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Youth In Nation Building: The Past, Present And Future

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By Sridhar Neelam:

Bhagat Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, all of them had different conceptions about the notion of imperialism and adopted different strategies to achieve self rule in India. Bhagat Singh went the extremist way, Nehru believed in a single phase struggle to gain Independence while The Mahatma spearheaded the multi-phase struggle using truth and non-violence as the decisive weapons. Though Bhagat Singh realised that his approach, though effective for a short period on a small constituency, was not a foolproof plan to awaken the masses at large and involve them into the massive movement to gain independence, it was already too late with the British Indian Government hanging him and other extremists to death. Thankfully, after few years Nehru fell into track with the ideology of Gandhi for a lot of consecrated factors.

I particularly wish to focus upon the convictions of these three great leaders for two reasons. One is for the kind of impact they had on the whole pace of the freedom struggle and the other is for the kind of radical approach they developed to overthrow the semi-hegemonic British rule. Going a bit deeper into the freedom struggle it was increasingly essential for India to adopt a common strategy to awaken the masses, involve all the classes of the society from peasants to capitalists, accumulate resources to organize struggle and then to finally claim the transfer of power. But then, different people had different perceptions, Bhagat Singh was pro-anarchist communist, Nehru believed in socialism, Jinnah fought for Pakistan on communal propaganda; so it was getting difficult to encompass the whole nation’s consciousness and culminate in a common ideology to achieve independence. With whole lot of ideologies and approaches, there was a need for a captivating leader who would guide the nation in its struggle for self rule on path of righteousness. The Mahatma was the answer. He almost brought a revolution in the nation with his already tested methods of Satyagraha and Ahimsa. Studying different movements, we can conveniently generalize that for any struggle or agitation to succeed, there is a need to develop an adaptable approach which would motivate our fellow countrymen to join the movement irrespective of the sacrifices to be made and the time devoted which was in most cases a whole lifetime.

Coming back to the present day, I feel the whole nation is going through another phase of freedom struggle. Separate state agitations, caste based politics, rampant corruption in government institutions, communal riots, Maoist chaos, terrorism; all these in the 21st century. If it was the British tyrants then, it is the Swadeshi goons today. But it does not really matter whether it is British, Indian or Pakistani because the main culprit is the basic human vice: selfishness. It is interesting to note that we successfully overcame the British Rule with the participation of the whole nation. Thousands of individuals sacrificed their lives for spreading the movement and finally concluding it after almost 100 yrs of struggle. So what stands out in these individuals and what made it possible for them to go to the extent of giving up everything they had? Though Patriotism seems to be the probable option, if looked upon the fundamental level we will understand that it was the selflessness of the large number of Indians which was able to bring out an emotional connection among the millions.

In today’s era of globalization, rapid industrialization, hectic corporate jobs, corrupt politics, irrelevant media, people hardly find time to think about the millions who do not have access to roti, kapdaa and makaan. The provision of these basic amenities eventually boils down to being the responsibility of the present youth who will be leading the next generation. But then it would only be effective if the youth put in their sincere and selfless efforts to the different roles they are taking up in the name of humanity.

It may be surprising to a lot of people that majority who take up Civil Services and Politics as a career do it with a clear intention of misusing power and to mint money. Youth are being attracted to an MBA or MS and then a lavish corporate job, and then a company and then more companies and then it goes on and on, the rat race. But what about our fellow countrymen? We leave them to the corrupt system, which no one cares to clean. Can it be cleaned?? Obviously NOT, but the fight against the selfish people should continue for which, capable selfless leaders need to make a lot of sacrifices. Will this wash away corruption? No. But it will prevent the bad guys from demanding a bribe for fulfilling their duties. They would still of course demand a bribe for huge expectations. At least corruption for overdoing a job is better than corruption for doing a job. This seems a possible scenario provided selfless youth take up responsibilities in the government. And for the rest of the junta, it is time that we think beyond donating a part of our salary to Old Age Homes or NGO’s. It is time we take up the job of uplifting our millions of brothers and sisters from the lower social strata. It is time we take up the fight of Good Vs Evil; Selflessness Vs Selfishness on a righteous note.

But how do we do this? Fortunately, there a lot of arenas in which this can be done.
1. Take up responsibilities in government institutions – IAS, IPS, IRS etc.
2. Take technology to grassroots through innovation – Social Scientist
3. Become a Social Entrepreneur – It is going to be the next revolution in the coming 5 yrs.
4. Join Politics – Perform duties with utmost transparency
5. Become a Social Leader – Initiate movements and organizations to involve communities in development activities
6. At a student level – Initiate and Spread the work of organizations like Nirmaan, NSEF etc.
7. Employees – Work part time in NGO’s, support them financially.

There will be a whole lot of other options as well. The above mentioned are only the significant ones. A majority of youth need to take up such initiatives. Only then is there a hope for a better India. People who don’t find the above points relevant, I have only one advice. “Try to love your society and family equally. You will eventually fall on track. You may fail several times, that is certain, but keep trying…keep loving.”

Practically thinking, the question of financial security of the family does arise, but then it’s the question of not just your family. The lives of millions are at stake. Sacrifices need to be made. Maybe simple living can be given a serious consideration. The world is stuck in a rat race for resources, comforts, luxuries. The world was stuck in the same rat race but was a bit slow during our freedom struggle. But then people made their choice, they chose selflessness. We too have to make a similar choice, though the kinds of efforts we need to put in are largely different. Our freedom fighters have just won a significant battle; we need to continue the war. It will go on endlessly, but we need to continue and win many more battles and make this world a better place to live in. Hope that the youth take up the task of nation building selflessly.

 

[box bg=”#fdf78c” color=”#000″]About the author: Sridhar Neelam was a Nirmaan Volunteer 2007-2011 and was chosen as the CEO for a nation-wide youth organization at the age of 22. To make the choice, he had to reject high paying corporate jobs and luxuries. In his role as the CEO he drives the organization towards making it more credible and impactful day by day. Building collaborative partnerships, initiating new projects, raising funds, interacting with rural women, youth and kids, inducting volunteers are some of the very regular things he is involved in.[/box]

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  1. Ramesh Reddy K

    it’s really an inspiring article..very well said and narrated.Keep up the good work ! Long way to go !

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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