Youths of India - Youth Festival

Youth Festival



Inaugural Speech Youth by Kireet Joshi Educational Adviser, Ministry of Education & Social Welfare

At the outset, on this occasion of the inauguration of in Youth Festival, let me hail and salute the spirit and soul of the youth of­ India. Our call is to young India. For it is the young that is the central propelling force of the New Future. Whether we acknowledge it or not, the new future is in the making, and the modern youth is alive to it − consciously or unconsciously. His needs and aspirations have a meaning and significance. They are a call to a new dream and a new realisation. My appeal to everyone is to respond to the youth with a deep understanding.

The occasion of the youth festival which brings us together here is one of those which should be utilised more and more meaningfully for the widening and heightening of the cultural life of the country.
Festival is an expression of joy, but joy expressed in the language of creative symbol and rhythm is aesthesis, art and culture.
All expression, in fact, issues from Delight − Ananda, to use the Upanishadic term, − but all expression is not necessarily an adequate manifestation of Delight. And that is why all expression not necessarily aesthetic or artistic. To achieve Art, 1t is not enough to express. Much more is needed. Expression must embody manifestly the Delight. According to Indian Aesthetics, all expression has, behind it, a secret Rasa, but when that expression brings forth in its form, texture and vibration an inevitable rhythm and harmony, it achieves the consumption of the manifest Rasa − and that is the meaning and heart of Art in all its varied forms.

The degree and extent to which the consummation is achieved in the field of art in any nation gives us the index and measure of the Cultural efflorescence of that national life. It is true that Art is not the only component of culture, for culture has also the intellectual, ethical and spiritual components. But it can be safely said that even these components find their full value in physical life through their appropriate creative and artistic expressions. This is true even of spirituality, the main tendency of which is towards the Formless, the Timeless and the Spaceless. For if spirituality is to succeed in the physical life, this can be done potently and widely through its embodiment in perfectly cultivated artistic expressions. Conversely also, the artistic expression finds its zenith when it embodies the highest spiritual summits and widest vistas of vision

Youth Festival

Youth Festival

Such is the utility and glory of art taken in its widest sense. And therefore events of national life that relate to aesthetic Delight and delightful art are of great significance and deserve to be welcomed and cherished.

But youth festivals are yet of a greater significance even of crucial significance. For here we touch upon at deeper dimension, the dimension of education. This is Important particularly because our present system of education is geared merely to a process of some kind of training and it does not allow culture and cultural activities to play their right role in the development of personality. Culture in our system is merely incidental to the process of training. In the right system of education, however, culture must be the inspiring force of training, and the art of continuous progress must be the goal both of culture and training. In our present system we are obliged to consider cultural activities as extra-curricular activities. And this has an adverse effect on the value that is attached to activities of Drama, Music, Poetry, Dance and other forms, of Fine Arts. Very often, therefore, these activities are neglected or ignored and they come into play only in the context of cultural festivals or cultural programmes. The new system of education that we have to envisage must do away with the artificial distinction of curricular and extra-curricular, and cultural activities should be integrated as a part of a comprehensive programme of studies. In fact, culture must be a method of learning and provision must be made by which culture can permeate in the contents of studies. Thus, cultural activities will be more common and more widely spread among the students.

But in spite of the fact that culture does not receive the high place which it should in our educational system, it is heartening to note that the youth activity in the field of culture in our country has been remarkably constructive and creative, often bold in conception and quite brilliant in execution, especially in the Performing Arts. In fact, our youths have received a powerful influence of the post-Independence Renaissance, which is in several ways different from the pre-Independence Renaissance. During the pre-Independence Renaissance, there was freshness, profundity and aristocracy. The post-Independence Renaissance, however, is characterized by dissent and protest of youthful, artists, writers and performers. They have received the traditional forms and values, but changed them into powerful imaginative adaptations. For example, youthful play-writers and actors delved deep into the traditional heritage of the Indian theatre and their discoveries were highlighted in the work of the Indian Peoples' Theatre Association which they had set up. The latest power of the traditional folk forms was utilised for some brilliant creations and it was due to such efforts that music found its rightful place in drama and brought into vogue such unsophisticated instruments as the nagara and manjira. The creative revival of the old folk theatre attracts big audiences in large cities. The free and uninhibited expression and the flexibility in the presentation or dramatic events characterizing folk theatre has given rise to new forms in the writing of these plays. Young writers and performers display remarkable freedom and frankness in their expression of themes which often takes the form of strong and biting criticism of the Establishment. The search of the youth for new folk forms leads not only to new art forms, but also a deep understanding of the rural masses of the traditional culture and their ways of life. These youthful critics of the Establishment often highlight topical events to ridicule the high and mighty in the poetical, social and religious spheres.

