“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”
These profound words by Swami Vivekananda echo a timeless truth, highlighting the pivotal role youth plays in nation-building. In a nation like Bharat where over 65% of its population is under the age of 35, nurturing a strong sense of nationalism among these young minds is imperative. This young generation will become the leaders of tomorrow and instilling in them, a sense of duty towards the nation is of utmost importance especially if Bharat is to realize its vision for 2047. Education for students should extend beyond the confines of academic pursuits. In addition to developing critical thinking, students should also be problem solvers for the betterment of the society. Instilling a sense of civic responsibility in the youth, especially from a young age, is paramount.
Within the rich tapestry of Bharat’s history, students have played crucial roles in landmark events. Be it under the guidance of Chanakya in Takshashila or during the days of the Indian Freedom Movement, students have played vital roles, with many sacrificing their lives for the cause of independence. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Bhagwati Charan Vohra and many other revolutionaries were students at National College in Lahore, which was a hotbed of revolutionary activity at the time.
Delhi University was another important centre of student activism during the freedom struggle. Hindu College, St. Stephen’s College, and other colleges in the university were known for their vibrant student unions and their commitment to nationalism. Students from Delhi University participated in many rallies and protests against British rule. They also published magazines and newspapers that criticized the British government. Students were at the forefront of the movement against the British rule. For instance, Chandra Shekhar Azad along with his associates were sheltered by hostel students of Ramjas College while he was evading the British government. Students were also participants of the Quit India Movement, the Civil Disobedience movement and the Non-Cooperation movement. Numerous college students, in their youth, endured the infamous British prisons.
Students have also played an active role in secret societies in India and other parts of the world. In Europe, for example, students played key roles in secret societies such as Young Italy and Young Europe for furthering of the principles of liberty, equality, and humanity in Europe. In India, a young Veer Savarkar started the Abhinav Bharat that was involved in revolutionary activities against British rule.
Shifting our focus to the contemporary scenario, in contrast to the nationalistic fervor of students during the freedom struggle, student politics today is petty and divisive. Gone are the days when student leaders were driven by a passion for social justice and a commitment to nation-building. Student leaders today, are more focused on advancing their own political careers than on fighting for the rights and welfare of students. When student politics is reduced to mere politicking, it loses its relevance and its ability to contribute to nation-building. The recent DUSU elections are a prime example of the sorry state of student politics. Rather than addressing pressing issues, the election campaigning was reduced to mere throwing of heaps of pamphlets and blocking roads in the name of road-shows. No candidate talked about any national agenda, rendering the elections superficial and lacking any substantive discourse. The absence of discussions on critical issues of national importance highlights a concerning trend in the current state of student politics not only in DU but across the nation. A reevaluation of the priorities within student politics is imperative to ensure that it aligns with the vision of nation-building. Only when the youth act as informed and responsible citizens will Bharat soar to new heights.
In the current context, it is more important than ever for student politics to be revived with a nationalistic spirit, because the current generation of youth will be the leaders after this Amritkaal, the crucial period of transformation of 25 years. They need to contribute constructively to the development and progress of the country. Channeling the vibrant energy of the youth into shaping the future of Bharat is not just a choice but a necessity. The youth need to focus on the real issues that must be tackled during this Amritkaal to realise the goal of a developed Bharat in 2047. However, with such huge a responsibility a larger question looms, are the youth today really prepared to be handed over the reins of the country yet? Can the youth rise above the superficial aspects of politics and commit towards nation-building? What changes should the youth today embrace to emerge as better leaders of tomorrow? The responsibility is immense, the challenges daunting, but as the Amritkaal unfolds these questions should act as guideposts for the youth to steer this nation towards a prosperous future.
The author may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Priyanka is an undergraduate student at University of Delhi. Her areas of interest include Geopolitics, History and Social Issues.