Youths of India - Youths of India

Youths of India

There are a number of important issues in respect of which there is among the youths of India, a discernible quest. A number of young people have expressed their wish to have an opportunity to discuss these issues with those leaders of thought in our country, whose views are likely to provide guidance to them.

These issues can be formulated as follows:

a) India has a long and uninterrupted history, and the present problems of India cannot be understood properly without having a synoptic view of this long history. Could this history be studied synoptically and in such a way that the problems of contemporary India can be understood in their proper perspective? What guidance can we get in this regard? What books or studies could be recommended?

b) What are the crucial issues of India today? Can there be a list of priority in respect of these issues?

c) It is often said that India's basic problem is that of poverty. Right from 1947, this problem has been highlighted. What is the reason for not having been able to solve this problem, even though India has been free to devise its own ways for tackling this problem?

d) It has also been argued that a central problem of India is related to the integrity of India. What exactly is meant? Is it the presence of linguistic differences or religious differences or cultural differences or ethnic
differences, which are responsible for the continuous threat of disintegration? How can this problem be resolved?

e) It has been argued that partition of India, which was not desired by the Indian leaders but which ultimately came to be imposed upon India, has been the main factor for the continuing weakness of India. Is it a correct assessment? What are the ways and means by which these weaknesses which are supposed to have arisen due to the partition of the country can be remedied?

f) It has also been argued that India could have solved its problems, if India were able to control its population. Since independence, India's population has become three times bigger than what it was in 1947. We are now more than a billion people. What are the reasons for not controlling the growth of population in our country? And given the fact that we have now a huge population, how are we to secure desirable progress in the country? Or are we doomed to be constantly dragged backward on account of the pressure of population?

g) We talk today of the increasing productivity in the country. What is the real substance and truth about this productivity? Is this productivity adequate to meet even the basic needs of the country? If not, how are we to reach the level of productivity that is needed even at the minimum level, ‒ at the level at which nobody in India lives or is required to live below the poverty line?

Youths of India

Youths of India

h) Productivity depends upon several factors, including trained labour force, capital formation, management capabilities and infra-structural efficiency. What do you think should be done in our country to ensure that all these factors are combined optimally?

i) It has been contended that one of the greatest failures of the post- independent India is the inability of the country to produce adequate supply of electricity. Do you think that this is a correct assessment? Is it not a fact that there is a constant breakdown all over the country in the supply of electricity? Is it not a fact that load shedding has become a daily familiar phenomenon? No country can move forward with this kind of scenario. What do you think is the answer to this deplorable situation? Are there any studies on the issue and what are the prospects for the country to meet the energy needs and, that too, in the foreseeable future?

j) There are, we are told, deeper issues that we need to understand and resolve. For example, there is a serious problem in our country regarding the objectives of education, methods of education and contents of education. Despite several Reports on these issues, why is it that the country has not been able to provide education, and quality education, at all levels of the society? And how is it that the scheme of education designed and implemented by the British has not been changed, even though promises were made during the freedom struggle that free India will evolve a truly national system of education appropriate to the historical background of the country and appropriate to the national spirit as also to the increasing internationalism all over the world? Do you have vision regarding this problem? Do you have practicable suggestions? And do you think there is any literature on this subject which the youths can study for their guidance?

k) A serious problem in our country is related to work ethos. We see everywhere neglect of maximum effort and neglect of dedication that is required to produce tangible results. How to infuse the right work ethos in our country?

1) There are also deeper questions regarding the understanding of Indian culture. Various views and conflicting views are being presented and advocated. Youths of today are confused and hardly any comprehensive view is made available to the youths. How are we to understand our culture? How shall we be able to understand our identity as a nation and how are we to foster it in the context of powerful forces of globalisation?

m) There is also a serious problem in regard to India's relationship with the neighbouring countries as also with other countries of the world, and particularly with the leading countries of the world. How are we to understand properly and adequately the issues of India as a member of the world? And how are we to stand effectively in the march of civilisation so that, on the one hand, we can foster our own identity and prosperity, and, on the other hand, we can make significant contribution to the advancement of humanity and human unity?

