–Dattatreya Hosabale, Sahsarkaryavah, RSS
Before thinking upon youth leadership, meditation on the question “who is young?” is quite necessary. If the youths for whom the entire churning is going on, are not properly understood, then all the efforts will go in vain. It is said that India is a country of youths and is progressing towards becoming a superpower. Every time India has given a firm leadership to the entire world in various fields, but today we are thinking about how should be the youth leadership of India at present.
Who is young?
If the criterion of age is considered to answer the question, then in the year 1985, UNO had mentioned at international level that one who is aged up to 35 years is young. Also, there was differentiation between developed and underdeveloped countries. According to underdeveloped and undeveloped nations, the proposed age was 40.
If age is the only criterion, then we cannot go beyond that. However, if some other criterion is to be fixed, then a different perspective needs to be explored. Did they fell under ‘youth’ category under whose leadership the youth movements flourished till date? In 1975, Jaiprakash Narayan (JP) triggered the movement for complete transformation. Youth force poured in large numbers for his country-wide agitation. A number of leaders flashing on national screen are the result of JP’s nationalistic churn. The recent agitation of Anna Hazare also witnessed a significant participation of youths. Does JP or Anna fall under youth category? In fact, one who understands the feelings of youths, has the enthusiasm in his heart, can communicate with them in their language i.e. has got the knowledge of youths’ nerve, deserves to be called ‘youth’. He is a real youth by spirit! The names of leaders such as Balasahab Thackeray and Atal Behari Vajpayee need to be specifically mentioned in this perspective.
By pronouncing the term ‘youth’, the picture that strikes our mind is that of the youngsters roaming inside the college campus. Being in the same campus, they appear to be united. They are undergoing studies; they are aware of the activities going on at social and national levels and can also meditate over the issues. However, youths are not only present inside the college campus but also in the rural section of the society. Swami Vivekananda had described youths as muscles of iron and backbone of steel. Youth movements are formed in every era for the creation of an ideal society and nation. Since Vedic times, a lot of expectations have been raised about youths. At each mode of time and whenever required, youth power has given a sound proof of its leadership qualities. What was the war of Mahabharat? It was an agitation created under the leadership of one youth called Sri Krishna. All the freedom fighters whose names are often spelled with respect in today’s date such as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, etc were youths indeed.
May it be India or abroad, the clarion call for revolution has been made by youths only. In 1988, youths assembled at Tiyanmen Square to enter into Beijing, with their demands for democracy and independence; who gave them inspiration? At that time, the media network was also not strong as it is today. Nobody was there to lead them at the forefront. All of them were gathered because of the natural inspiration that is embedded among each youth. The recent transformation of power that occurred in Somalia and Indonesia was the result of youth revolution.
This is what meant by youth leadership? The leadership that stands against the power, struggles for justice and builds a strong force against the ruling power. This doesn’t necessarily mean political leadership. A number of social welfare fields are there such as society, science, environment, etc. A joint and homogeneous leadership is generated from all such fields. Today we search the solutions for the problems regarding all these fields in politics or we often pass on the buck saying that politics only should give suitable solutions to all such problems. This can be the responsibility of the government but the problems in the respective fields should be sorted out by the respective leadership only. In this context, I refer to joint leadership. For example, farmers’ problems should be treated by the leadership in the field of agriculture. However the implementation or the conclusions drawn by the agricultural leadership should be done by the ruling leadership, taking into consideration it’s cultural, environmental and various other aspects. It also comprises of administrative leadership. This leadership should serve as a guideline for the entire society.
It is often said that Swami Vivekananda’s leadership was spiritual. However, he expressed his views over a variety of subjects such as science, environment, culture, dharma, etc. His views are inspirational even today. His views gave a guideline for an independent revolution. Youth leadership should be transparent, selfless, sensitive and sacrificial. In this context, again I would like to mention the name of JP. He did not keep any greed for power after completing the agitation. In fact he said that if the people elected to power because of his agitation were found corrupt, then he will also raise his voice against them. When Lal Bahadur Shastri became the Prime Minister, his son was given promotion and hike in salary by the respective company. When Shashtriji came to know about this, he asked his son to resign. His son asked, “They gave me promotion. How can I resign?” Shastriji said,” If you will not resign then I will have to quit the post.” Such should be the selfless attitude. A number of temptations come in the path of leadership but one should not get trapped. Compromise should not be made with the principles. Youths took part in Assam’s anti-infiltration agitation under the leadership of Prafullkumar Mahanto. Government changed. These youths came to power with a passion for change in the Government and then what happened? Revolution certainly comes along with power, but it is unfair to forget the promises given to the revolution after coming to power. This mistake is often committed by many people. Temptations cannot be avoided. People also tempt to say “I don’t have any temptation.” Hence the fire of revolution ceases when a man behind revolution comes to power.
