George Bernard Shaw famously said, ‘Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime it is, to waste it on children!” That may be too harsh a statement, especially in light of the emergence of super-intelligent generations in recent decades. The young of our world are aware, alert and ambitious. They are energy filled and eager to learn; they yearn to prove themselves as winners in whichever way they can. But several factors do cloud their judgment at times, and Shaw’s wittiness should not be shrugged off entirely. Many kinds of pressures make the youth act in ways that they would rather not. Reflective moments in the future make them, and indeed all human beings, look back and regret certain deeds and even words.
However, much later in life, when a man has been knocked about hundreds of times like a ping-pong ball by the big bad world, he hopefully learns to adopt a more prudent method to his madness. He hopefully thinks twice before indulging in acts that he would have committed readily in the prime of his youth.
To top it all, scattered goings-on in a busy country like India often result in the flaring up of passions with unprecedented suddenness. It is the young population of our country which needs to be handled with care especially at such times. Whenever anything untoward has happened and there is loss of life, the power of the youth has typically been misutilised by evil doers for nefarious gains.
Sections of the youth are obviously hyper energetic, full of fire, and ready to
plunge into risky and often illegal sets of activities. So called leaders of causes find them akin to a lump of plasticine, ready to be moulded into any shape. Middle aged or older men rarely indulge in such violence. The youth are easy meat for vested interests who go after their usually ill intentioned designs. Yet there are many millions of youngsters out there who would never be swayed by any attempt to misguide them. The need is to make all, or almost all, young persons think like that.
Sport is one way to channelize the surplus energies of young people. This
columnist has brought this out emphatically in the past as well. By somehow making India an actively buzzing sports nation, most of our youngsters can be oriented towards health, fitness and enjoyment of the great outdoors that our land possesses. Organizing district, sub-divisional and even panchayat level sports events on a regular basis would be ideal, and India would play more, and laugh more, as a result!
Creative pursuits of other kinds, like music and dance competitions, art related activities, photography events, writing and reading workshops, et al, should also be organised more frequently in our society. Our attention is unendingly focused towards careers, jobs, studies and work. While these facets of life are essential for anyone to survive and flourish, creativity and its varied avatars would make our existence more meaningful and dynamic.
A NIMHANS study finds that 80 percent of our youth feels angry, and has anger management issues. While there must be a large degree of variance inter-se between the levels of anger felt by all these young people, it is imperative that something solid be done at a mass level to allay their fears about the future, or at least to reduce them. Fear and uncertainty, after all, are what burden their young minds inordinately in those fledgling years.
An Oxford Mail article states that many young people wilt under the pressure to succeed, and this pressure is exacerbated by the social media onslaught.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has taken steps recently to invite motivational speakers (including Yours Truly) to address students at a pan India level before the examination season really stresses them out. But the speeches of motivational speakers, however rousing they may be, will not alleviate significantly enough the mental load that these students feel. A concerted effort has to be made by parents, educators, the media and the government, to create an eco-system that encourages and facilitates our young. It cannot be allowed to terrorise or antagonise them anymore.