Youth power can be neglected at our own peril. For youth can make or mar our society. Their creative potential is as immense as their destructive potential. Guide them well right from the mother’s lap to the corridors of the university, guiding them at every step, pulling them every time they error. Just with a smile and stick, if necessary, and appreciating for what they are and sparing time and money for them.
All this will go a long way. Don’t we feel proud of our engineers, doctors, scientist’s administrators, sport persons, film and TV artists and lakhs of others who have made India young and vibrant? The educated workings overseas as NRIs and otherwise make the rest of the world proud of India. Thus youth properly guided and provided opportunities can be catalysts for all round growth of the nation. Conversely where misguided, unemployed or brainwashed, they can tear apart the society. You can’t find more heinous expression of youth gone astray than in the global phenomenon of terrorism. Whatever be the compelling causes, terrorists are out to pull down societies be it in the US, India, Russia or Indonesia. It would indeed be a sea change if these young terrorists harness there vast destructive potential for creative causes. Every terrorist claim that he is rebel with a cause out to avenge the wrongs done to him and his people but what he fails to learn in his fit of anger is that violence breeds more violence.
The youth might find a world of hypocrites around them, a world that preaches ethics but indulges in all sorts of socially and ethically unacceptable human behaviour. The dichotomy between precept and practice is too galling for them. And for millions of youngsters, educated, semi skilled or illiterate nothing can be more demoralising than the gnawing feeling that they are of no use to themselves. This is the crippling feeling nursed by the growing army of unemployed and underemployed in the country. Many struggle and struggle and return crestfallen after seeing the no vacancy boards many migrate the big cities and take up odd jobs for a living and a few lucky and enterprising organize their own enterprises. But the bulk of them are left high and dry.
Frustration and alienation lead to drug abuse, drug peddling and many social and anti-social activities. Quite a few of them are used by political parties, the underworld and the mafia. Unemployment is a burning problem that as government can afford to ignore.
It is a time bomb waiting to explode. One might very well ask are we doing enough for our youth. The answer could be yes and no.
We have separate department for our youth affairs and sports. But having a separate department does not promise the youth all they need. Take the instance of sports. Our young stars in athletics and sports have come on their own without government help. Internationally, we are nowhere in any of the sports achievements, be it in Olympics or the Asian Game. We can only be proud of cricket heroes, the king of chess and a few celebrities in athletics. National youth policy framed in 1992 highlighted the points for the agenda for youth welfare (a) organizing the youth force for the promotion of national and cultural integrations (b) promoting awareness and involvement of youth in social welfare and service programmes like literacy, environment, health and family welfare (c), fostering and developing interaction between youths from different parts of the country especially the isolated and tribal areas, (d) promoting education and self-employment capability of the rural youth especially of girls and youth in backward areas developing the interest of youth in adventurous and audacious activities, (f) providing opportunities for leadership training. The National youth policy formulated in 1988 was indeed milestone in the sense that the state has at vision of how to make youth contribute in a better way to make the nation strong.
It sought to instill in the youth respect for the principles and values enshrined in our constitution to promote an awareness of our great heritage; to help develop scientific temper and the qualities of discipline, self-reliance, justice and fair play; and to provide them access to education in addition to developing their personality. The new policy has four thrust areas Youth, Empowerment, Gender Justice and Inter-sectorial Approach. The policy also focuses on certain categories such as youth with disabilities, rural youth and unemployment youth. Talent lies in abundant measure in youth what is required is tapping it in proper way. We have also shown to the world that we have some of the best brain. Youngsters of different discipline can be seen working in different parts of the world contributing their mite to the country from which they have migrated. Let us do every thing possible to tap the youth power.