Why nationalism can’t be the sole focus of youth development

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The government must strengthen the National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme

On Tuesday, a national daily ran a story about the Centre mulling a proposal that plans to target 1 million young Indians (students of Class X and XII and college ) every year with a military training programme. The programme, the report added, will instill the values of nationalism, discipline, and self-esteem in the youth, which will help make India a “Vishwaguru” (universal leader) and achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of New India 2022. A day later, the Centre rebutted the report, saying all it plans to do is to revamp and strengthen two existing schemes: the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and National Service Scheme (NSS).

The Centre’s plan of revamping the two schemes must be welcomed. This is not because there is an express need to force-feed nationalism to India’s youth, but because both these schemes have a wider focus and provide an expansive exposure and opportunities to those who join them.

The NCC was started in 1948, the NSS in 1969. Unfortunately, many educational institutions in India don’t offer these two schemes to their students. Obviously, they don’t realise what their wards are missing out on. Along with inculcating discipline, the two schemes help students develop a broader secular outlook, a spirit of adventure and acquire hands-on experience in community-led programmes. These are much more critical for a citizen than developing tunnel-vision nationalism. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also spoken about the importance of these two organisations, along with Bharat Scouts and Guides and Nehru Yuva Kendra, in one of his Maan ki Baat speeches.

While education has its own place in a student’s life, the activities that the NCC and NSS offer are unparalleled and can give students a chance to expand their horizons beyond books and examination. They help develop camaraderie. In addition, students get the benefits of outdoor activities like relieving stress, calming the mind, better immunity and sharpened focus. These are among many positives that students — and eventually the country— can benefit from.

Source: Hindustan Times

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