In 1899, the great patriot saint of our country Swami Vivekananda, made the following exhortation:
“Let New India arise – out of the peasants’ cottage, grasping the plough; out of the huts of the fisherman, the cobbler, and the sweeper. Let her spring from the grocer’s shop, from beside the oven of the fritter-seller. Let her emanate from the factory, from marts, and from markets.” (The Complete Works of Sw Vivekananda, Vol 7, p 327)
Even after 118 years, one gets awestruck by the foresightedness of this seer. Swamiji had realized that it was the common man where the actual energy of transformation laid, and if that energy could be garnered well, it would bring our country to the forefront- and that is exactly what is happening now.
Our farmers, cobblers, fishermen, sweepers and others of similar vocations have tremendous will-power to fight the odds, and if they can be skilled properly, they will do marvels. Another remarkable feature of these people is a compassionate heart. We have had numerous examples of poor farmers willingly sharing their meals with strangers. We come across the news of rag pickers giving shelter to abandoned children for days together. This is possible because one, their wants are limited and secondly they verily understand the agony of the ‘have nots’.
Our need of the hour is to skill, re-skill and upskill people belonging to the marginalized section of the society. If these people are skilled, not only we get a humungous work force at hand, the manufacturing and services industry would also be suitably reinforced at the grass root level. An additional benefit which comes as a by- product of this ‘Skilling Movement’ is the availability of a band of people with a willingness to serve the country. This is possible if all the Skill Development Programs ( Organized or Un-organized) have a Value Education element built in it. Our training programs should not be merely ‘bread winning’, rather they should be what Sw. Vivekananda termed as ‘man making’.
Swamiji also wanted that India should learn the technological advancements from the West and share her spiritual treasure with them, in return. In that case, the nature of relationship would be of ‘equality’ and not ‘master slave’. In recent times, we can find this symbiosis happening all around us.
It is heartening to note that several skill development programs are being launched in the country and a sincere attempt is being made to bring maximum number of beneficiaries into the fold.
As far as doing ‘our bit’ is concerned, whether we are students or professionals or housewives or academicians in an educational institute, if we can sincerely attempt to either get atleast 5 people skilled in their own vocation or extend a helping hand to institutes where such trainings are imparted ( there are plenty around us), it will be our much desired contribution to ‘nation building’.
As a reverential homage to Swami Vivekananda on the eve of his 154th birth anniversary on 12th Jan.