January 12 is celebrated as the National Youth Day every year since 1985 which has been an indelible part of India’s tradition. Incidentally, this was also the day when Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest social reformers, thinkers, and philosophers of India, was born. He was the pioneer in leading the youth to meaningful protests through associations. The philosophy, ideas, and teachings of Swami Vivekananda can justifiably be called national assets from traditional and cultural points of view. At the same time, the youth are the future of our country. He belonged to the 19th century, yet his message and his life are more relevant today than in the past and perhaps, will be more relevant in future because persons like Swami Vivekananda do not cease to exist with their physical death.
He said, “My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will become my workers they will work out the whole problem. They will spread my message from centre to centre until we cover the whole of India.” He had to arise and awake a Nation which felt like a slave, under the shadow of the British and the west. It would be difficult to name any freedom fighter that time and afterwards also, who were not influenced by the thoughts, ideals, and patriotism of Swamiji. Actually, if we analyse critically we will find that development of oneness, unity and the role of Indian became clear to everybody only after the speeches and works of Swami Vivekananda. In many places during his lecture session he had said, “Our country requires a hero, be a hero, stand firm like a rock. Be brave, Man dies but once”. Youths are everything, they have the capability to do anything out of the box, the only thing they need is the direction or a mentor for the future of our country.Today, the youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision-making processes and freely express themselves. The youth is considered to be the best asset of any country and investment in the human resource promises astonishing returns.
Swami Vivekananda’s teachings and Philosophy is very much relevant today. The number of problems that the nation is facing today can be solved through his teachings. Swamiji’s life and speeches are capable enough to develop in anybody the patriotic feelings and in return, the person is bound to contribute in the Nation Building. His call to the nation is: “Arise, awake; wake up yourself, and awaken others. Achieve the consummation of life before you pass off. Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.”
I would like to conclude with one of his quotation “My hope of the future lies in the youths of character, intelligent, renouncing all for the service of others, and obedient – good to themselves and the country at large”. Our elders need to understand that a little space and trust shown in them will open the doors of the opportunities for the youngsters.
Swami Vivekananda taught us the essence of nationalism in his bold writings. He wrote: “Our sacred motherland is the land of religion and philosophy- the birthplace of the spiritual giants – the land of renunciation, where and where alone, from the most ancient to the most modern times, there has been the highest ideal of life open to man.”