The Ramakrishna Mission's centre in the Capital is gearing up to celebrate the four-year-long 150 {+t} {+h} birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda with a series of programmes targeting the youth of the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the celebrations at Vigyan Bhawan here on January 12.

Swami Vivekenanda was born on January 12, 1863. A national committee has been formed with the Prime Minister as chairman to oversee the celebrations. Dr. Singh will also release a book “Awakening India” which contains the selected writings of Swami Vivekananda in which he addressed the youth.

A “Future Leader Discovery Contest” will be held this year for school students and in 2012 for college students which will involve an online competition all over the country to be conducted in three stages. School students can register on the website www.awakeningindia.org from January 12.

An essay competition for college students in Delhi and NCR will be held on January 30. An education seminar will be held on February 12 and 13 which will focus on education for enablement, education for knowledge and education for spirituality which will be inaugurated by Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal.

An Inter-faith Youth Convention will be held on September 10 and 11 in the Capital to be inaugurated by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Speaking at a press conference here, Mission secretary Swami Shantatmananda said Swami Vivekananda's teachings are as relevant today as they were over a century ago when he first espoused them.

“Swami Vivekananda had identified the neglect of the masses as the major problem. He had said the masses had forgotten their individuality and lost faith in themselves. The one-sided growth story in India today has neglected the masses. Vivekananda's solution was to restore people's confidence in themselves. He believed religious awakening and education was the answer,” said Swami Shantatmananda, who added that a main aim of the celebration was to get the youth of the country to connect with Swami Vivekananda's teachings.

More In: NEW DELHI | NATIONAL