Reinventing Youth Power
Dr. Satya Pal Singh
Technological and telecommunications advancements have today revolutionized our lives and in the 3rd millennium we are in the throes of a world-wide change of cultures, a tectonic shifts of habits and dreams. It has really become a borderless world as the Japanese thinker Kinichi Ohmae puts it. As in The Tale of Two Cities authored by Charles Dickens, he says it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. On one hand we are unfolding unknown mysteries and secrets of nature and approaching the origin of human configuration. On the other, most of our people still believe in superstitions, stars, horoscopes etc. and direction in which our house faces. On one hand, we have achieved unparalleled material progress, searching for extra-terrestrial life hundreds of light years away. On the other, we have millions and millions of people starving, naked, illiterate and deceived. All sorts of crimes and contradictions, cultural decadence and moral degeneration are causing the mother earth to bleed everyday. Number of youth committing suicides is much more than the number of people murdered. Millions of youth are disenchanted and are destroying their lives in drinks, drugs, permissive behaviour and organized crime syndicates. Families are breaking and this beautiful world is becoming unsafe and insecure.
The root cause of this malaise is not the culture of wealth and pleasure but our wrong direction, faulty traditional ethos, misconceived attitudes and incorrect priorities in life. Achievement have always been the privilege of a few. Most youngsters drift along with the swift current of life unconcerned or unable to stop and look at the current itself. The youth are an emerging generation. The are full of energy. They are enthusiastic. They constantly search for values that can make a success of life. In this endeavour they encounter the adult world, often only to be disillusioned and disappointed. The biggest attraction for modern youth is to enjoy life –eat, drink and make merry and so he or she likes to go after money and pleasure. There is nothing wrong in enjoyment and money. Indra – the king of gods and goddesses is the epitome of wealth and pleasure. Laksmi always accompanies Lord Vishnu. Chankaya says “Dharmshaya Moolam Aartha” i.e. means and money is the root of righteousness. In olden days India attracted the entire world mainly because of two things-knowledge and wealth.
Youth are the foundations of the New World order. They are the movers, makers and torchbearers of history, culture and technology. They need direction to bind them into a moral force, to creatively utllise their youthful energies, to sustain their idealism, to keep them striving and enkindle hope for a better social, economic and political order. “Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of young men, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation.” said Edmund Burke, the English orator and statesman, in the 18th Century. Youth energy is just like water, which flows automatically downwards, unlike fire.
Like water to tap the potential of youth, we require lots of conscious efforts, resources and time to channelise their energy in the right direction to make it productive and blossomed. The litmus test for the right direction is that it offers opportunities for individual harmonious development alongwith the larger well-being and sustained advancement of society.
For reinventing the dissipated youth power, I believe the following ways and means are required:
(1) Planning Human Beings :
Increasing individualism and menacing materialism are throttling humanism. Humanity is bleeding and the youth is getting bewildered. We plan for houses, roads, schools, hospitals etc. but not for human beings. Children are born out of permissiveness. Producing noble and virtuous citizens warrant elaborate planning, best education and sacraments. Recent medical and sociological studies are almost conclusively signalling that the fetus is the father of man. The seer of Rigveda realized it much before and exhorted “Manurbhav janya daivyam janam” – be human and plan for angels”. There is a Chinese proverb too.
“If you want to plan for a year, grow corn.
If you want to plan for thirty years plant trees
But if you want to plan for 100 years plan human beings”.
Planning of human beings starts with the parents in a family, with teachers in schools and colleges and with contemporary leaders in the country. Parents to build up the core of culture, teachers to chisel the statue out of raw stones and leaders to influence the course and contents of eventful eventual national life.
(2) Scientific Ethos :
A blind addiction to ancestral ways retards growth of a society or a nation. There is an urgent need of scientific temper or approach to be imbibed by our youth to successfully face the challenges of the present and the future. The world power is divided in three sectors :- agrarian nations in the bottom, industrial countries in between and knowledge – based economies on top. Unless the youth have scientific knowledge – driven approach, their energy will remain dissipated in following the beliefs in the endless sects, stars and superstitions and criticizing the cultural assault from developed countries. We have to remember that history provides lessons about the pyramids and pitfalls of tradition. But whoever follows the practices of the past, copy contemporaries without recourse to reason and the sustained application of laws of nature finds himself a prisoner of the past and perishes in the black hole of oblivion.
