India’s population is over one billion and out of it, 40 percent are young men and women in the age group of 15 and 30. They form a huge, reservoir of energy and cream of the country. Wisdom and discretion are not the monopolies of the elders alone.
The young men and women are also intelligent and wise and much of a nation’s progress and future depend upon them. According to Samuel Johnson, “Young men have more virtue than old men; they have more generous sentiments in every respect.”
Young people are full of abundant energy, courage, spirit for adventure imagination, hope, and ambition. These can be very well used in the constructive and developmental activities of the country. These should not be allowed either to go to waste or used for destructive purposes.
The young men and women of India should be fully involved in the creative work of nation-building and reconstruction. The younger generation, which is more generous, flexible, sensitive, and dynamic can do wonders if properly guided and motivated.
It is with the help of the young men and women of China that Mao Tsetung, the chairman of the People’s Republic of China (1949-59) and of the Chinese Communist Party affected the great Cultural Revolution which transformed the whole of China into one of the great political and military powers of the world.
Mao was well aware of the great power, exuberance, spontaneity, plasticity, ebullience, and unlimited energy to act found in the youth and used these to a great advantage for himself and China. Besides China, there are many other countries like France, Indonesia, etc. where the youth has helped in changing the course of history in more than one way.
It is easy to blame the youth of India for impatience, indiscipline, irreverence for the elders, authority, and social customs. They are also charged with laziness, recklessness, addiction to drugs, and such other mg-practices. But all these reflect one-sidedness and lack of proper understanding on the part of the elders and grown-ups.
No doubt the youth of modern India has its own limitations, problems, etc. but these can be removed or decreased to a great extent by sympathy, understanding, and appreciation of the young generation. If the youth of India have any shortcomings and faults, the elder people are to blame because the former mirror the latter.
Proper orientation and positive steps are the need of the hour to engage the youth of the country in nation-building activities. Their zeal, enthusiasm, and energy need to be channelized in the developmental activities and social reconstruction. The Indian youth, full of inexhaustible power is always eager to do something positive, constructive, and appreciable for the society and nation.
In order to harness the youth-power of the country, a National Youth Policy has been framed to instill in the youth a deep awareness of national ideals of secularism, non-violence, integration, and our ancient historical and cultural heritage.
It also aims at developing in the youth qualities of discipline, self-reliance, leadership, justice, Fairplay, sporting spirit, and scientific temper so as to enable them to combat superstitions, obscurantism, and other numerous social ills and evils.
With the above objectives in view adventure institutions, cultural centers, Yuvak Kendras, sports centers, etc. have been established in various important cities and towns of the country. For example, the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi, and National Adventure Foundation are two important institutions for the promotion of adventure.
These provide training facilities and financial assistance for undertaking mountaineering, hiking, trekking, expeditions, explorations, cycle tours, etc. to promote a feeling of oneness and unity. The young men and women of India exchange visit from one part of the country to the others. It helps them familiarise themselves with different environments, lifestyles, and social customs.
Then there is the National Service Scheme. Its main objective is to involve the college and +2 level students on a voluntary and selective basis in the program of social service and national development. Started in 1969, now it is being implemented in all the states and union territories and covers over 5,000 colleges.
Under this scheme rural and slum reconstruction, repair of roads and school-buildings, village ponds, tanks, tree plantation, conservation of the environment, health and family welfare, adult and women education, etc. are undertaken.
The students also help local authorities in implementing various relief and rehabilitation programs. At times of natural calamities like floods, droughts, famines, and earthquakes NCC students and volunteers play a very important positive and constructive role.
There are special schemes for the tribal youth to give them vocational training and to update their skills to help them in self-employment. There are youth, hostels strewn all over the country to promote travel among young men and women by providing cheaper accommodation when on educational tours and excursions to historical and cultural places.
And the Nehru Youak Kendras, about 446 in number and spread all over the country, serve non-students and rural youth to improve their personality and employment capability Under the international scouting and guiding movement Bharat Scouts and Guides and All India Boys Scouts Association are inculcating in me Indian youth a spirit of loyalty, patriotism and thoughtfulness for others.
But still, more and vigorous efforts are needed to solve the problems of the youth. They are a frustrated lot for want of proper employment opportunities. Our education system does not take note of their requirements and so fails to prepare them well for life and career
The red-tapism, nepotism, cast considerations, and favoritism add further to their problems and frustration. For want of proper leadership and ideals, they suffer from a lack of direction, purpose, and decisiveness.
The task of tackling these and other problems of the youth is difficult, enormous, and challenging but not impossible. It is the duty of the government, voluntary agencies, the corporate world, and the society to see that the youth-power is properly harnessed, that the young men and women are properly educated and trained, and subsequently satisfactorily employed.
The advanced and developed countries are so because they have had been investing heavily ‘for the last many decades in the schemes and programs related to the training, education, orientation, and welfare of their youth.
With the passage of time, the number of young people in India is likely to increase and so it becomes imperative that more effective ways and means are found to use their vast energy in economical reconstruction and social regeneration activities.
Perhaps, one of the best ways can be the greater involvement of them in welfare schemes, community development programs, and nation-building activities so as to generate in them a sense of purpose, pride, self-confidence, and relevance. It is only by such means and efforts that the young people in India can be given the much-needed self-confidence and a sense of fulfillment and belonging.
They can be inspired to work in the slums, villages, and hamlets in their spare time. They can be urged to adopt families, villages, or clusters of houses to improve sanitation, education, social awareness, economic condition, and skills of the people residing in them.