The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) celebrated the National Youth Day at different locations in Delhi, including Faculty of Arts (University of Delhi) and Mukherjee Nagar. It commemorated the 157th birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda and organised several competitions and programmes including a Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) awareness session.
ABVP celebrated Swami Vivekananda’s 157th birth anniversary as the National Youth Day. In remembrance of the great saint it organised programmes at various locations which included Faculty of Arts (DU), Mukherjee Nagar, and Kalkaji.
In the forthcoming week, ABVP will be organising various symposiums as well as recreational functions like painting competitions and art exhibitions, highlighting based on Swami Vivekananda’s life.
It also held a CAA awareness session, Shri Prafulla Akant, National Joint Organising Secretary, ABVP spoke about busting myths surrounding CAA. “Students, today, must brave the rough-hewn road to success. They must be wary of the political opportunists intending to waylay unsuspecting students and retard their career progression by exploiting them for their partisan political ends. The students must avoid palavers and judiciously engage in debates on consequential issues to achieve a meaningful denouement”, he said in the press release.
As a tribute to Swami Vivekananda at Delhi University’s Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Shri Sriniwas, National Joint Organising Secretary, ABVP, said, “There is an impending need for a contemporary construction of Swamiji’s thoughts. He was an ingenious thinker with a unique appraisal of India’s intractable problems and devoted a sustained effort towards discovering native solutions for the same. His exceptional ideas that form the bedrock of modern India, still continue to inspire millions to choose the path of selfless service towards the nation.”
At the programme being held at Faculty of Arts, Sidharth Yadav, Secretary, ABVP, Delhi, said, “Swamiji’s endeavours and his missionary zeal to foreground the veritable truth about India’s unique history and culture served to raise India’s stature in the eyes of the world. He was one of the few original thinkers of modern India whose ideas will continue to provide thought-leadership to posterity.”
In a wreath laying ceremony held at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Durgesh Kumar, President, ABVP-JNU, said, “It is imperative to keep alive the right to dissent in campuses across the country. In today’s polarised atmosphere, one that has split the student community into half, it is equally important to pursue dialogue and deliberation for solving contentious issues. Our temples of learning must not become havens for partisan political adventures. JNU needs to embrace Swamiji’s ideas for the root and branch eradication of centrifugal forces from our beloved campus.” His comments come after the recent violence allegedly caused by ABVP activists. While students at JNU have been protesting over the fee hike issue, the violence has escalated the political tensions.
Observed every year on the 12th January, this day is especially dedicated towards the Indian Youth. But what is the current situation of our country’s youth population?
National Youth Day is celebrated every year on the 12th January in India, which marks the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. He was a pioneer in crystallizing the spirit of nationalism, amidst the freedom struggle and introducing modern interpretations of Hinduism, in sync with the western philosophies surrounding the ideals with an enthusiastic representation of yoga, transcendental meditation, and other forms of spiritual philosophies across the west. His birth date has been celebrated as the National Youth Day ever since 1985, as a decision undertaken by the Government of India who felt that the philosophy of Swami Vivekananda, and the ideals which he popularized, would prove to be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth. This year marks his 156th birth anniversary.
Vivekananda’s global influence has been immense. Way back when there were no TED talks or internet to clarify the Western perception for the East, it was his speeches, which gained him immense popularity, and significance in the western world. His speech at the First Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Chicago in 1893 was one of his most impressive speeches. It was an impressive breakdown of the ancient Hindu philosophy delivered with logic and scientific insights. Hence, he is known as the Messenger of Wisdom to the Western World.
One must wonder how does all of this correspond to his presence as a youth icon? Why does his birth date mark as a national level festival? Swami Vivekananda represented the imagery of an ideal youth or a youngster. In layman’s term, an ‘all-rounder’. He was a curious and keen reader of various different subjects ranging from science to philosophy, with a keen interest in Hindu scriptures. He was trained in music, and had excellent sportsman skills. He had a very balanced approach to live life, followed by logic, and not merely blind religion.
Every year, there is a change in the theme of the event. However, it is always youth-centric. This year, the theme is ‘Channelizing Youth Power for Nation Building‘.Yuva Diwas is also celebrated in Canada, through the Vedanta Society of Toronto, to spread the message of Vedanta, as the world’s most ancient theosophy.
We have frequently heard the term, ‘India’s Youth Are the World’s Future’, but how appropriate is this in our present context?
The Indian demographic provides for more than 600 million people below the age of 25, making it the only country with the highest youth population. However, the larger chunk of this population is not being utilized in a proper way. History is a witness to the fact that a large youth population definitely influences political movements. Take a cue from the civil rights movement in America, or during the Baby Boomers’ period when over 79 million people were born in the period between 1946-64. In the Indian context, the youth can bring a huge change. The freedom struggle was a majority of the nation’s youth, fighting for the freedom of our country. However, this enthusiasm in the youth today is eloping somewhere else, far away from the tracks of zeal. Despite the fact that India garners one of the biggest youth populations in the world, it still faces a massive unemployment gap. The young Indian workforce does not have the ideal jobs, lacks the required skills, or is not invested in a proper formal sector, with strict employment rules.
