The vast and multidimensional country India has often been described as “a rich country with poor people!” It has glorious legacy of rich history, minerals, forest and other natural wealth, beautiful rivers and mountains and talented citizens. The country still suffers from some shortcomings that are eating into the very vitals of its glory.
The country’s youths who are the future citizens, are naturally concerned with state of affairs in their country. During their discussions, they have identified some priority problems : • Forces that intentionally and unintentionally are causing the disintegration of the country. • Widespread violence, criminalisation of politics. • Corruption in public and private life. • Economic and social disparities. • Poverty, unemployment, over population. • Superstition, ignorance, illiteracy. • Gender discrimination. • Environmental problems. • Drug addiction, alcoholism.
In 1970, some youth workers met at the Mahatma Gandhi Seva Ashram at Joura in the once dacoit affected Chambal Valley in Madhya Pradesh. (The Ashram had played host to hundreds of notorious dacoits (bandits) surrendering to Gandhian principals). The consensus was that the one force that can help to build India free from these shortcomings is the youth of the country. Hence the need for a youth Movement that is free from religious, linguistic, regional bias and from prejudices of political ideologies.
The National Youth Project As in many other countries, thousands of youths came out with dedication and sacrifice to join the struggle for freedom and the motivating force then was to free their country from foreign rule. The motivating force for the youths now to join the movement should be to free their country from shortcomings. Activities that will help build the ‘espirit-de-corps’ among the youths include community work for the benefit of the needy, all religious prayers and learning each other’s language for national integration. Youths will have other activities devoted to the process of making a family of youths belonging to all religions, regions, languages and political thinking. The movement launched under the directorship of Dr. S.N. Subba Rao was named National Youth Project (NYP).
In the same year 1970, three N.Y.P. camps were organised in the Chambal Valley, and young men and women came from all parts of India.
N.Y.P. organised youth camps and other programmes in many parts/cities of India such as Nagaland , Manipur, Sikkim, Ladakh, Lakshdweep, Andaman, Bhagalpur, Aligarh, Bombay, Godhra, Kanpur, Nakodar and other riot affected places. Padyatras by these youths in the affected areas are found most helpful in bridging the gulf between people.
The youths could establish that in spite of differences due to religion, caste, language or status they could live together and be friendly to one another, bringing forth living meaning to the spirit of “Unity in Diversity”. After their experience in the NYP camps the youths themselves felt that their life became more meaningful when they participated in nation building activities. NYP has been conducting about 10 camps in a year. They are : National Integration Camps, Communal Harmony Camps Literacy Camps, Relief Camps for victims of riots, earthquake etc. Women’s camps, Camps for Management Course, South East Asia Friendship Camp.