Youth Festival

Youth Festival

The post-Independence musical scene of India is more complicated, and it is being more and more influenced by the mass media, specially the radio and the films. Some of the youthful musicians have also been influenced by the Pop and Jazz elements of Western music and the western type of harmonised music is being blended by them with the traditional melodic pattern. It is true that the older artists follow the classical traditions in music, but they have begun to find themselves at a disadvantage now, and the more dynamic among them are experimenting with new modes and methods under the influence of the new winds of the social and cultural change that is taking place all over the world. Apart from theatre and music, new initiatives have been taken by the youth in other artistic fields, visual arts and literature. Young writers have written significant novels, stories and poems, And in all fields of cultural activities, the young have broken away from old forms and traditional, and the recent efflorescence owes much to their resourceful efforts and enthusiasm. I have no doubt that in the Youth Festival which begins here today; we shall have several examples of such innovative efforts of the youths of the Punjab University.

But there are some deeper questions of the functions of art to which we must address ourselves. The post-Independence India has still not discovered the real source and spirit of the ever-living Indian culture. There is still too much of imitation and even superficiality. There is too much of adaptation, and art is being reduced to the level of mere entertainment and amusement. Often, there is an evident tendency to descend into vulgarity and obscenity. This is the danger against which we need to give a strong caution. Not that art should not be a means of entertainment, but our effort must be to transform all entertainment into a refined aesthetic experience. It is true that aesthetics is not ethics, that art is not morality, that art does not prescribe. But, at the same time, we must underline that aesthetics is a great door of revelation of wonder and mystery. And in that sense, although art may not give us prescriptions, it does give us perceptions. And, it may be added that more often than not, these perceptions are the purificaters of our ordinary life. Art need not become morality in order to become an instrument of purification and transformation. Art must move on its own lines, and we find that the highest forms of art are the most powerful instruments of uplifting man out of his present mixed nature by giving him the contact; and perception of the ineffable Beauty and Truth.

Youth Festival

Youth Festival

We need not be the western way, American or European. We need not make art an instrument of commercialism and vulgarity. We must make art an instrument of joy and progress that reveals to us the deeper and higher vistas of our being and existence. We need not be poor in our themes. We need not be cheap in our subjects. The world is wonderful and daily there are fresh revelations of the wonderful secrets of this world. There is an explosion of knowledge, and we are at the head of a new age of synthesis. The future presents to us a most difficult challenge, and we are obliged to bring the East and the West together and to cast all the influences which come to us into the large and international Indian culture. We need a deeper Renaissance of art, music, dance, drama, literature, and we are in need of utilising our talents and gifts in the creation of newer forms surcharged with nobler themes and undying inspiration. It is therefore necessary that occasions such as these Youth Festivals are dedicated to the cause of a greater Renaissance of Indian culture. This is my central plea to the youths of our country.

 I have no doubt that the modern youth has immense potentialities to fulfil the task of meeting the challenges of the greater Renaissance of which we have spoken. For the gaze of the modern youth extends today to the distant horizons of the universe. He has witnessed the launching of the spaceships and the meeting of the astronauts and cosmonauts in the open heavens of endless expansion. To him, the earth is a planet seen from far and from above. In his ideal vision of himself, he is a voyager of Space and Time, and a neighbour of the Moon and Jupiter. The modern youth is an internationalist and a lover of science. To his inborn sense of idealism, the divisions of the world, political blocks of humanity, discriminations of religion, race and colour are unreal. The aspirations of the modern youth transcend the limitations of ordinary manhood and the ordinary culture of the ordinary man. The modern youth is a seeker of a greater culture, of a greater manhood or of supermanhood. In these aspirations, we have the promise of a better tomorrow. And in this promise, we rejoice and move forward in the hope that what we are seeking we shall achieve.

Against the forces that resist the birth of the New World, there is, let us affirm, a great gust and a deep yearning to discover or to find the key to transfer the divided world into a happy family of man. This is the universal thrust towards the Future and it is in this drive that India has to take up her right role, the leading role. The children and the youth of India are to be prepared for this great work, so that they are able to contribute mightily and creatively to the new creation. To participate in this work, all the youths of India need to be invited, and this Festival can be a fitting occasion for extending this invitation.

With these words I inaugurate this Festival.

Jai Hin

Youth Festival

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