Youth at the Crossroads

The youth of a nation are the trustees of posterityBenjamin Disraeli

‘National Youth Day’ falls on January 12th every year, the birth anniversary of Hindu reformer and patriot Swami Vivekananda, a fact which is not very well known to the present-day youth in India. With his clarion call to Indians, ‘Arise, awake,’ Swami Vivekananda was the forerunner of the Indian Nationalist Movement, way back in the latter part of the 19th century. His writings and books sowed the seeds of nationalism, influencing many of the freedom fighters in the 20th century including Sri Aurobindo Ghose and Mahatma Gandhi. Swami Vivekananda often addressed the youth in his books and writings, reiterating, “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.” At present, around 78% of the country’s population is less than 40 years of age. The social and political turmoil in India has impacted the youth also, who of late, are devoid of any role mod els with good values, leading to a situation where many youngsters have been involved in a spate of horrific crimes. The onslaught of globalization and consumerism has led to a shift from collectivism to individualism, which has further alienated the youth and made them indifferent to the myriad problems ailing Indian society.

That is why we have chosen ‘Swami Vivekananda’ and the relevance of his teachings and philosophy to the present times as our January 2014 cover story. We hope that our young readers will be motivated by this great spiritual leader and reformer, who established the Ramakrishna Mutt with the mission of helping and guiding young people, by assuaging their doubts and fears. We trust that many young readers will be inspired by the Swami’s message of dedication, courage, sacrifice and service and will be spurred on to lead more meaningful lives.