The word youth is usually associated with an individual who is of the age group between 15-30. Youth is associated with vigour, rebellion, creative ideas, tolerance for nonconventional ideas, different lifestyle and attitude from generation earlier than and later to them.
Today is the International Youth Day (IYD). It has been celebrated in Nepal as well. The first IYD was on 12 August 2000. This is the 11th time, this day is being celebrated all over the world.
It is good that a day is marked for the youth and to highlight their issues and concerns. It basically gives a voice to them.
Let me draw attention to the age-based paradigm of understanding youth. In Nepal, there is no certain and agreed by all definition of youth. According to UN, “Youth are … those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years.” In Nepal, a person between the age limit of 15 and 40 is considered a youth. You might be surprised with this. Look at the Student’s Union and check the ages of the youth leaders, even if they have reached late adulthood, they consider themselves youth. Interesting! But it is important to emphasize upon the fact that different individuals experience their period of youth differently according to the geographical locations, political ideologies, cultural traditions, professions, social roles and so many other factors are in play. The age based prespective of defining youth is limited and reductionist. It simplifies and helps in basic understanding but it misses the variations and diversity of being a youth. A youth from outside the Kathmandu experiences the youth differently than the youth from Kathmandu and still, the youth outside our country experience it differently than the youth in our country.
Nepalese Youth have a lot of talent and potential which has not been yet utilized. With many youth leaving the country for study/job/settlements outside, we can imagine how much of the talent and energy is being diverted elsewhere which if retained and utilized properly inside could have helped so much in the development of the country. Youth are doing the best they can here, they are not staying passively and complaining but the enviorment is not just yet favourable to achieve all the goals and materialize all their aspirations. Me being a youth citizen of Nepal, I have so much of love and respect for this country but many times I have been frustruated and pissed off like numerous others when trying to do something, it is not easy. We are hardly getting a little apperciation for our initiatives and any recognition of our efforts. I know how painful it is at times to be a youth in this country where the status quo is ruling and the genuine changes are so much discouraged with force.
I always wonder how the youth lose their attitude towards change. We have always heard somebody while in his youth used to talk about revolutions and changes then upon becoming an adult, or getting a certain position or job or after marriage, simply compromise and get used to the status quo and reactionary minds. I feel there is an invisible trap there in our social structure that is like a black hole which pulls the youth into the mindset of older generations where they never ever dare again to demand and speak for the CHANGES!
Wishing every youth from Nepal and all over the world, I make a request: let’s keep our spirit for positive changes alive! If we have to fight, let’s get ready for a good fight!!