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National Youth Day

National Youth Day
Highlights

January 12, Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, is celebrated every year as the National Youth Day. Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863,...

January 12, Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, is celebrated every year as the National Youth Day. Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863, in West Bengal. His original name was Narendra Nath Datta. He founded Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission.

He passed away on July 4, 1902 at the age of 39 at Belur Math near Kolkata in West Bengal. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century.

Unlike other growing economies that face the risk of an ageing workforce, India is poised to become the world’s youngest country with 64 per cent of its population in the working age group by 2020. This ‘demographic dividend’ offers a great opportunity for the country. Not just by numbers, the youth make 34% contribution to the country’s Gross National Income as well.

India’s population is expected to exceed 1.3 billion by 2020 with a median age of 28 which is considerably less than the expected median ages of China and Japan. The working population of India, is expected to increase to 592 million by 2020, next only to China (776 million), pointing to the fact that youth will make a significant contribution to country’s economic development.

However, growing up in a hyper-connected space of the virtual world this aspiration class needs directions to contribute to the efforts of nation building. Enhancing their labour force participation in improving productivity will only realize part of their energies. Since ideology has been substituted by technology, the youth rarely see the world beyond ‘themselves’.

The youth find themselves distanced from the nation-building narrative of the post-independent era. The National Youth Day is thus an opportunity to connect youth to the ethos of the country. In 1984, the Government of India decided to observe the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda as a National Youth Day from 1985 onwards.

It was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth. All over India, the day is marked by processions, speeches, recitations, music, youth conventions, seminars, Yogasanas, presentations, competitions etc.

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