Swami Vivekananda; The forgotten elixir for the youths of Manipur

Lourembam Devraj Singh *

Even year, in India, the 12th day of January is observed as the "National Youth Day", commemorating the priceless contributions of the great Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda in the nation building process.

Greatly influenced by the spiritualism of Vedanta and guided by the great spiritual leader Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, the iconic inspiration to the youths, had succeeded in enabling people to realise the calibres buried inside them.

Following his remarkable speech on 11th September which addressed the gathering of the "Parliament of Religion" that took place in Chicago, his words and messages started reaching people outside India like wildfires.

According to Swami Vivekananda, the prosperity of a nation greatly depends on the synergy of its youths' population. With this strong belief, he had resorted to his wake-up call for the youths -"Arise, Awake and Stop Not Till the Desired Goal is reached" which remains lingering in the minds of many young and vibrant people across the globe till today. But, how effectively is this call being responded by the youths of today's Manipur is a big question.

One of the horrendous issues which Manipur is presently experiencing is drug abuse among its youths' population. Now, the situation of drug abuse in the state is so alarming that no street exists where used-syringes are not littered, no drain flows where small and empty plastic containers with traces of white powder inside are not floating, very few youngsters walk around with no red-coloured pills inside their pockets.

Youths in Manipur are either suffering from 'substance use disorder' or undergoing the worse impacts of 'co-addiction'. Many are the sleepless nights being spent by the families of the drug-abusers, which is often regarded as 'co-addiction' in psychological term.

Now, the challenge ahead is how to tackle this menace of drug-abuse and co-addiction. There is a saying that every cloud has a silver lining. As such, a 'silver lining' to control drug-abuse and co-addiction among the youths is clearly indicated by Swami Vivekananda in his famous quote, "My child, what I want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel, inside which dwells a mind of the same material as that of which the thunderbolt is made", that it is one's willpower which can turn one into a victor.

As an adaptation from this, the first step in treatment centres follows the most powerful line - "No to Drugs, Yes to Life" which can be achieved through strong willpower. The day when a drug abuser has firmly decided to give up drugs, our state will have one drug abuser less and can extract good number of potential youths from the family to which the drug abuser belongs to.

Had the youths of Manipur clearly perceived the words of Swami Vivekananda, the situation would not have been this worse. Swami Vivekananda, once quoted, "Learn everything that is good from others but bring it in, and in your own way absorb it; do not become others". With the advancement of information technology, various technological gazettes have reached the hands of people across the globe out of which the youths of Manipur are not exceptions.

In today's internet world, people get connected virtually sharing their distinctive cultures among themselves. As such, the youths of Manipur are greatly fascinated by the blend of western and K-pop culture in many nonproductive areas such as dressing style. One thing, the youths should imitate from the western world is their ideas of 'rationalism' and 'self-discipline' which will take our state to the zenith of prosperity.

Fascination for the western culture is a good thing as long as the fulcrum of it is 'modernisation' but not 'westernisation'. It is high time the youths of Manipur should filter the cultural ingredients prior to their absorption from others to enrich our own culture In the wake of social empowerment, economic progress and political emancipation of a nation, Swami Vivekananda had his firm beliefs on youths' roles and to fine-tune their roles, he had stressed upon education.

As general perception, the purpose of education is to make people literate-ability to read, write and speak. But according to Swami Vivekananda, "Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man". There was a time in Manipur in which 'engineers' and 'doctors' used to be treated as the most reputed professions.

Students after completing their (10+2) examinations did not leave any stone unturned for getting through various engineering and medical entrance examinations. Now, the professional trend among the youths has started evolving with their growing aspirations of becoming bureaucrats through various civil services' examinations.

As such, professional agglomeration is being observed among the youths in our state which is a good sign, on one hand, and on the other hand, it is very sad on account of the fact that the purpose of education indicated by Swami Vivekananda is not clearly understood by the youths of today's Manipur. It is, indeed, true that great persons are not born in the maternity wards, but are born out of the choices they make.

It is high time youths should wake up and broaden their baskets of professional choices. This can only be achieved when youths realise the hidden talents inside them and convert them into professional acumens.

Another, yet concerning, issue is the unemployment and underemployment among the youths in the state. In this 21st century era in which globalization has flourished extensively almost all over the globe, many youths in our state are not at par with the prerequisite qualities demanded by globalization.

Most of the youths in Manipur seek for public sector jobs in the name of achieving economic security and social respect. And it is so pathetic to notice the investment culture which is being practised in Manipur. People are ready to sell any amount of their properties just to secure public-sector jobs even though they are going to be underemployed.

One of the reasons behind people opting public-sector jobs, is the lack of their risk-taking guts. Swami Vivekananda, once said, "Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead, if you lose, you can guide".

With the financial status-quo of our state, it is impossible to secure every youths in the state with public-sector jobs. Keeping this in mind, it is high time the youths of Manipur should cultivate entrepreneurship culture, thereby, employing themselves and generating more employment for the youths. Following the path suggested by Swami Vivekananda, unemployment and underemployment among the youths in our state can be minimised to a large extent.

The present scenario of the youths of Manipur is far deviated from the prospects of the youths which Swami Vivekananda had once dreamt of. As a matter, of fact, it is going to be very tough to bring peace and prosperity of Manipur in future as its pillars, the youths of today's Manipur, are not strong and resilient enough to withstand any unforeseen circumstances.

It is high time the youths should study and obey Swami Vivekananda and consume and digest his teachings as elixir to make the prosperity of Manipur sustainable, thereby, making a congenial ground for production of many potential youths in future.

* Lourembam Devraj Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at devrajly(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on January 12, 2020

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