Youth have to take into account deprivation when thinking of change

For change: N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, at the Young Leaders Global Conclave in PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore.

For change: N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, at the Young Leaders Global Conclave in PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore.   | Photo Credit: — Photos: K. Ananthan


India is a rising country and needs their energy, outrage and anger, says N. Ram

“Most of us are clear as to what India is not. We are not clear about what India is. When you are thinking of change you have to take into account the 350 million people who are deprived of income, education, health, environment and gender. These are the realities that have to be addressed when we think of change,” according to Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu N. Ram.

Interacting with students after inaugurating The Young Leaders Global Conclave with the theme “Be the Change” at PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore, he urged them to look beyond their narrow interests and involve in activity relating to change. Terming the present time as ideal for reflecting on change, Mr. Ram appreciated the students for choosing the theme on change at the apt time.

Education was an area of priority that needed to change. “Merely providing opportunity without quality is not good. The reverse is also not good. Educational institutions should ensure that they provide opportunities to many at the same time maintaining quality so that there are many first generation learners who are able to pursue higher education,” he said.

India had the advantage of a huge young population.

“It needs their energy, outrage and anger. India is a rising country. It is not enough for students to just focus on their future career. Former President Abdul Kalam wished each student to teach one who did not have the means to learn,” he said.

He urged them to be conscious of such activities if they wanted to become agents of change. According to Mr. Ram, education was the key to India becoming a developed country. He told them not to be optimistic about India becoming a developed country even by 2050.

“I guarantee that we will never become a developed country considering our literacy status. We have many school dropouts. Do something revolutionary to change this. Only that can transform India into a knowledge society.”

Referring to the poor status of primary education in the country, he said there were some schools in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, that had a single teacher. “There are many other States which face the same problem”.

To a query on whether youth should join politics, he told them to start by voting.

Electoral fraud

He wanted them to take serious note of electoral fraud. He exhorted them to take an informed interest in politics so that they entered into it for the sake of issues and not for the sake of any leader. As young leaders in politics, he desired that they take up environmental issues like global warming that were receiving “feeble global response”.

Responding to a poser on the attitude of Pakistan with respect to the Mumbai terror attacks, he said it was not only the military, but also major players like Gilani and Nawaz Sharif who were in denial mode under pressure.

Admitting that it was true that in some societies laws were needed to be followed only by the common man and not by the powerful, he said, “There is a general feeling that law does not apply. This is largely related to underdevelopment and lack of education. But, we do have a good system, codes and constitution, even though the implementation is delayed.”

Mr. Ram expressed concern over technical institutions not giving space for arts and humanities. He said the imbalance should be corrected so that students did not neglect the humanities.

He urged them to be clear about what they wanted. “There should be creativity, innovation and realism in the realm of ideas. When worthwhile ideas take root in a large group, then it becomes a material force,” he said.

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