Youths of India

Youths of India

n) Patriotism was the great force in our country during the freedom struggle. We have seen how this spirit of patriotism has weakened over the decades. Why have we allowed the decline of this great spirit? And how shall we infuse the country with patriotism and with the spirit of commitment and dedication to the country as also to the largest interests of humanity?

o) There are, it has been said, specific problems in regard to the conflict of religions in the country. Are these conflicts real? Or are they being created? How are we to study these problems? And how are we to contribute to the resolution of these problems?

p) It has also been said that there is a great deal of confusion in our country in regard to the ideologies which are being advocated by different political parties. The conflicts of these ideologies seem to be more complex in India than anywhere else in the world. Can these ideologies be explained to the youths in an impartial manner so that the youths can assess them properly in the widest possible context and can arrive at their own conclusions after due thought and consideration?

q) It has been argued that our Constitution needs drastic changes. It has also been argued that there are thinkers in our country who have practicable suggestions for constitutional changes, but political parties do not allow these changes to be effected. Can the young people of today be explained how a new Constitution can be given to our country which will counteract effectively the criminalisation of politics, practices of corruption and use of money power and muscle power for gaining political power in the country? How shall we make new India worthy of the spirit of India and worthy of the great role that India has to play in the world at large?

r) It has been argued that there are specific problems that we must study in respect of India's relationship with China, European Union and USA.
What are these problems and how profitably can these problems be studied by the youths of India?

s) It has been contended that India has made great progress in scientific and industrial research. Can we get an authentic account of this advancement? And can we get a road map so that the youths of today can develop an appropriate vision? How can they contribute to the further advancement in scientific and industrial research?

t) We are speaking today of vision of 2020. Can we have more precision about this vision? In what way can we promote this vision? And how can the youths of today be empowered to develop bolder and bolder visions which would be appropriate to the greatness of India which has shown in the past long history of spiritual wisdom, intellectual robustness, and amazing vitality? It has been said that past is our foundation but the future has to be greater than the past. Will the youths of India get a vision whereby they can feel inspired to create a new India that should be greater than India of the past?

Youths of India

Youths of India

The great ideal of the brahmacharin has been the cornerstone of Indian culture and this ideal celebrates both youth and youthfulness. The central pillar of this ideal is the capacity to abide by a firm resolution to concentrate on the goal of highest realisation and not to deviate from study and practice of truth and dharma.

While this ideal may seem severe, we have also a playful ideal of youth and youthfulness which is illustrated in the life of Lord Krishna as a child, as a boy, as an adolescent and as a growing youth. Lord Krishna comes before us with all his charm and attractiveness, with his expanding capacity and heroism, with his bursting joy and love for his friends, for his companions and even for animals. The ideal of youth and youthfulness as illustrated in Lord Krishna has provided to Indian culture a constant inspiration to remain ever-fresh by a constant renewal.

Examples can be multiplied, but it is enough to point out that one of the secrets of India's unbroken continuity can be traced to the theme of youthfulness which has always received the highest place in social life.

Today when we are at a critical stage of development and where things are disintegrating, we are in need of those elements of culture which would teach us the secret of integration. And youthfulness is the other name of integration.

I am happy that a number of themes have been chosen for this Conference and we are eager to learn from eminent scholars who will be speaking to us. We are sure that we shall be enriched in our knowledge, and I have no doubt that at the end of the experience of this Conference, we shall find ourselves to be younger than what we are now. For indeed knowledge is another name of youthfulness. And it is for this reason that knowledge was given the supreme importance in Indian culture. As Manusmriti declares:

न हायनैर्न पलितैर्न वित्तेन न बन्धुभिः ।
ऋषयश्चक्रिरे धर्मं योऽनूचानः स नो महान् ॥ १५४ ॥

Manusmriti 2.154

It is not by age or wealth or number of kins but by possession of knowledge that one gets eminence. So was ordained by the Rishis.

Youths of India

Back to Content