Agitation is often raised out of spirit to fight against injustice prevailing in the society. One who leads the agitation is called leader, because the world is in need of some face. Somebody definitely speaks from people’s side in the discussion. Some face also needs to be shown to the media. Inspiration is drawn from the conduct of people who are at the leading position. However, the life of an agitation is prolonged only if a second order is created in it. Leadership is to be created at different levels. Continuous efforts are to be made for achieving a stable development. A number of agitations were held in Indonesia for transformation of power and many a times, power was also transformed. With a dream for revolution in their hearts, newer people came to power but why was the need felt for another agitation against injustice? A few people only can keep their conscience alive after being elected to power. Nelson Mandela was in jail for 26 years. After the end of class differentiation, he became the President of South Africa but he didn’t deviate from his path. Lech Walesa from Poland was a labour leader. He did not come to power after the power transformation.
Politics certainly comes along with power. Downfall also occurs accordingly. Some other fields are also co-related to politics. Vijay Bhatkar curbed the brain drain in IT sector. He made a super computer along with the youths in IT sector. The phrase ‘integrated transformation’ sounds good and it certainly catches the attention while meditating upon this subject. However, for bringing integrated transformation, thoughts also need to be integrated. Newer leadership should be induced in every field. For this, the development of society should be accomplished accordingly. Without system transformation, atmosphere cannot be built up in any field to go beyond all types of differences. If the differences prevail, homogeneity will not be created without which the integrity and unification will not be accomplished. If the differences exist on the basis of religion, caste, creed, sect, etc, no one will respect the other’s views. Under such situation, how will it be possible to have a single leadership?
We accepted the Nehru model of development that became the cause behind splitting up of society. Agitation should be triggered regarding education, justice, development, etc. Today, we are living in 21st century, but still the society is gripped by evils such as casteism, women’s exploitation, etc. Tremendous intellectual churning is required over all these issues. Youths who understand the language of the modern world have this capacity to participate in this churn. We should not have any kind of prejudice towards youths. While writing new Smriti patriotism is required. Youths should be given this chance. They are indeed patriotic. Situation should be created to give them opportunity to express themselves.
Innovation should be involved while creating new leadership. Selfless attitude is needed. It is often said that today’s generation is in grip of intoxication and material pleasures. Concern is often expressed towards this issue. However, meditation is not done. Introspection will show that the entire young generation is not irresponsible. It will be realised that we only are responsible for today’s situation. We did not discharge our duty of inculcating sanskars and creating intellectual platforms for this generation.
Youths are like flames. In order to ensure that they just don’t blindly trigger fire among the society, sanskars are needed. Ideals should be set before them. They will follow the footsteps of their leaders and counterparts. Youths who get associated with a particular ideology always refrain themselves from intoxication and materialistic lifestyle.
There should be a proper system to generate a team of such youths. By giving them a proper leadership, a fruitful transformation can be then accomplished. The movement that is launched under the leadership of a particular person is called agitation. However, agitation should also not be centered around a particular person. There is a certain chance of losing the track. This can harm the entire movement. Suspicion grows about the purpose of the movement. A human being can commit a mistake, he may fall prey to various kind of temptations whereas the agitation cannot.
As I have mentioned earlier, everybody needs a face; media needs it the most. Media allots more importance to face rather than that of the demands or points. Hence they fix a particular person to lead the agitation. Actually, concept should lead the agitation, not the person. A number of institutions are concept or principle-centered. Those should be accepted in the form of leadership. But we show more interest in having a person. We immediately start worshipping him. Jnan Prabodhini, Vidya Bharati are a few organisations that can lead the youths. Vision statement is needed for system transformation. For that, people aspiring to accomplish a particular goal should come together. Transparency and selfless attitude are required without any compromise.
Nation has to incur a heavy loss due to the fall in leadership. Today, we are repaying the same debt. Every political party should introspect about the face of its leadership before two or three generations. It will be noticed that every party had a selfless and transparent leadership. Ego is a great enemy of leadership and it gets stuck naturally in due course. Losing the track after gaining success is a natural phenomenon. However, if the life-style will be clean and transparent and the behaviour will be controlled by good thoughts, then the deviation from the track can be avoided.
I am not at all dismayed today. I have full faith towards my motherland who has blessed the entire world with a number of great people to steer the ship of development. The blood of great national heroes such as Shivaji Maharaj, Rana Pratap, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Rani Laxmibai, etc still flows through the nerves of our youths. However, coming back to the same point; we need a face; a name. None of such faces or names is currently in front of my eyes but Anna’s agitation has proved it again that if there is a definite goal in the offing, then the youths of this nation are also ready to support the cause. They might not trust a person but have a full faith towards the goals. Therefore, a joint leadership will definitely emerge in the nation and a new chapter will certainly begin in the coming decade…!
(English translation of the original article published in Marathi daily Tarun Bharat from Nagpur. Translation by newsbharati.com)