My dear countrymen, Namaskar. The moment to bid adieu to 2019 is round the corner knocking at our doors! In a matter of just three days, not only will 2019 wave good bye to us; we shall usher ourselves into a new year and a new decade; the third decade of the 21st century! I extend my heartiest greetings to all countrymen on the arrival of year 2020.
One thing is certain about the decade to come. And that is, it will witness the active contribution of those who were born in the 21st century, in the country’s progress; these are people who are growing up, understanding the significant issues pertaining to this century. The young people such as these, are known by myriad terms. For some they are millennials; others call them generation Z or Gen Zee too; and broadly speaking, one thing that has captured the collective psyche is that this is the “social media generation”...It thrives on the dream to do something new, something different. It has its own set of opinions. And the best part is; especially in the case of India; according to me, they appreciate the system. Not just that, they prefer to follow the system. And in the event of the system not responding properly, they get restless and even courageously question the system itself!
I consider this attribute as a virtue. One can even say with certitude here, that the country’s youth detests anarchy of any sort. They despise any element of lack of governance and instability; abhorring any shades of nepotism, casteism, favouritism or gender discrimination. There are times when we see them at an airport or a cinema theatre; if someone tries to break a queue, the first to react vociferously are these young people. And we have noticed; if such an incident takes place, the youth present around make a video of it on their mobile phones, which goes viral within no time! And the culprit instantly realizes the consequence...
Swami Vivekanand ji had observed, “My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation; out of them will come my workers”. Referring to the youth, he had remarked, “The value of youth can neither be ascertained, nor described!” ...On the birth anniversary of Vivekanand on the 12th of January, on the occasion of National Youth Day, every young person should give a thought to this responsibility, taking on resolve or the other for this decade.
My dear countrymen, many of you must be aware of the rock in Kanyakumari where Swami Vivekanand ji had entered into the meditative state, the spiritual “Antardhyan”. That very Rock Memorial is completing 50 years of existence. For the last five decades, it has earned a place of pride for India. Kanyakumari exudes a special attraction, nationally as well as for the world. For anyone seeking to experience spiritual consciousness filled with national pride, this has become a centre of pilgrimage, a temple of faith. Swamiji’s Memorial has inspiringly instilled a sense of national pride amongst people, irrespective of their sect, age or class. It has shown the way to realise and follow the mantra, “In service of the poorest of the poor”. Whoever visits the place, naturally experiences a surge of inner energy, a sense of positivity; the resolve to contribute something to the country.
Recently, in connection with the 50 years, our Honourable President paid a visit to the Rock Memorial. And it’s a matter of joy that our Vice President too visited the Desert Festival held in Rann of Kutch, Gujarat for the inauguration. When our Hon’ble President & Vice President are visiting such important tourist destinations in India, it is bound to inspire our countrymen. I urge you too to travel and visit these places.
My dear countrymen, all of us study in myriad colleges, universities and schools. But after completing studies, alumni meets are joyous occasions. At any alumni meet, members come together, sharing youthful memories, going back 10, 20 or even 25 years. At times, such meets turn out to be a special attraction that gets noticed. And it is also important for it to catch the attention of our countrymen. Actually, an alumni meet is an occasion for old friends to come together, refresh memories; these are happy moments indeed. Alongside, if this union comprises a shared purpose, a resolve, an emotional connect, it lends additional hues to the event.
You must have seen alumni groups at times, contributing something or the other to their schools. Some arrange for systems for computerisation, some organise a better library, others go for revamping drinking water facilities or new rooms. Some have gone to the extent of facilitating sports complexes. One thing or the other! It gives them inner joy to do something for the place that shaped their life…everyone feels so and should feel so. And people do come forward for the same.
But today, I wish to present before you a special occasion. Just recently, I came across on the media, a story on the Bhairavganj Health Centre in the West Champaran district of Bihar. It was such a nice feeling that I could not stop myself from sharing it with you.
At this Bhairavganj Health Centre, thousands of people from neighbouring villages converged for a free health check up. Of course, you will not be surprised at that! You may say, “So what? What is new in that? People must have thronged there, as usual!” Not at all. A lot about it was new. This was not a government programme, nor was it a government initiative. This was a step taken as part of an Alumni Meet organised by former students of the local K R High School. And they named it “Sankalp 95”. “Sankalp 95” means, the resolve undertaken by the 1995 Batch of that High School.
Actually, students of this batch held an alumni meet and thought of doing something different. Under this, the former students resolved to do something for society and decided to shoulder responsibility in the area of Public Health Awareness. Under the aegis of “Sankalp Ninety Five”, Government Medical College of Bettiah and many hospitals also joined in this campaign. And after that, an entire movement centred on public health got started. Be it free medical tests, distribution of free medicines, or, just spreading awareness, “Sankalp Ninety Five” has become a shining beacon for everyone...
Edited excerpts from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's last ‘Mann ki Baat’ address in 2019 (December29) in New Delhi