According to the recent statistics by the International Labour Organization, India has a very large vulnerable job share in the overall employment market. Out of the 1.4 billion jobs that are vulnerable globally, nearly 394 million or 28% are in India alone.
In Pawan Aggarwal’s research paper titled India’s Youth Challenge, published by Harvard International Review, he states, “India’s growing youth population need not be a blessing. What Arvind Panagariya fails to consider in ‘The Global Profession’ (Review, Winter 2011) is that India’s youth bulge and their galloping aspirations can be a recipe for disaster.”
The Indian GDP is reputable as the fastest growing economy in the world, but despite the 7.4% expected growth in real terms; India is not creating sufficient jobs. Despite the evidence that India has a big demographic dividend, it is still not able to compete with countries like China and Japan which are already facing problems due to aging population, creating a dependence on the state, and economic system for social security. The low employment levels worsen the situation with the problem of low wages. Indian employees are severely underpaid. With over 80% of the male Indian workers, and 99% of female workers making less than INR 10,000 a month, presents a grave picture of our economy and its job structure.
Arpita Chhikara, a business analyst at KPMG and a graduate of Jesus and Mary College comments, “The job market in India is at a very severe stage. The newspapers and the internet is filled with shocking revelations. I feel that the efforts towards mobilizing youth are not undertaken whole-heartedly. Take a cue from the rising levels of depression among the Indian youth for not finding the desired jobs, or due to being underpaid. There are no fairytales here.”
While, Apeksha Jain, a second year B.Com programme student of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College comments, “The cut-throat competition is such a shocking factor. Despite having the most amazing professional qualifications, I see the youth struggling to find a good job. There is so much stress that surrounds them, which is unhealthy for their mental health as well.”
Despite the Government’s efforts, there have not been much tangible results. The government needs to encourage entrepreneurial efforts, which leads not only to self-employment, but also to job creation. Take a cue from the rise in the start-up culture in India, which has seen a massive growth. A NASSCOM research in India suggested the growth of almost 3100 Technological start-ups in India since 2010, with many more having risen in the recent years.
Hence, this Yuva Diwas, let us work towards a nation where the youth cluster is successful, and works to its maximum potential, instead of being the underutilized assets of the nation.
Asserting that the teachings of Swami Vivekananda should be followed, Yogendra Yadav, on Friday, said it is unfortunate how the present condition of apathy in terms of false notions of nationalism and patriotism, which the youth are misled with, is a sheer misinterpretation.
“The notions of patriotism went much beyond any religion, caste, or creed for Swami Vivekanand. The idea of tolerance and ‘Bharat belonging to the Shudra or the last man’ was upheld by him. So, idolising him as the face of a single religion is incorrect,” he said while addressing the students at the Vivekananda Youth Summit 2018. His appeal of giving two years and contributing to new politics inspired the youth present in the summit.
Each year in India, the National Youth Day is observed on January 12, on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Mr. Yadav was the chief guest of honour along with MLA Pankaj Pushkar, Professor Shashi Shekhar, Professor Harish Khanna and a few other dignitaries. The event’s beginning was marked by a documentary clip on the life and struggles of Swami Vivekanand as Narendra Dutta and his journey to become the representative of India and the ‘Hindu Dharma’ in the World Parliament of Religions, 1893, in Chicago.
Manisha, a student of Ram Lal Anand College recited the entire speech, which Swami Vivekananda had delivered at the World Parliament of Religions. The focus of the speech was to reiterate the latter’s ideology in front of the youth today. The glorification of his ideas about the nation and oneness, which ‘hindu dharma’ propagates, was central to the narration.
Winners of Vivekanand Youth Contest, which was a write-up contest, were awarded. Viren Sheoran of Dyal Singh College was the winner of the contest. Sakshi Wadhawa, Sumantra Mukherjee, Malik Ul Haq, and Karishma Arora were the runners-up of the contest. Top 50 write-ups were also awarded by Prof Harish Khanna.
MLA Pankaj Pushkar’s address to the youth was an oration declaring the similarity in the issues that the youth faces today and the issues faced by Narendra Dutta.
Anupam (Delhi President, Swaraj India) also addressed the gathering and said, “You don’t need a big mob to bring the change. You and your five friends with hope, vision, and commitment can create a revolution. ”
Youth4Swaraj announced that this event was not the end but the start of a campaign. Youth4Swaraj will continue this talk in various cities across the nation. Punjab University(Chandigarh), BHU, JNU, Kurukshetra University among others, are marked for this. After the event, students had an informal talk with Professor Yogendra Yadav for more than an hour.