(3) Youth and Politics :
The unproductive diversion of the youth’s mind from the age of 18 in youth and general politics requires to be checked. Unions and elections in colleges and Universities should be banned and the voting age should be increased to 25 so that till the completion of education, his/her attention is not diverted to politics at all.
(4) Maturity with Responsibility :
To instill maturity among the youth, they need to be given responsibilities. Result – oriented tasks in education and productive work have to be emphasized. Youth have to be self – dependent and must find ways to get settled in life on their own. Every village, town or city should have good libraries, institutions or organizations in the field of adventure, sports, technical and professional know – how, spiritualism etc, so that the youth is self – employed or self – dependent and is left with no spare energy to indulge in destructive things.
(5) Communal Harmony :
There is a need to emphasise upon the youth, in the midst of plethora of religions, that the truth is only one, as the one human race itself. “Yatha pinde tatha Brahmande” means that what is in microcosm (body), same is reflected in macrocosm (universe). The health of the body gets disturbed with just one injured or diseased organ. Similarly, the well – being and advancement of a society or nation runs into peril because of cross – cultural and deviant behaviours. The sum-substance of all religions and revelations is to impart love to others as we expect from others.
(6) Discipline in life :
For enjoying the pleasures on earth we require a long life, sound health, family and friends, power and prestige. Make money and enjoy pleasures but not at the cost of our lives; at the cost of our health, at the cost of our family and friends; certainly not at the cost of our name, fame and reputation. If we can do this we will be happy, happier in days to come and closer to self – realization. The seer of eternal vision has prayed to God “Aayur Praanam Prajaam phashum keertim darvinam brahmvarchasam mhyam datva brijat brahmlokam.” If we do not bother about it now, we have to repent for generations to come
“Lamho ne khata kee thee
Sadiyo ne saja paaye”.
(7) Walk around and Learn :
“Eternity speaks none understands its word” thus observed Sri Aurbindo in his famous treatise ‘Savitri’ . Today’s youth is so much lost in leisure’s and luxuries or so much disappointed and disenchanted for lack of it that he or she may go wild or wicked to acquire them. We do not listen to the call of the body and drive ourselves to diseases and decay by indulging in merry making. We do not bother to listen to the voice of our soul and engage ourselves in vices and crimes. We, at many times, do not take any lesson from the animate and inanimate world around us . Every molecule of a matter, every leaf of a tree and every tissue of the biological world speaks of some orderliness, purpose, beauty and power.
Whoever listens to this melody of creation, who ever realizes about the purpose of life turns into a leader, a seer or a great man. History is created by those, its golden chapters are written by those who have discarded the treaded path and discovered new ways. Life is an essence of growth. It must grow with time like a tree.
(8) Pain precedes pleasure :
Last but not the least, I would like to state that every youth would like to be welcomed with a presentation of flowers and lighting of lamps. But this world worships only those who engage themselves in dispelling the darkness of ignorance and whoever is prepared to get sacrificed like a blossomed flower. Indian national Hindi poet Shri Dinkar had sung :
Jo jeeven bhar andhiyaro se ladte hai
Duniya unke charano mai deep jaalati hai
Phoolo jaisi Jharne kee jinkee tayyari hai
Khusbu unke maathe par tilak lagaati hai.
Lord Krishna had said to Arjun after explaining to him the gist of knowledge and life.
“Vimrsayai tad assesena yathecchasi tatha kuru”
“Reflect over what I have said fully and then do what you wish”. Bertrend Russell has echoed the same feelings when he said – “Civilization only begins when man says I believe, but I may be wrong. It ends when man says, I know the truth, I know what you ought to do, and it is my mission and duty to see that you do it.”
Commissioner of Police