A society’s, country’s or nation’s progress depends on the efforts of government as well as of the non-governmental organisations. It is a general belief that non-governmental organisations play very important role in a situation when government fails in performing its duties.
It is also an undisputed fact that between different sections of society the youth has the greater capability of serving a society especially keeping in view the future in a society. The future quality of life in a society depends more on what youth thinks and what kind of society it strives for. Collective thinking and collective efforts of the youth can and do lay down the foundation stone on which a future society rests.
When we think of a society we find that apart from the government several social organisations function in that society and a society is always benefited from purposeful social organisations. Also it is found that depending on society’s current requirements new organisations are needed.
Keeping the above analysis in mind there has been a strong feeling that there is a dire need in our country for a non-governmental, non-party and non-student youth organisation. One finds that such an organisation, if it comes up, can bring about qualitative change in the life of the country.
Two questions need to be answered first (i) who comprises of non-student youth, and (ii) are there no such organisations already in the country?
Let’s take the first question. Generally people below the age of 35 and above 15 are considered youth. But the upper age in Indian context can be stretched to 40 in view of the absence of strong and genuine youth organisation while lower age should start from 20 in order to concentrate on non-students.
Now the second question related to the existing organisations. This writer is aware of three organisations in the field: Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sanghathan and National Yuva Cooperative Society; though few more may be there. But in the knowledge of the writer none of them measures to the expectations being expressed here. Of the known organisations, the first one is an elite organisation with limited reach, second one is a governmental organisation having all the limitations and weaknesses of the government sponsored institutions and the third is engaged in pursuing limited agenda of creating self-employment opportunities for the youth.
Assuming that such an organisation is created, what exactly is expected of it? Firstly, the organisation should be created at the all India level on the principle of cadre-based mass organisation ie it should have a core cadre committed to its objectives but it should have a mass following amongst the youth. Such an effective organisation can be created only when rural youth and ordinary urban youth are roped into it. Secondly, the organisation should keep itself scruplously away from supporting a political party. Needless to say that political parties already have their youth fronts which are capable of taking care of their respective parties. Thirdly, the whole effort should be made with a constructive approach with the positive target of nation building.
What are the nation building activities? Broadly two types of activities should be taken up-constructive and the activities aimed at raising public awareness or agitational ones for desired objectives.
In public life constructive activities always deserve utmost importance. Apart from being desirable in themselves they help in grooming responsible holistic members of a society. Cynics, critics or indifferent people do not serve a society as much as the constructive activists do.
Scores of constructive activities can be thought of which a youth organisation may take up. To cite a few of them i) service activities for the needy sections like free medical aid, library and reading rooms, literacy, micro financing, skills needed for gainful employment, blood donations, shelters for homeless etc.; ii) book banks, coaching classes, scholarships, career counselling etc. for students; iii) promotion of talents of youth through personality development camps or in sports, arts, general knowledge etc. iv) strengthening of national integration through inter-state visits etc.
Youth’s role and potential has always been recognised with respect to its being upholder of ideals and values, watchdog of society’s interests and deterrant and crusader against ills. It is in this context that the youth organisation should take up activities aimed at raising public awareness and creating pressures to elicit desired results. Such activities may be ‘for’ desirable things like environment protection, sustainable consumption, spirituality, swadeshi, national security, democracy, human rights, gender equality, accountability and transparency or ‘against’ undesirable things like terrorism and violence, infiltration, corruption, poverty, unemployment, economic disparities, parochialism of different types, social evils like untouchability, casteism, dowry, and female foeticide etc.
One problem is faced by the youth under reference. After finishing studies youth enter two phases of life almost simultaneously-occupational life and married life. Both these phases require lot of time and attention from youth for proper settlement. Often those youth who might have been active in social life during their student days withdraw from public activism precisely on account of such pressures. But can such a withdrawal be justified? One can understand the pressures but social obligations warrant that a youth should consciously find time for social work. For such youth sparing time should become less important than remaining committed to fulfilling the duty towards the society. Where there is a will there is a way. For them it should become a matter of balancing three obligations-social, occupational and domestic and socially conscious youth are always able to do it.
Now who will bell the cat? This writer has only underlined a social need. Only time will tell whether someone fulfils it or not. One thing is sure. Whoever takes up this challenging task he or she will have to work hard and will require a time span of five to ten years to realise the dream.