Young people are considered as the most valuable assets of any nation. They are the powerhouse and store house of enormous energy. The future of any nation rests on the iron shoulders of its young generations. INDIA too owes a lot to the youth of our previous generations. In India the success of many revolutions and movements can be attributed to its youth.
Time and again youth of India has proved its worth and made the political class feel that they can’t be taken for granted. In this article my focus is on the numerous student movements that caused paradigm shift in the history of India. Though there are innumerable successful movements that witnessed huge participation of youth but I will concentrate on the two most important of them Total Revolution and Gujarat Nav-Nirman movement.
Youth is something synonymous to zeal, strength, exuberance and determination. These traits were on display during the Gujrat Nav-Nirman movement. This movement shattered the then government of Chiman Bhai Patel literally subduing it. This was the first movement in history of independent India which led to dissolution of an elected government. This movement started from the discussions round the mess table of L D Engineering College, Ahmedabad. Rampant corruption and sky rocketing prices of general commodities had already created a wide dissatisfaction among middle class. The sudden 20% hike in mess food bills further added fuel to the fire. On 23rd December the students went on strike against the hike. This was rapidly followed by other college’s students. No one had ever predicted that this simple political spark initiated by handful of students would turn into an inferno and change the course of history forever. The government used all tactics to overpower the movement but all actions boomeranged in unimaginable way. Clashes between students and police were rampant in the state and students were in no mood to kneel down. An indefinite strike started on 7th January in all educational institutions. On 25 January a state-wide strike was organised by all prominent student unions which led to deadly clashes between police and students. The magnitude and intensity of this movement can be judged by the fact that on 28th army was called on to restore
peace and curfew was imposed in as many as 44 towns of Gujarat. The famous slogan used was “Chiman-chhor gaddi-chhor”.
Finally the then government was forced to resign and president’s rule was imposed but even this could not please the students and finally the central government had to dissolve the state assembly. This movement witnessed death of 100 people who were predominately students. The aftermath was so intense that Congress was completely vanquished in the next elections.
After the success of Gujarat movement there was a kind of political silence prevailing in the country but no one knew that this stillness would soon give way to a political tempest. Some 1200 km away from Ahmedabad in the land of those who once stopped the victory campaign of mighty Greeks led by Alexander the great , an another historical movement was awaiting. The conditions prevailing here were exactly the same as in case of Gujarat prior to the movement. A group of students sitting round the mess table and topic of discussion was “future of India”. These students belonged to the then prestigious Patna Science College in Bihar. Students highly impressed by the success of Gujarat revolution were planning a similar revolution in Bihar. Soon the students took on to the streets and state wide protests started. Strikes were organised and were followed by brutal suppression by the government. But the unparalleled determination of students made the movement unstoppable. The youth a source of enormous energy needs to be channelized by an experienced leader. And this was done by none else than the veteran socialist, freedom fighter and close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Jai Prakash Narayan popularly known as J P . J P led the famous agitation at Patna.
The famous Gandhi Maidan witnessed an unprecedented crowd of college students. This kind of gathering was never seen even during the freedom struggle. Even J P was stunned to see such a sea of humanity and impressed to see a sense of responsibility in them. The crowd was clamoring and swearing “let’s fix this government”. The movement was given the name “total revolution”. It soon spread to every nook and corner of the country. But government used its last ammo and imposed Emergency which resulted in death of the movement and it could not achieve its goals.
Both these incidents show how the determined Indian youth can uproot the entire government, how they can change the very course of history. This shows that youth remains a potent force to reckon with. Unfortunately today’s youth seems to be least interested in the problems being faced by the country. The wave of globalisation has tempted the Indian youth to such an extent that politics and social issues are not at all on his priority list. Youth seems to be preoccupied with ideas of latest smart phones, tabs and movies. The contemporary scenario in India is not at
all something to be proud of. There are very few leaders who are reasonably concerned for the country. In this situation youth must fill this void.