We celebrate 12 January as National Youth Day in India. It is the day to mark the contribution of youth to society. The day is also about encouraging the youth to persevere and achieve greater goals in life. If the youth of the country dedicate themselves to the greater good, the country will surely grow.
The National Youth Day in India is also Swami Vivekananda’s Birthday. This is because we celebrate Swami Vivekananda Jayanti as a day dedicated to the youth. But what is the connection between him and the youth? How is a spiritual and religious leader connected to the youth?
Quotes of Swami Vivekananda
If we wish to understand this relation, we must look at some of the writings of Swami Vivekananda on youth,
“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.”Swami Vivekananda
Here, Swami Vivekananda is emphasizing the role of youth in society and the qualities they need to build in themselves. A lot of his writings address the youth of the country because he firmly believed that it is the youth of India with the potential to transform the country.
“Supreme value of youth period is incalculable and indescribable. Youth life is the most precious life. Youth is the best time. The way in which you utilize this period will decide the nature of coming years that lie ahead of you.”Swami Vivekananda
There is a long list of Swami Vivekananda quotes about youth that can help inspire generation after generation. This is why National Youth Day is celebrated on his birthday. His words and teachings are relevant even today after all these years.
Relevance of National Youth Day
Since 1985, the Indian government has recognised January 12 as National Youth Day, the anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s birth. As per the official communication from the government, “It was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth.”
According to predictions, 53% of India’s population will be under the age of 30, with the remaining 47% being adults aged 30 and above. The Youth in India report, 2022, recognizes anyone between the age group of 18-29 as a youth.
As of 2021, according to this parameter, 22 percent of India’s population is youth which makes India the youngest country in the world. Today, India has more than 260 million people who fall under the category of youth. To put this in perspective, this number is bigger than the population of Pakistan.
Universal Teachings of Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda’s teachings are universal in nature. He addressed the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1983 and captivated everyone with his message for brotherhood, tolerance, mutual respect, and love.
He invoked the long history of India and how the country welcomed migrants and accepted them as its own.
“We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth...
… I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation.,” he stated in his address.
He further added: “Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.”
This shows that Swami Vivekananda was way ahead of his time and a visionary. His teachings prodded everyone to create a world built on mutual respect, non-violence, and love for everyone. This message is relevant even today as we see more and more divisions among people.
The Indian Youth and Swami Vivekananda
If the youth of today understands his message of focusing on the universal good, personal growth, and a strong mindset, they can achieve bigger things in life. The opportunity that India has today as a young nation can bear fruit if the youth dedicates himself or herself to innovation and creativity.
This is what the government wants to achieve by motivating the youth to launch start-ups and create jobs. For India to become a global leader, the contribution of youth is paramount. It is through Vivekananda’s message that the youth can dedicate themselves to this cause.
The Message of National Youth Day
Swami Vivekananda, National Youth Day; these are the words that remind us of the importance of our youth. This also inspires the youth to take their role in society more seriously. It reminds us that we should move towards constructive thinking and create a better world for ourselves and future generations.
Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863, on the day of Makar Sankranti. His father, Vishwanath Dutta, was a prominent member of society and a wealthy lawyer. Vivekananda, named Narendranath Dutta as a child, was one of the eight children born to Vishwanath Dutta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi.
He took Ramkrishna Paramhansa as his spiritual guru and traveled across the country to understand the people and culture of India. In 2022, on his birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 25th National Youth Festival in Puducherry.
Time and again, various political leaders have invoked Swami Vivekananda in their speeches to motivate the youth of the country.
One Leader Heralding Another
In his speech on National Youth Day, Swami Vivekananda Jayanti last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he had inspired many youngsters to work towards nation-building. He also urged everyone to keep working together to fulfill Vivekananda’s dream.
Swami Vivekananda died at the early age of 39 on 4 July 1902. In this short span, he inspired millions of people and had an ever-lasting impact on the political and social thinking of India. He lived a life as a young and enthusiastic individual and this is why the youth of today can relate to him.
Smile Foundation and the Youth of India
Smile Foundation believes that the youth can become the backbone of the Indian economy. With this idea in mind, STeP, or the Smile Twin e-Learning Programme was launched in 2007. The initiative aims at helping as many youths as possible in getting gainful employment.
This e-learning education programme focuses on skill enhancement in tandem with market requirements providing training in soft skills, basic computer use, spoken English, and the basics of written communication as well. Till now, 75,000 youth have received skill training, and 45,000 have been placed in great jobs. Most importantly, 61% of the total youth beneficiaries were girls. Learn more here!
Let’s remember Swamiji’s words on the power of sincerity and making a better world for others,
“A few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century.”Swami Vivekananda