January 12th is a very special day for all of us. Apart from being the day when our icon at SVYM and the very reason for our existence was born in 1863, it is also the day when we Indians celebrate as the National Youth Day. The last many years has seen me travel around India and sharing my thoughts on how the youth of India can engage in the service of the Nation and this year too was not very different. I was invited to be a speaker at the Yuva 2016, the annual Youth festival that was held at the G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUAT) at Pant Nagar in Uttarakhand. Hundreds of young men and women attended the proceedings enthusiastically and listened to several young achievers talk about how their lives were making a difference. It was a joy to hear the teacher Imran Khan talk about the more than 50 apps for education that he has built and gives out free to students across the country. Whether is is Arun Krishnamurthy the passionate environmentalist or the IIT graduate Manish working with farmers in Bihar – it was indeed a joy to see how they were translating the vision of Swami Vivekananda into concrete reality. Swamiji had thundered that the National ideals of India had to be Tyaga and Seva and here was the practical demonstration from many such young people. It was here at the GBPUAT that India’s Agriculture revolution began and this changed India from a food deficit to a food surplus nation. Looking at the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the faculty and students of GBPUAT, it would be no exaggeration to say that another silent revolution is brewing here. The students and alumni are quietly working to build a resurgent India and the impact will soon begin to be felt.
As i sat there in the Terai region nestling amidst the Himalayas, my mind was drawn to over 33 years ago when I found myself privileged to have been deeply inspired by the life and message of Swamiji. I realize that I or my life would be empty and without meaning but for knowing him and his works. To me, he is not just an icon, nor a saint, not even a nationalist reformer – but all of this and something more. He is an indescribable force that gives meaning and purpose to my very existence itself. As I look back and look above towards the mighty & majestic mountains, I am reminded of the words of Romain Rolland. What power and influence would swamiji have had over people who lived with him as his contemporaries. In Swamiji’s own words – ‘Life is short, give it up to a great cause’ needs to lived and acted upon. We now need to come together, throw aside any petty differences that could exist, gear up ourselves, take the whole responsibility on our shoulders and rest not till we see our mother ‘Bharat’ as the ‘Jagadguru’ (World teacher) and the ‘Jaganmatha’ (Mother of the world)…. For it is not just India, but the entire world that needs his message of peace, harmony, universalism, practical Vedanta and global citizenship.
Let us all pledge not to rest till we realize this dream…