“I came across the works of Swami Vivekananda. I had hardly turned over a few pages when I realised that here was something which I had been longing for. I borrowed the books from him (relative), brought them home, and devoured them. I was thrilled to the marrow of my bones. My headmaster had roused my aesthetic and moral sense — had given a new impetus to my life — but he had not given me an ideal to which I could give my whole being. That Vivekananda gave me.” – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, AN INDIAN PILGRIM – AN UNFINISHED AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND COLLECTED LETTERS 1897-1921, ASIA PUBLISHING, London House, 1965
From National Youth Day to Parakram Diwas, various programmes are taking place to commemorate the birth anniversaries of Swami Vivekanand and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. This year these celebrations have got a special significance due to the G-20 presidency of Bharat with the theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One World, One Family, One Future. The same civilisational message Swami Vivekananda propagated and Netaji emulated. At the same time, Prime Minister Modi has repeatedly called this period the beginning of Amrit Kaal for Bharat. Channelising the youth power in realising the national goals set by the greats like Swamiji and Netaji will decide our role on the global stage.
Amrit Kaal is supposed to be an auspicious time to start any new task in astrological parlance. One must use this critical time window to achieve the desired objectives. Currently, Bharat is going through Amrit Kaal for various reasons. We are witnessing Bharat at the cusp of cultural resurgence. All other developments of technological disruption, diplomatic realignment, assertive foreign policy and economic prosperity are part of the same process and, therefore, are rooted in our civilisational wisdom. The most vital dimension of this Amrit Kaal is our young population, popularly termed the demographic dividend. When most of the world is grappling with a quality workforce, Bharat has the advantage of more than 50 per cent of the working population with a median age of 29. This enormous population may be just a market for the outside world, but in quantitative terms, this can be an asset if we add our qualitative parameters to the same. Swami Vivekananda and his ardent disciple Netaji present those values for aspirational youth to emulate in Amrit Kaal.
When Swamiji says, “Each race has a peculiar mission to fulfil in the life of the world”, he is visualising the spiritual and moral leadership for Bharat. Netaji reinvigorates the same ideal when he says, “Bharat has something original to contribute to the culture and the civilisation of the world in almost every department of human life”. The youth will have to internalise that mission in every aspect of life.
Swamiji emphasised certain qualities like physical fitness, scientific spiritualism, courage to take our own decisions and finding the real meaning of life with the help of Guru. Behind Netaji’s courage, perseverance, selfless service, and patriotic fervour, there was a spiritual urge generated by Swami Vivekananda. Inculcating moral courage and the ability to face adversity are critical values for the youth to lead a successful and meaningful life.
Not to be slaves of senses was another vital message that Swamiji gave to the youth. Strive for excellence, follow science with religion, and achieve all the material success but not for yourself. During Amrit Kaal, character-building for nation-building will be the mantra. We can realise our true potential only if we respect Mother Nature and manage the population as per the available resources. Bharat can present such a model to the world as ‘live with nature’ and not ‘winning over nature’.
Start-ups, space technology, higher education, infrastructure, and economic prosperity will have meaning if we have a larger purpose in life. Our ability to integrate the eternal civilisational goal of Bharat with the current opportunities and challenges will decide the future of Bharat and the fate of humanity. ‘Arise! Awake! And Stop not till the goal is achieved’ should be the approach for the same.