‘The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow’ – has become a cliche in recent years, but the veracity and the sheer universality of the statement shall never cease to exist. Generation after generation will come and go, handing over the reins of society and humankind at large to those succeeding them, and some will always emerge as leaders, drawing the horsecart that is human existence, over the bumpy terrain of evolution.
August 12 has been celebrated as International Youth Day since the year 2000. The purpose is to recognize the importance of youth in the context of the larger society and empower them to make positive contributions to their communities and nations.
We observe International Youth Day through various activities such as awareness campaigns, community concerts, and events, which help bring to the notice the socio-economic and socio-political issues that the youth face.
This year, we decided to celebrate this day in a unique way – by letting them expound on their perspectives. LocalWire spoke with some extremely talented individuals from various backgrounds, in order to ask them two important questions in the context of the current situation.
Q1 – How do you as a youth, envision your role in helping curb the current pandemic?
Q2 – In the current decade, how do you think you are contributing to taking India forward?
We got some really interesting responses from people. Read on to find out the thoughts of today’s Indian youth!
Sweeti Ghorai, 26, Architect
“During this pandemic, social distancing and following COVID appropriate behaviour is the only way we can ensure our safety. Taking care of my health by eating healthy and exercising is also something I follow, in order to put my best foot forward every day.
Even the smallest of actions of an individual can have an impact on the growth of a country. A country does not only grow economically, but it also grows socially, which is where we as the young generation come in. Personally, I believe in helping small businesses thrive, and always purchase things from the local shops in my neighbourhood. Delivery guys are another set of people who work hard for their daily bread. If my delivery gets late, I try to be understanding about it rather than giving them a bad rating straightaway. These small acts will help us be more compassionate as a society in general.”
Soumya Swain, 27, IT professional
“I believe we ourselves have to be responsible in order to deal with the pandemic properly. For my part, I follow all advocated precautionary measures and stay inside. I have reduced contact with outside/unknown people as much as I can.
I maintain that it is extremely important for people to conduct themselves in a way that helps shape India into a safe place for all, physically and mentally. I try my best to do so, as also to create and spread awareness on mental health and the importance of following one’s dreams. Nurturing spaces that allow judgement-free bonding of people helps them grow, and I feel it is my responsibility to be the kind of person that promotes that.
Suneli Patra, 28, MBA professional
“As I am the kind of person who loves going out, it was extremely difficult for me to stay at home for months on end during the lockdowns. However, I understand the importance of the measures that the government is taking for our safety, and as such, I try my best to be safe and follow COVID guidelines.
The pandemic came as a complete and utter shock last year. There were pay cuts and job losses, everyone had to adapt to the rapid technological changes at work, while going through huge changes in their personal lives brought on the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. While it took time for me to adapt to all these things myself, I have become better at handling things since, and am now entirely focused on growing professionally, as well as personally. I believe that for a nation to grow, the people of the nation should be willing to give their best on all levels.
Smita Santuka, 23, CA student
“Ever since the pandemic has begun, new practices have been established as part of our daily lives. People have had to get used to a lot of things that have the potential to shake up their core beliefs and practices. Amidst all this, we still have to be extremely careful regarding personal hygiene, COVID appropriate behaviour and practices as this would affect not only us, but the people around us. I, personally, make sure to wash my hands as often as I can, wear a mask at all times, and reduce going out as much as possible.
Since my childhood, I have had a soft spot for animals. When the pandemic began, the government requested citizens to feed stray animals in their lane, or in their neighbourhood. It was at that time that I began not only feeding the strays, but also working for their welfare. I have done numerous rescues of stray animals, by raising money through donations for their treatment and then getting them adopted by responsible and loving people. I also have rescued cows from being sent to slaughterhouses and facilitated their going to gaushalas where they are well-cared for. Going forward, this is my contribution to India – my vision of an India where animals are loved and cared for.
Naina Kujur, 26, B.Ed student
“I make sure that everyone in my family follows COVID appropriate behaviour as laid down by the GoI, and take the vaccine on time. I try to do the same for my friends, relatives and neighbours as well.
Being a B.Ed student, I hold the belief that in education lies the power to change everything for the better. Shaping young minds and helping them hone their skills in order to be the best version of themselves is a great responsibility, and I believe it is my duty to give my best in my endeavours for the same.”
Sanjay Bishi, 39, IT professional
“Creating awareness on cleanliness as well as COVID appropriate behaviour amongst people around me is my way of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone should stay as vigilant as humanly possible.
The worst thing that has happened in the current decade is the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has taught us that we need to be self-sufficient on many levels. For this reason, I am looking to work in start-ups, as I believe that my years of experience could be put to better use in a fast-paced learning environment. I also think that working on IT/technological start-ups will help boost India’s competence in this extremely important sector, which is slowly gaining a lot of significance.”