National Youth Day observed on 12 January to mark birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda

Jan 12, 2016 17:31 IST

12 January: National Youth Day

National Youth Day was observed across India on 12 January 2016 to mark the 153rd birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda who was India’s foremost social reformer, philosopher and thinker. The theme for 2016 is Youth for Skill Development and Harmony.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a gathering at the National Youth Festival, which was held in Raipur, through video conference from New Delhi.

The day is celebrated annually since 12 January 1985 in recognition of his ideals and teachings and to project him as a role model for the Indian youth.

Contributions of Swami Vivekananda

Religion: He gave rational interpretation to the scriptures and condemned the oppressive caste system and over emphasis on rituals. He preached, "service to man is service to god".

To spread his religious message he founded Ramakrishna math in Belur in 1987 with twin ideals of self realisation and service to god.

Social sphere: He established Ramakrishna mission in 1897 as an affiliated organisation to the math to take up social work in the fields of education, healthcare and welfare. He condemned social inequalities on the name of religion and preached for women empowerment and emancipation of youth.

National moment: He motivated the masses and leaders of the national movement with his influential speeches and writings. He laid emphasis on self reliance in the political sphere.

Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Aurabindo were some of those freedom fighters who were influenced by his thoughts.

Literature: Majority of swamiji's works compiled from lectures given around the world and the letters written to his friends.  Lectures from Colombo to Almora, karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Raja yoga are some of his important works.

Influence: Jamsethji Tata established the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore on his recommendation. Similary, the Rockfeller foundation was established by Rock feller, an industrialist, on his suggestion. The Raman Magsaysay award is presented by this foundation annually.

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