All life forms want a comfortable and happy life. In case of human beings it is a sum of two things, personal happiness and better environment. Personal happiness can be obtained by a variety of ways. One becomes happy when one is contented or at peace with oneself. We will talk about how to become happy and contented later on.
Environmental happiness is what I call nation building. It is the environment which makes you feel happy to live in, work in and just be a part of it. This environmental happiness also gives us a sense of belonging, makes us feel proud of our surroundings and gives us a sense of ownership. If we create a happy environment for our work and living than we will make this country a great place to live. Each one of us should work on improving our immediate environment so that it becomes nice and cheerful. Then we will be genuinely proud to be a part of it. For environmental happiness and nation building we need excellent young people like you.
How can youth participate in nation building (personal work)?
First accept that whatever we are today is because of the country and society. Hence we should give something back to the society. Gratitude is the essence of being human. I believe that the whole purpose of our existence is to increase personal and societal infrastructure. Personal infrastructure includes health, happiness and general well being. By improving our personal "infrastructure" we become better human beings and it helps in our evolution. By giving back to the society so that its "infrastructure" increases we help in mankind's evolution. Both these activities when done simultaneously give us a great joy and satisfaction.
One should keep aside half an hour per day (only 2% of the time) for society work. It is almost 200 hours/year. This is substantial time for society and the work can add up year after year.
For nation building you can work on anything in which you interact with the surrounding and can help make it better. Thus work of helping needy students, cleaning the surroundings, energy saving etc. can all be part of your work for society.
Just trying to conserve energy in whatever way you can will be a great way of helping society. Keep a daily log of the energy consumed and how you can save it. Even thinking about improving your surroundings, writing about it and telling others is society work. Follow the mantra "act locally think nationally" and you will help in societal improvement.
However in all these things be very active and this activity will give you a positive frame of mind. Develop a "can do" approach. Everything is possible with a strong will and a good aptitude. At young age the mind is very active and hence you should be bubbling with ideas. Best ideas are the maximum ideas. The more ideas you have the higher is the chance of producing a great idea.
Be positive in your approach. Rise above the negative things and make them irrelevant. This is how nature works. It evolves by branching out and only that branch, which interacts properly with the environment, survives and evolves. The other branch, which does not, withers away. Thus nature never suppresses the other branch ' it becomes automatically irrelevant. This is a higher mode of development where the whole system is upgraded and lifted up. Learn to follow nature in everything you do. It has evolved though millions of years and hence has great design templates to copy and emulate.
Don't worry about the outcome. Positive things will happen if you are honest and conscientious in your work. You are doing the society work for your benefit namely discipline and discovery. Besides you will also feel tremendous satisfaction in helping others. Every work you do will help you learn new things and will help in increasing your "infrastructure". If you have this attitude then any work you do becomes enjoyable. Never say "what is in it for me". That is a negative attitude.
How can you help the society (institutional effort)?
Around 60% of our rural population live in very primitive conditions. They have no electricity and their lives are in darkness. They use inefficient kerosene lanterns for light and primitive and ancient biomass cook stoves for cooking. Modern technology somehow has not touched their lives. Besides the poor quality of end product, the devices used by them create tremendous household pollution. Thus there are estimates that around 1.5 million deaths per year in rural areas are attributable to inhaling smoke from the inefficient and primitive biomass stoves.
Without these people getting into the mainstream, environment cannot be improved. Around 54% of India's population is below 25 years of age and most of them live in rural areas and are unemployed. Creation of rural enterprises is the best way to create wealth, improve their quality of life and bring these people into mainstream of development.
I am sure you will all go and become important people in your own enterprises, in corporate, Government and other sectors. In whichever sector you go use your considerable clout to help the rural population increase their quality of life. Even if you go abroad think how you can create conditions to improve the lives of these people. This is your contribution to the society.
In order that you understand what rural population needs and how they can be helped it is necessary that you spend some time in becoming familiar with their plight. The best way to do so is to spend a year or so with rural based NGOs. By spending time with NGOs you will achieve two things. Firstly you will understand the problem of rural India and secondly you will know how these NGOs work. Later on this knowledge may help you in starting your own NGO.
You all are in the age group of 20-25 years. Spending one or two years in rural areas will hardly be noticed by you later but the experience will be extremely rewarding and it will attach you firmly to the roots of the society. This time spent in rural areas is also your contribution to the society because I am sure that young and bright students like you will think very hard on the problems that you will encounter during your stay. And I do hope that these experiences will stay with you the rest of your life so that when you have the resources and a chance you will do something about them.
Thus for some of you who will go in the corporate area think how you can help in creating rural enterprises by creating venture funds. For some of you who will go into R&D think about how you can develop technologies to create better devices for rural areas and for some of you who might go in Government service the whole range of activities will be open to you for helping the rural population.
How to create personal Happiness?
However for an individual to work for the society it is necessary that he should be secure and happy. And now I will discuss about happiness.
Happiness is a state of mind. You start feeling happy when you become internally secure. Deep thought or Sanyam helps in creating internal calmness and security. When you become honest with yourself and try to understand yourself or the spirit you start becoming internally secure. Deep thought, Sanyam or Yoga helps you focus on a particular subject for a long time. This concentration helps the mind get calm and makes it extremely powerful. A powerful mind can move mountains.
This internal security also helps us become less greedy for materials and resources. This is the genesis of spirituality and sustainability. With the reduction or removal of greed the individual becomes happy. A happy individual can then give back to society both knowledge and resources. This is the essence of nation building.
Thus if we all work together for creating happiness in our personal lives and for nation building then India can teach the world a new way towards sustainable living.