Everybody… from our politicians to market research professionals… are seeking an answer to a tricky question — what do young Indians want. What are their thoughts, ideas, priorities, dreams? The politicians would like an accurate answer to this question so that they can dress up their poll promises in a language that will appeal to the youth of India. Come 2019 and the country will step into one of the most important general elections in its history. The outcome of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls will decide what direction India will take in the future.
By now you must be sick and tired of hearing from various platforms how over the last few years India has emerged as a “young nation”. Different sets of figures are given; such as over 50 per cent of Indians today are 25 or younger, and 65 per cent of our population is under 35, etc, and with such a young population nobody can prevent India from becoming a superpower, and so on.
Coming to Rotary, when an aging organisation like Rotary International wants to bring down the average age of its members — the rising age of Rotarians in Europe is a major concern — small wonder that it would turn its gaze to a young nation like ours. And the same holds true when RI is pulling out all the stops to shore up its Rotaract base. Rotary leaders worldwide have now realised that Rotarians have not properly leveraged, or given due importance, to one of its most important branches, such as Rotaract. The reasoning is that if Rotarians help Rotaractors to develop their leadership skills and open up a world of opportunities to the younger member of the Rotary family, it will unlock the real magic of Rotary for Rotaractors and enthuse and motivate them to join Rotary clubs once they turn 30.
Now that we are bringing out Rotaract News as a quarterly — this is the fifth issue — quite a few senior Rotary leaders in India are seeing at close hand the kind of impressive projects you are doing on the ground. RIPN Sushil Gupta, who was the Global Chair of WinS (Wash in Schools) till his nomination as RI President 2020–21 was announced, was extremely happy and marvelled at the kind of WinS projects that Indian Rotaractors have been involved in, particularly those related to menstrual hygiene. Rotaractors have been in the forefront of distributing sanitary napkins, educating the girls in different parts of India that this is a biological process and it is normal to talk about it and ensure that special hygiene is maintained during this part of the month.
Many of you, we notice, have been visiting homes for senior citizens and cheering them up with music and dance, games and even outings. It is doubtful that even you realise the full impact of the joy you bring to the elderly when you do this.
Yes, your vote is important and you should use it wisely. But much more important is that unlike most youth, whose priorities revolve around movies, games, social media and so on, you have opened your eyes — and along with them, your hearts and minds — to the communities in which you live. Your Rotaract experience is bound to make you not only better citizens, but also better, more sensitive human beings.