THIS IS A NICE TIME TO BE ALIVE. THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL TIME TO BE YOUNG! THIS INDEED IS A WONDERFUL TIME TO BE A YOUNG PERSON IN INDIA!

You may ask what there is to be so excited about. There are wars, bombs and terrorism in various parts of the world. We are surrounded by pain, suffering, death and evil. There is hardly peace in the world.

This is only one side of the picture. There is also the excitement of change, growth and development all around us. We produce today more wealth than ever before in history – food and other necessary goods, as well as things that make our life more enjoyable. New discoveries are being made, new things being invented daily. We have the telephone and the internet to chat with people far away. We can have more friends. We can travel comfortably and fast, and meet our friends. We have more time and money to do these things.

We have today far more opportunities open to us to educate ourselves, to develop our talents, to find good jobs. We have far more free time and many interesting things to do.

Why it is exciting to be young in India today?

We do have many problems, but over a billion people professing several different faiths, speaking so many languages, belonging to different communities, succeed to live together mostly in peace and harmony.

Mobile telephones were introduced in India only in 1995. By October 2005 there were 67 million people using them. Over two million new connections are made every month. In the single year 2017, 212,996 people became owners of new cars and 11,094,543 bikes were sold.

In 1999 the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) launched a satellite for South Korea and Germany. In 2001 it did the same for Belgium and Germany. It won contracts to repeat the performance for Italy in 2005, Singapore in 2006 and Israel in 2007. India already controls 25% of the world market for knowledge of the earth’s surface gathered by satellites in space, ISRO has now set its sights on launching unmanned mission to other planets.

There was a time, when India exported only raw material and minerals along with agricultural goods. We were looked at as a nation of snake charmers. Today India is the second biggest exporter of computer software in the world. Export of software and services grew by 32% in 2004, accounts for 21.3% of our total exports and is India’s largest export. India accounts for 90% of the total IT services outsourced by European countries. Four-fifths of the world’s largest 500 companies outsource some work to India. The Tata Consultancy Services, alone, provides solution to clients in 32 countries.

Doctors in India are said to have performed cataract operation 3000 years ago. We are today regaining our old glory. 1.5 lakh foreigners came to India in 2004 to seek treatment in our hospitals.

India has 17% of world’s population, but only 2.42% of its land surface. Yet we are able to produce enough food for all of our people.

Some examples of Indians who have done great things

  • There were seven Indians among the world’s top 100 young researchers listed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004.
  • On 4 October 2004, 12 year old K Masha Nazeem, a class VIII student from Nagercoil devised a technique to prevent trains dirtying railway stations from their toilets. By September 2005 railways engineers started using her model.
  • Ramesh Raskar has built large computer display system that combine images from several projectors.
  • Ravi Kane created and effective treatment of anthrax in which each drug molecule blocks several toxic molecules rather than just one. The method may become useful in fighting HIV/AIDS.
  • Arka Prava Dhar, a class X student of Pragjyotish English High School in Guwahati in 2004, made a model of a space settlement that was chosen by NASA as the best out of 60000 entries submitted from all around the world.
  • Srinidhi Varadarajan designed and built the world’s third fastest supercomputer from a cluster of 1100 Apple Macintoshes. The project cost $5 million whereas other similar supercomputers cost $100 million.
  • In 2004, 13 students of Buddha Dal Public School and Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in Patiala travelled to Florida. They were the only foreign team among the eight in the competition to design a human settlement in space and on the moon. They won the competition. They were led by 19 year old Abhishek Agarwal.
  • The 2 million strong Indian community in the United States were the best educated and the highest earners in the country in 2004. That year non resident Indians sent 23 billion dollars of their earning back to India.
  • In 2003, Vijay Dhir became the dean of UCLA’s Henry Samuel School of Engineering and Applied Science in the USA. In 2004, Prith Banerjee was made the dean of the college of engineering at the University of Illinois, and Pradeep Khosla the dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s College of engineering.
  • Lakshmi Mittal is the largest steel maker and the third richest man in the world, owning property worth $25 billion.
  • Young Sachin Tendulkar has become the greatest batsman in cricket. Above all, he has wonderful values. He says “I come from a middle class Mahrashtrian family and we believe that prayers can work wonders.”

We are slowly coming out in the sports world beyond cricket with new starts like Rathore in shooting, Sania Mirza and Jwala Gutta in tennis and badmington, Koneru Humpy in chess, Anju Bobby George in long jump, Narain Karthikeyan in racing, etc.

Munishwari of Bhusra village in Bihar, an illiterate woman of a scheduled caste, led the women of her area to try out new skills and techniques that have totally changed her entire district. Vegetable vendor Suhasini Mistri was able to start a hospital for the poor of Kolkata.

Little, seven year old, Anam Iqbal was severely burnt by a fire in Delhi in May 1999. As she lay dying in the hospital, her only thought was for her sister, Soni, who must also have been caught in the fire. No one seemed to be looking for her! “Papa, didi was with me” were her last words before she died.

You might say these are exceptions. The reality is far worse. People are poor. They are selfish, self-centered. They only want to get rich fast and without working.

  • First of all, these weaknesses are the exceptions. News of these things come in the papers because they are unusual. No one writes about things that go well. No one wants to read about normal events.
  • Secondly, problems are not reasons for discouragement. They are also opportunities. They challenge us. They make us want to change things. No one may notice a rose among thousands of other flowers in a garden. But if there is a rose blooming in the middle of weeds, everyone turns around to looks. We can make roses bloom around us!
  • Some of us are waiting to grow up. Others wait for the right conditions to start doing something truly great and wonderful. We say we can’t do anything just now because the situation is not favorable. Gandhi may not have become such a great man if India were not a colony at his time. The situation that was not good gave him the opportunity to be great.
  • We are young. We have ideas. We have enthusiasm. We have energy. Years of fruitful work lie ahead of us. What is it that we can start doing today to make things better around us? In India greatness is lying by the roadside for anyone to pick it up. Everything is just right to make people great. Are you ready to pick up the challenge?

“India can be different if we are not indifferent” is the slogan of a movement. It started a “Different India campaign” in May 1999. It encourages people to do simple things to show that change for a better future is possible.

A “different India” is in the making – not through the work of political leaders, government officer or rich companies. The new India, the different India, is being built by people like you and me.

What can you do? What will you do? What is the little change for the better waiting for you to cause in your school, village or colony? What can you do to make it happen? Who can help you? How will you start?

Pick up the greatness being offered to you. Become great. Start off with little things. We have our weaknesses, our problems. But opportunities are also all around us.

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