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Empower youth for national transformation, as Swamiji envisioned

Ascending the ‘75th Neel Gagan' of tricolour independence, with its perennial philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam', India today is heading to be globally recognised as ‘Vishwaguru’ in the glistening era of Amrit Kaal. On the eve of the 42nd Convocation of Anna University, Chennai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conscientiously said, “The whole world is looking at India’s youth with hope. Because the youth is the growth engine of the country and India is the world’s growth engine. It is a great honour.”

This faith in the Indian youth stems from the fact that the young population of the nation is critical to accomplishing the Nation’s ambitious target of becoming a 5 trillion economy, thus reaching its glorified position of ‘Vishwaguru.’

India accommodates the summit among the young nations of the world with 66% of its total population under the age of 35. Approximately, the country is home to one fifth of the world’s youth demography, with an average age of 29. Therefore, India certainly has the youngest population globally.

Back then in 1984, the government of India made a crucial decision to commemorate the 12th day of January as 'National Youth Day' which happens to be the birth anniversary of the 'Philosophical Monk' and 'Spiritual Teacher', Swami Vivekananda. Now arises a staggering interrogation mark as to how congruous it was to deem a preacher of religion and philosophy as the epitome of an ideal youth, fabricating the pillars of the future. Well in the above context, it must be duly highlighted that such a trivial query is the genesis of a nascent mind blinded to the aura of the illustrious figure, Swami Vivekananda. The legendary life of Swami Vivekananda summarises the ideal life of little Narendra, born back in 1863, into the alleys of olden Calcutta, who ‘Spiritually Morphed’ to become the sublime identity, 'Swami Vivekananda.'

In 1897, Swamiji spoke to Madras Times when he was asked about his plans for the future of India, “My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions.” This quote is still relevant. The Youth of India is its uttermost valuable asset. This derives its root from the fact that as this vast resource of the younger population enters the workforce, it would create a ‘Demographic dividend.’ As defined by the United Nations Population Fund, this economic growth is the result of the shift in the population’s age structure. The demographic dividend is created when the workforce becomes larger than the count of dependents.

Vivekananda was a consummate reader who excelled in speed reading. He enunciated India's ancient values on a global platform. 'Liberation from the concept of Servitude' being the 'New National Education Policy', Swamiji believed “Education is the manifestation of perfection already possessed by man.” Isn’t it paradoxical to think that the youth of today, supposed to hold the pillars of tomorrow, is only the one to destroy its sanctity, under Western influence? The subdued youth of today, influenced by the Western gust, indulges in malpractices like drug addiction. 60% of all illicit drugs seized in India are from Punjab with addicts aged between 15 and 35. Vivekananda states, "Anything that makes you weak, physically, spiritually or intellectually, reject it as poison." Education alone can bridge the rift between an 'Idle Youth' and an 'Ideal Youth.' With Education as the catalyst, Indian Youth would advance with greater conviction.

In his iconic speech at the World Religious Conference, Chicago, which deemed him an 'orator by divine rights', Vivekananda quoted, "Religion does not consist in erecting temples or building churches, or in books or lectures or organisations, Religion consists in realisation."

Vivekananda believed in the practice of examining the idea behind each theory that he came across before fashioning it into his life. His theory appeals to the communal rioters to follow a 'Sceptical Approach' before unconscionably sharpening their weapons against their people at the call of deliberate instigation by 'Demagogues.'

According to Swamiji, “Science is the search for truth in the external world, while Spirituality is the search for truth in the internal world." He believed that 'Modern science' and 'Ancient wisdom' complemented each other, and condensed together, forming an ideal Youth. He introduced Vedanta Philosophy and Yoga to the West and raised interfaith awareness among the masses. ‘Faith’ is our supreme power as Indians, but we are obliterating it under foreign influence.

It is the due responsibility of the young generation to preserve India’s ancient past and strive exemplarily to realise the goal of ‘Panch Pran' of Amrit Kaal. Swamiji awakens the youth of today to adopt a purposeful lifestyle and inspires them to "Arise, Awake and stop not till the goal is achieved."

While on one side of the coin, India is the most populous country in the world, on the other side, this younger multitude is the vast resource of the country to be treasured. The Indian youth is at the forefront of new technologies in Data Science, Machine learning, and Artificial intelligence. The emerging internet-based services have influenced a start-up culture and ignited the entrepreneurial spirit in the Nation. Foreign investors have begun to consider India as an investment hub for its upskilled younger population. The Government initiatives of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ have polished the employability of the youth on a larger scale.

In the views of Swamiji, “Even the greatest fool can accomplish a task if it were after his heart, but it is the intellectual who converts every work into one that suits his taste.” From Rocket Science to the Agricultural fields, Science for Cure(Medicine) to Science of Simplification(Engineering), and from the Sky of Knowledge right to the Ground of Service, today, Indians are excelling at every field of work they are. India contributes the largest number of qualified technologists to the global workforce. Thus, In an era where most countries in the world are falling short of a working-age population due to mass aging and low natality rate, India is at a golden advantage to supply a host of services to labor-intensive sectors of these countries.

Breathing a newer zeal into time, it is the youngsters of today who ought to hold the tricolour high on the global stage, the upcoming tomorrow. And so this rational leader who, despite being born in the then enslaved India, broke the fictitious chains of servitude, today becomes the conscience of the potential youth of independent India and quotes, “Act on young men, Work, Work the idea, the plan, My boys! My brave, noble, good souls. Put your shoulders on the wheels of nation-building.” To whose call is the young generation of heart and energy, responds by duly following the unerring path of Swami Vivekananda, in no time they shall become the ‘Swami' of their very purposeful lives, indeed fulfilling Vivekananda’s claim, thereby revolutionizing the fate of the entire country.

About the article
India, celebrating its 75th year of independence, aims to be a global leader, or 'Vishwaguru.' With 66% of its population under 35, India's youth is crucial for achieving its ambitious goal of a 5 trillion economy. Swami Vivekananda's teachings on education and spirituality resonate, emphasizing the youth's role in nation-building. Despite challenges like drug addiction, the youth's potential in fields like technology and entrepreneurship shines. Vivekananda's call to "Arise, Awake" is a rallying cry for the youth to lead India's future, embodying his vision of a purposeful, ideal nation.


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