इंडियन आवाज़     02 Oct 2023 12:26:54      انڈین آواز

Strive for excellence

By Pratibha Devisingh Patil

The youth constitute the majority of India’s population and for the next few decades, India will continue to have a large proportion of young people. I believe that when the 540 million youth of our country are educated, and they work determinedly in the spirit of service for the country, India’s future will definitely be glorious. Youth, with their energy and dynamism, with their dreams and aspirations, are a force when channelised productively can make any nation proud. Swami Vivekananda had great faith in the younger generation and he used to say, "Give me a few men and women who are pure and selfless and I shall shake the world". Young Indians have been demonstrating their capabilities and strengths in various fields of human activities in the country and across the world. Whether in the IT industry worldwide or international banks or global scientific organizations or multi-national business enterprises, there are young people from India who are joining their ranks. In sports, our youth have won international tournaments and brought laurels and medals to the country. However, we must not rest on our laurels. In this world of intense competition we need to continually strive for excellence.

Among our youth we have our future leaders, business persons and entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers, sportspersons and artists, lawyers and doctors of the country. The nation needs a variety of professionals and skilled workers for balanced and all round progress. It is important that whatever work one is involved in, is done with a deep sense of duty and commitment to complete it in a time bound manner. As students, you should study hard and when you study, it must be for true learning and understanding. Be disciplined and methodical in your daily lives. These qualities ensure that you attend to assigned tasks, and do what needs to be done on a daily basis. This helps in step-by-step progress in life and brings success. Fortune is an outcome of good work and can slip away, if laxity sets in. Therefore, be consistent in what you do.

Life is full of experiences – satisfaction when successful, joy during happy events, pride in having achieved a target. But, there will also be challenging moments. There will be times when victory will be elusive. Lack of success does not mean that we give up. It only means that we have to work harder, and that we have to persevere till our objective is achieved. There is the famous story about Thomas Edison, known for his path-breaking inventions. It is said that after trying 9,999 times to perfect the light bulb, Thomas Edison had not succeeded. Somebody asked Edison, "Are you going to have ten thousand failures"? Edison replied, "I have never failed even once. I have had thousands of learning experiences. I had to run through enough learning experiences to find a way that it did work." Edison did not let failure daunt him and his untiring efforts resulted in the invention of the bulb.

Today, we live in a knowledge society in which human progress relies on creativity and innovation. It will be new ideas and new creations that will change the world. It is for this reason that the Government has declared the next ten years as the Decade of Innovation in the country. Our people have the ability to innovate. This year in March, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, we had an exhibition of innovations principally from grassroots innovators. Many interesting exhibits were put up. Three young students also participated. Their innovations related to a breathing censor apparatus to assist physically challenged people, a bed that prevents the occurrence of bed sores for use in hospitals and for old people, as well as a motor system for drying clothes that could be used for household chores. These innovations were remarkable, but what impressed me most was that they were thinking of others. In the quest for progress we must never lose the sense of compassion towards others. This is the essence of humane societies. You should also work to eliminate social evils which cause discriminations and distortions in our society. There can be no place for dowry, female foeticide, female infanticide or child marriage.

Another aspect which every Indian must bear in mind is the importance of peace and harmony in the country. This can be achieved if we appreciate that our country has a vast variety of customs, food habits, languages, religious practices, traditions and cultures.

We must constantly strive to build understanding and a sense of collective pride in our Indianness and reject narrow and divisive agendas. The youth should pursue an agenda for growth and prosperity. They should be oriented in this direction.

Belonging to a civilization that has deep reverence towards nature, we must cherish its abundance. Planet Earth belongs to all of us, and we must judiciously use its resources, work to conserve its rich flora and fauna, as well as adopt environment friendly approaches. Global warming and climate change are major challenges confronting us. Every effort designed to make people environment friendly is a contribution to meet this challenge. Youth can help by planting trees, keeping their schools and homes neat and tidy, as well as developing a civic sense. Parents and school teachers can play an important role in guiding children. (This article is an excerpt from the speech made the President of India during presentation of Rashtrapati scouts and guides award certificates for 2009)

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