The mind of old men move in fixed grooves like a railway train; they cannot divert their minds to new channels of thought. Poet Tagore has called upon the youth to awaken these half-dead men. Otherwise the result is the unnecessary sacrifice of millions of lives, and many of them, the flowers of the nation, best and the ablest ones. Out of these blunders of the old arose, like the new phoenix coming out of the ashes of the old, a movement all over the world for mobilising the energy and idealism of youth, for doing what age had failed to achieve.
Associations like Wonder Vogals in Germany, Sokol movement in Chekoslovakia, Consamol in the former Soviet Union, the Kito movement in Japan and the yough League in Bengal under Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's leadership were started; and all for voicing the thoughts and aspirations of youngmen on contemporary problems.
Every nation has its own youth movement, but certain features are common to all. These youngmen and women are largely socialistic in their ideology, international in their outlook, pacific in their aims, humanitarian in their programme.
They have not approached all questions from the rational standpoint, as did the Derozians of Young Bengal. They are far readier than older people to accept new methods and ideals and to dismiss the prejudices of fanatical narrow-minded men. They believe in ideals sincerely and try to work up to these ideals.
They are, therefore, the leaders of progress. Red Dany of Paris of 1967, Tie-in-Man youth of Bejing in 1994, Indonesian youth of 1998 are such forces. In India, the last century saw a resurgence of youth. But here politics has been the most important factor.
Young India translated everything in terms of politics. For this reason, most of their efforts were directed to organize strikes against academic routine, to engineering conflicts with the authorities who were directly or indirectly in alliance with the British. But it was certainly not a symptom of the growing irreverence and irresponsibility of Indian youth. Much good work in the various youth organizations in the country have done and are doing till.
To conduct night schools for infants and adults, to organize social reform movements, to undertake village uplift work—are some of the normal duties in their programmes. In times of crisis, e.g. during famines or epidemics or floods or during natural calamities, many of these organizations render yeoman's service. It is to be acknowledged that students' union is a part of academic life. Today every college has its union, which is gradually becoming a force to reckon with and taking an ever-increasing part in directing the energies of young people to constructive channels of work.
It is one of the characteristic signs of the age that Youth Movements are more popular in the Socialist countries than in the older democracies. This is possible because sensitive and catchy young men are more easily moved by idealism, more spontaneously respond to new ideas. Peace, anti-militarism, socialism or economic justice, world reconstruction— these appeal to young minds more and evoke a burning zeal. This happened during the civil war of Spain.
We are living in a period of intense crisis. Now more than every youngmen and women should place all the wealth of their idealism and energy at the service of their country. All political parties favour giving more opportunities and scope to young candidates and budding politicians to shape the future of the country. Old fossils should yield place to the youth. They should stand up for the larger ideals, for a more human and humanitarian approach to all problems. For the youth have no axe to grind, no interest to serve. They are eminently fitted by their spirit of freedom and resilience of mind to respond to the call of a changing reality.
“The youths of a nation are the trustees of posterity", the green fields of promise. Indeed, youth is the seedtime of life. Properly utilised, the country will reap a rich harvest. On the young will depend the hopes of the future. For us the youth of earlier generation bled. Their idealism, their integrity, their character form priceless assets. Indeed, future is in their hands. So Lenin said: "The young are growing and will gain the upper hand despite everything". The golden future belongs to them. They will win the kingdom of heaven.