Indian Youth and National Reconstruction
Undeniably, the youth constitute a vast reservoir of energy, especially in a huge country like India which now has population above 100 crores. Out of these total those in 15-30 age group constitute about 40% which means that nearly 40 crore young people, men and women, are available for handling various tasks of development, local regional and national. Over a decade ago Mao Tse Tung the famous chairman of Chinese Communist party and regarded by countless people as a builder of modern china, relied upon youth power to usher in a great cultured revolution.
Mao even closed down schools and colleges in order to mobilize the vast energy and enthusiasm of young people for the purpose of transforming the lethargic giant that was china into an active, reverberating polity. The Chinese youth indeed enacted memorable dramas of national reconstruction. The fact that a part of the achievement was a facet of the power struggle in this country is another matter.
About that time large parts of west Europe and north America was swept across by massive waves of youth and student power(many people regarded these two as the same). What has been called the “follies of youth and their luscious frivolity” should, however, give way to a sense of duty and responsibility.
In India several top ranking leaders have paid homage to youth power and have regarded it as an inexhaustible reservoir of human resources. These leaders, including elder statesman, expect India’s youth to devote their energies to the present-day takes of reconstructing India in accordance with the long accepted ideals.
Young men claiming to be the fathers of tomorrow, Mahatma Gandhi said “should be the salt of the nation”. If salt loses it’s flavor, “where it shall be salted?” their ideals were later enshrined in the constitution by the Founding fathers of the republic. The elder who think they alone have the monopoly of wisdom and must, therefore have the final say in everything we would tell them to remember an observation in an American test book on sociology in modern society “one is generally considered better, superior or more worthy, if he is younger rather than old”. The common talk of depravity and follies of the youth serves no useful purpose.
There is a little doubt that, given the right lead and guidance. India’s youth can create a new society by eliminating the evils, rectifying the deficiencies and facilitating the rein-statement of the highly cherished moral values, for which this country has stood through the centuries. High moral values, however, cannot by themselves ensure the requisite resurgence. They can lay the basis of development which would have to be in social, economic and political arenas also. This implies all round resurrection and uplifting the rural masses in particular from the state of stagnation in which they have sunk as a result of the shackles of tradition, senseless customs, ruthless and unchecked exploitation by greedy landlords over the centuries, besides ineffective official programs.
Most of the programs are merely on paper. Though involving considerable expenditure, they have not materially benefitted the needy.
Socially, the rural masses are gripped by wily village leaders, priests and other religious men who revel in superstitions. Educated young men and women, working in a missionary spirit, can help the people in riddling themselves of the pernicious grip of these priests and so called wise men of wizards of the villages. Young men should work among the male population, and woman should enlighten the women who have been traditionally more conservative and rigidly bound to the dictates of the holy men. Social emancipation and reconstruction involves tackling the dowry menaces, removing the caste and clan prejudices, checking corruption, elimination of untouchability, and other highly discriminatory practices, besides child marriage and ill treatment of widows.
The task seems formidable, and first attempts at reforming the system are bound to meet the rebuffs. There are vested interests in almost all these areas. But it would be wrong for enterprising youth to accept defeat and give up hope. Patience and preservance are essential if headway is to be made towards social progress in India. The massive illiteracy of the people makes the task of enterprising people even more difficult.
The task of economic reconstruction of the country is admittedly complex. It includes expecting development by facilitating implementation of the various programs drawn by government, both central and state. An official record of countries progress concedes that the youth play a key role in all spheres of life. Ever since the attainment of independence, programs and activities have been designed with a view to involve a large section of youth in nation building activities to promote secularism, national integration and spirit of adventure.
Young workers are expected to include among the people an appreciation of India’s rich and ancient cultural heritage. India’s youth policy aims at promoting governmental and non-governmental efforts in implementing various programs
One of the schemes launched with these objectives in view is the National service scheme, started in 1969, aiming at promoting social consciousness, a sense of responsibility as well as a sense of discipline and dignity of labour in youth. As part of the constructive involvement of student youth during their periods, large scale camping cover rural needs and the creation of durable assets of the community. Such special camps were organized with the following aims and themes in view. “Youth against famine”, “youth against disease”, “youth for afforestation and tree plantation”, “youth for rural reconstruction”, etc
Since 1981-82 economic development programs have been taken up by NSS volunteers who also did praiseworthy work as part of the programs for relief and rehabilitation of sufferers in natural calamities. The volunteers have helped in collection of funds, distribution of medicines and rendering other assistance in the rehabilitation process.
Nehru yuva Kendras, which are innovative multipurpose institutions, have been organized to promote and coordinate the activities of the non-student youth, mainly in the country side. The basic purpose of this scheme is to enable such youth to help the process of rural development and popularize national objectives. At these centers vocational training is imparted for self employment and social service, including activities for a better rural environment.
There is also the national service volunteer scheme, launched in 1977-78, which aims at providing opportunities to graduate students to involve themselves on a voluntary basis in nation building activities for a specific period on a wholesome basis. These volunteers are generally engaged in promoting adult education programs. After all, in education of rural adults, both men and women, lies their salvation. Hundreds of youth have also worked for national integration. In this connection exchanges of visits by youth of different regions of the country have been helpful.
India and other developing countries have a great number of youth population and there is a significant increase in youth population as per years pass. So this must be utilized for reconstruction of the nation.
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