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India’s youth isn’t afraid to come forward to make use of its freedom of speech

Youngsters believe in non-violence and negotiation, they prefer to solve matters on the table rather than on the battlefield and have a practical view towards every problem.



Here is the entry that won second prize in the Seniors Category for the Essay Competition organised by Apeejay Education on ‘What does patriotism mean for the youth of today?’, written by  Anahit Sandhu, a student of class 12 at Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg, Jalandhar.

Anahit Sandhu, class XII-C,  Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg, Jalandhar

India is a wonderful amalgamation of people of different religions, beliefs and opinions. Well … this is an old expression. India for me is a beautiful country with people who have now, to a large extent, overcome the trivial boundaries of caste, race and religion, which were set up by the older generations and we, Indians, absolutely adore our country. Now here comes our question: How does the youth of today express their adoration for India? By standing up for the national anthem? By watching the Republic Day parade? Or maybe just by raising our national flag? No. Our adoration…. our patriotism is much more than these actions.

Patriotism is not just a feeling or an emotion, it is an empowering state of being that drives us towards selfless and unabashed devotion to the motherland. It pushes us to render impactful service to our nation and contribute purposefully to the lives of people living there. It is not just about glorifying the image of our country in the media but also about making a positive change to the very fabric of the nation in letter and spirit. Patriotism is an effort towards retaining the remarkable strengths of the native country and ridding it of all sorts of ills that impede its progress.

 Patriotism must draw inspiration from the ideals enshrined in our constitution and must incorporate the essence of our freedom struggle/National movement. It should motivate us to cut across religion, caste, creed, gender, race, language etc and rise above divisive tactics of the vested groups. It should enable us to stand together as a united force and epitomise the spirit of ‘Unity in Diversity’. It should empower us to embrace our unique differences and peculiarities, yet identify us as the citizens of the same nation.

The youth of today have a great responsibility of upholding the meaning of patriotism in terms of paying the debt of the sacrifices of the past and inheriting or investing a healthy spirit to the future. Patriotism for the youth today is accepting the fact that their country has some flaws and they strive to vanquish them. They have the courage to stand up against the decision of the government that they do not agree to. For them, protesting for equal rights for everyone irrespective of their caste, sex, sexual orientation and colour, form the basic essence of the India of their dreams.               

Plus, with the power of social media, youngsters do not shy away from quoting their opinions. Whether it is for former Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh’s ‘Ripped Jeans’ remarks or the judgment passed by Justice Ganediwale of Bombay High Court, who received severe backlash, or the Madras High Court verdict for the LGBTQA+ community, which was welcomed by the youth, they are not afraid to come forward to make the best use of their freedom of speech.

At times, people do not go out to vote under the pretext that their single vote will not make any significant difference and they could do something apparently more productive, during that time but youngsters understand the importance of voting and expect their voices to be heard through the mouths of their representatives. Patriotism for the youth is to give back to the country they are living in. Every youngster who goes out to vote has a picture of a better India in their eyes.

Youngsters believe in non-violence and negotiation, they prefer to solve matters on the table rather than on the battlefield and have a practical view towards every problem.

There’s much transformation and evolvement going on in India, for example legalization of same – sex marriages and gender equality. Youngsters find it really easy to adapt to the changes because of their sense of judgment of what’s right and what’s wrong. Youngster don’t tend to judge people who sway away from the accepted ‘normal’. It is believed that India is not modern enough for all these progressive changes but we have to understand that bringing up these progressive changes will lead India to modernisation.

A true patriot does not have to necessarily hold a gun and display the courage on the boundaries, rather as a vigilant citizen of the society, we, as youth can fight against the internal flaws in the system which are damaging our nation more than the foreign enemies. These evils like black marketing, hoarding, poverty, illiteracy have to be uprooted.

India has population of over 1 billion, so to curb it, the youth is taking up family planning. Patriotism does not just focus on the independence, safety and pride of India, it also focuses on the happiness of India. Now we are getting the right treatment to our mental health, people are encouraged to end a marriage if things are not working out, without worrying about the societal pressure, gender pay disparity is being spoken about, social evils like dowry, child marriage, child abuse, domestic violence and patriarchy are finally being looked down upon.

India might have her fair share of flaws but here’s the thing: the circumstances are slowly changing and I am looking forward to the day when the reins of our country are in the hands of today’s youth whose minds are well adapted to welcome a change to put India on the road to development. This reminds me of a quote by Shri Rabindranath Tagore.

‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high….

Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.’

That day isn’t far away when the ‘minds without fear’ will make our India, the nation, that swirled before the eyes of our freedom fighters before they closed them for their peaceful sleep.

Aasheesh Sharma is a seasoned journalist with an experience of more than 25 years spread over newspapers, news agencies, magazines and television. He has worked in leadership positions in media groups such as Hindustan Times, India Today, Times of India, NDTV, UNI and IANS. He is a published author and his essay on the longest train journey in India was included in an anthology of writings on the railways, brought out by Rupa Publications. As the Editor of Apeejay Newsroom, he is responsible for coverage of the latest news and developments in the Apeejay institutions. He can be reached at [email protected] He tweets @Aasheesh74