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Indian History

Youth & Mahatma Gandhi

  • 30 Jan 2021
  • 8 min read

This article is based on “Mahatma Gandhi’s core values should inspire youth today” which was published in The Indian Express on 30/01/2021. It talks about what inspiration the youth of India can draw from Mahatma Gandhi.

Every year, on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day, people in India and worldwide pay homage to the sacrifices made by Mahatma Gandhi. Apart from the commitment to the ideal of non-violence, the need to rise above casteism, communalism, regionalism are core values that Mahatma Gandhi professed.

However, modernization combined with globalization has changed life in general and the lifestyle of youth in particular in the last few decades, leading to change in social institutions and structures.

Besides, the substantive demographic change in terms of population, political decadence, rising unemployment, and eroding value system combined with the excessive market-oriented economy has made life very complicated for the new generation.

In order to make the youth of modern India deal with these issues, the need is to inculcate Gandhian values among the youth in earnest to make them more vivacious and active for nation-building.

Issues With Present Day Youth and Modern Lifestyle

  • Growing Intolerance in Society Leading To Violence: The youth of today is a victim of intolerance, impatience, and misjudged convictions. These factors combine to lead most of them on to a path of violence.
    • The situation deteriorates further when the expectation bar of lifestyle attainments is raised and cannot deliver accordingly.
  • Materialism Leading To The Hedonistic Lifestyle: There is a growing materialistic tendency in society, that compels the individual to look for more and more new items of the material world. This attitude leads to hedonism.
    • A hedonist does not go by any logic, rationale, or need-based accrual of items.
  • Education Disparity: Today’s young generation is a victim of an education that envisages certifying him/her to be worthy of the market.
    • However, this led to a dichotomy between the public and private institutions and subsequently resulted in disparity in education and unemployment among the youth.
  • Employment Scarcity: It is one of the most serious concerns among the youth in our country. The employment market is unable to keep pace with ever-growing job-seekers.
    • Moreover, the bigger irony is that the current employment market is a systematic waning of rural-based employment, where the majority of job-seekers exist.

What Youth Can Learn From Gandhian Ideals

  • Tackling Intolerance & Violence: Intolerance & Violence are two sides of the same coin. Mahatma Gandhi successfully weaponized truth, satyagraha, and peace during India’s struggle for independence.
    • These ideals inspired great men across the world, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. Their lives stand as a testament to their indomitable will and the courage to practice the ideals.
    • Therefore, the youth of India must draw inspiration and learn how to tackle intolerance & violence peacefully.
  • Selfless Nationalism: The youth of today must emulate their lives and engage themselves wholeheartedly in serving the nation while scripting the story of India’s success.
    • As Mahatma Gandhi aptly remarked: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
    • With ingenuity and innovation, the nation’s youth should chart the course of India’s development, lending impetus to the concept of vocal for local.
  • Means Over Ends: The Gandhian maxim of “means are more important than the end” implies that one needs to focus on the means, not merely the achievement of an end at any cost.
    • According to Gandhiji, to accumulate more than is required would be a sort of theft. Therefore, to control hedonism in society, the youth need to be endowed with the Gandhian value of Samthistha.
    • According to Gandhiji Samthistha, it comprises austerity, forbearance, asceticism, spirituality, and the self-effacing spirit of sacrifice.
    • Thus, following Samthistha can help one to dissociate from materialism or hedonism.
  • Gandhian Model of Education: Gandhiji believed education should be value-based and mass-oriented.
    • He always advocated for true, national education. True education develops a balanced intellect, which presupposes a harmonious growth of body, mind, and soul.
    • This Gandhian principle of education may help resolve this kind of disparity, maybe not entirely, but to a large extent.
  • Developing Atma-Nirbharta: The current unemployment situation warrants a considerable reorientation exercise in the education system and demands entrepreneurs to be hoisted to take care of job requirements both at the national and local levels.
    • In this context, Gandhiji insisted on imparting vocational training to youth to become self-reliant with such training, with education linked with practical experience.
    • The vocational education will impart necessary skills and help address the unemployment issue, especially in rural areas.
    • This would help to make a Bharat that is atmanirbhar or self-reliant.

Conclusion

The youth is very vibrant and energetic, dynamic, and capable of achieving, provided that they remain on the right track. Therefore, India’s youth must remember Mahatma Gandhi’s words, which stated: “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

Drishti Mains Question

In order to make the youth of India more vivacious and take an active role in nation-building, the need is to inculcate Gandhian values. Discuss.

This editorial is based on “On the upswing” published in The Indian Express on January 29th, 2020. Now watch this on our Youtube channel.

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