The National Youth Day has been celebrated every year on 12 January – from 1985 it has been an indelible part of India’s tradition. Incidentally, this was also the day when Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest social reformers, thinkers, and philosophers of India, was born. In fact, the Indian government had declared back in 1984 that Swamiji’s birthday would be celebrated as the National Youth Day. The main aim behind this is to make sure that the students across the country can be encouraged to learn about the life, the ideals and philosophy of Swami Vivekananda and apply them in their lives.
There was a good reason as to why the national government felt that way. It felt that the ideals and philosophy of Swami Vivekananda were worthy of being emulated and they could act as great sources of inspiration for the youth of India. It was expected that the words of this great thinker would arouse the latent energy among the youth of the country and inspire them to make all the efforts that they could for the upliftment of the country.
The importance of this day
It is expected that by celebrating the National Youth Day the youth of India could be inspired sufficiently to set sail on a journey that would ultimately lead them to succeed in life. The philosophy, ideas, and teachings of Swami Vivekananda can justifiably be called national assets from traditional and cultural points of view. At the same time, the youth are the future of our country. It is them who are supposed to take our country forward in the days to come. This is the reason why they have to be inspired to act and think in a positive manner and perhaps the best way to do that is through the teachings of Swami Vivekananda.
The life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda
Born in 1863 in an aristocratic family Swami Vivekananda was known as Narendra Nath Datta. After he became a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, he founded the Ramakrishna Mission and the Ramakrishna Math. The highlight of his life is easily the speech that he delivered on 11 September 1893 at the World Parliament of Religions held at Chicago. He breathed his last on 4 July 1902 at the age of 39 years. Vivekananda was always someone who espoused the benefits of an active life as well as taking care of animals and the poor and sick people saying that doing so meant one was serving God. He wanted people to be complete rather than being mere bookworms as was the wont back then.
How is it celebrated across India?
As such, this day is really important as far as the schools and colleges of India are concerned. Activities such as the following are held around India on this day:
- youth conventions
- youth fests
- sporting events
- yoga sessions
- musical performances
On this day, teachers impart knowledge on Swami Vivekananda’s life and ideals. The festival is celebrated with great fervor at the various units of the Ramakrishna Mission as well as Ramakrishna Math. A number of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in India observe the festival as well.