Abosalem Raito SDB and Ian Pinto SDB
A two day seminar on “Youth and Nation Building” was organized by Divyadaan: Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Nashik on 21st and 22nd September, 2018. The resource person was Rev. Fr Varghese Alengaden, founder of the Universal Solidarity Movement. The participants consisted primarily of priests, nuns, novices and the teachers of Kilbil St. Joseph’s High School, besides the brothers of Divyadaan. The seminar began with a prayer service. Fr Banzelão, the principal of Divyadaan welcomed and felicitated the resource person with a sapling.
Fr Varghese introduced the seminar with a pointed question: What is the role of youth in the country? The rest of the seminar was a response to this primary question. Fr Varghese explained that the youth of today are conditioned by their attitudes and responses to the situations around them. He went on to discuss some of the vital problems plaguing youngsters today, namely, Suicide, Violence, Substance abuse, Obsession with career and Lack of vision. He shared his conviction that the best solution to all these problems is education, and not just any education but education as envisaged by Swami Vivekananda: “We want an education which builds character, increases the strength of mind, expands intellect and equips a person to stand on his feet.”
On the second day, Fr Varghese adopted a new strategy for communicating his message. He screened the film Iqbal and used it to explain the vital role that mentors play in the lives of students. The rationale behind this strategy was seeing theory applied in practical action has a stronger effect on the minds of the audience than mere talking has. Once the movie ended, the participants broke into groups for discussion and sharing. They were encouraged to share their thoughts, reflections and learnings. This proved to be an effective exercise as they were able to articulate what they had picked up from the seminar while at the same time, being influenced by the sharing of others in the group. The seminar concluded on this joyful and educative note. All the participants left enriched, inspired and enthused to be excellent mentors to the young people they encounter.