Every year, January 12 is celebrated as National Youth Day (Yuva Diwas) across the country with great pomp and fervour. It was way back in 1984 that the government of India declared January 12 as National Youth Day to commemorate the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, who was a social reformer, philosopher and great thinker. And since then, the day is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Schools and colleges across the country celebrate National Youth Day with speeches, music, seminars, presentations and competitions. A unique theme is also chosen to celebrate the day. For instance, in 2017, the National Youth Day was celebrated with the theme Youth for Digital India, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for India. The inaugural ceremony was held in Rohtak, Haryana, where Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the youths from across country who had come to Rohtak to participate in the event through a video conference.
At the 4-day festival organised in Rohtak, Vijay Goel from the BJP said that the theme of the Festival ‘Youth for Digital India’ reflects the importance of the thrust accorded to the area of ‘Digitalisation and Skill Development’ by Government of India. It also realises the national goal for the PM’s vision of ‘Youth Led Development’, states a press statement from the Press Information Bureau. At the festival, about 5000 participating youth delegates from different States and union territories will enrich their knowledge and exchange their experiences. The festival had a mix of cultural programmes, Youth Convention, suvichar (a lecture series), exhibitions and adventure programmes, Hasya Kavi Sammelan and Haryanavi Nights, which was followed by Cultural Evening by Hansraj Hans and Raftaar. In 2016, the theme was ‘Indian Youth for Development, Skill and Harmony’ while in 2015, the theme was ‘Youngmanch” and “Youth for Clean, Green and Progressive India” (and slogan was “hum se hai nayi shuruaat”).
Apart from schools, colleges and the government organised events, National Youth Day is also celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm at many centres of the Ramakrishna Math, and Ramakrishna Mission. A mangal aarti, hoom, devotional songs, meditation, religious speech as well as the sandhya aarti is performed on this day at the Math. The day is also observed by various NGOs. Such is the impact of the visionary thinker that the day is celebrated not just in India, but also internationally. In Canada, the Vedanta Society of Toronto celebrates the day to spread the message of Vedanta as the world’s most ancient religious philosophy. Reportedly, Mission Bhartiyam organises a two-day event in Uttar Pradesh in India named Basti Yuvo Mahotsav for youth to mark the day. Swami Vivekananda’s speeches, quotes and teachings continue to inspire millions, and National Youth Day is a way of expressing gratitude and remembering the ideals of the great thinker.
Here is PM Narendra Modi’s tweet on the occasion of National Youth Day 2018:
Swami Vivekananda inspired millions of youth during his era and continues to do so even today. The government felt that the philosophy and ideals of Vivekananda are a great source of inspiration for the Indian youth. In 1984, the then Government of India said, “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.” Vivekananda, who died at a young age of 39, had transformed several lives. He drew inspiration from Indian spiritual tradition and from his guru, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahans. Swami Vivekanda’s lectures have motivated numerous youths and organisation. His teachings have been compiled into ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’.