “Bahujana-hitaya, bahujana-sukhaya” and “Sam Gacchadhvam, Sam Vadaddhvam, Sam vo manansi jaantam” needs to be instilled within each one of us. We have to inculcate the spirit of organisation, discipline, commitment, obedience and absence of jealousy to materialise the institutional objectives.
Opportunities and the Way Ahead
India’s present problems are manifold—poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment, casteism, crime, corruption; at the same time, we have 130 crore minds and hands to find out solutions to eradicate these evils. The need is to reinvigorate their faith in themselves, give them the right education and training, and provide them a platform to work-out their solutions.
Utilising the potential of 4D’s viz. Demographic Dividend, Democracy, Demand and Diversity, India can become a global leader. We need to identify the ‘Drivers’—Growth and Employment, Agriculture, Industry 4.0, Technology & Innovation, Tourism, Soft Power, Space; create enabling ‘Infrastructure’—Energy, Transport, Smart Cities, Educational and Healthcare facilities; with deeper ‘Inclusion’—Education, Health, Nutrition, Women Empowerment and Antyodaya; and ‘Governance’ focussed at increased ease of living—Balanced Regional Development; Legal, Judicial, Police Reforms, City Governance, and Panchayati Raj.
We have enormous opportunities and potential to lead in Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud Computing, etc. given the vast population especially the youth that are digitally connected. In the field of yoga and spiritual well-being, developing Indian institutions focused on training expert Yoga teachers who go on propagating yoga worldwide. Ayurveda is another area, which upon standardisation, regulation and recognition can become an asset for Indian soft power. We have inherited the oldest languages of the world, Sanskrit and Tamil. Promoting, popularising and propagating research, advanced studies and scholarship will give India an edge over other nations.
In climate change and environment, several developments like International Solar Alliance, banning Single use plastic, Swacchta Mission, Nirmal Gange, etc. have enabled us to lead this movement. Eco-tourism, Medical Tourism, spiritual retreat, etc. have the potential to lead India on to higher growth potential. Overall, the nation has to be built by the youth of the nation who will manifest the potential within this great nation.
As Swami Vivekananda exhorted, “Arise! Awake! And stop not till the goal is reached”, let us all unite and work for India with purity, patience, and perseverance and materialise the mission and vision of Vivekananda. This National Youth Day, let us rekindle the spirit of renunciation and service within each of us; resolve to become a ‘Vivekananda’ in ourselves and make India a great nation – that would be the real tribute to this great patriot.
(Rahul Chaudhary is a Research Scholar at RMLNLU Lucknow & Aditya Kashyap is 4th Year BA LLB (Hons) student at RGNUL Patiala)