“Youth are the pillar of the nation/tomorrow” and “The students of today are the future citizens of tomorrow” are two of the most common sayings on youth and students. For decades, students and youth have been looked up at architects to shape and design a better future. They have been considered as “The Future” of a country, nation, state or a place. One cannot also deny the role that they have played in shaping the present, regardless of the place or country. History taught us how thousands of youth came together and took to the streets against the colonial rule of British, demanding freedom. Freedom fighter Bhagat Singh was just 23 years old when he was hanged by the British for fighting for India. So were many such youth in history, who names are sadly not recorded, who fought and gave up their lives in their prime for the cause of the country, for a better tomorrow. Following the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the World War II, history has recorded how students and youth of Japan played a great role in reshaping and rebuilding the Japan that one sees today. Students in the United States even raised their voices against their own country for getting involved in the Vietnam War where thousands of their brethrens lost their lives. Such is the power of students and youth in building and shaping a country or a state.
One can also see and have seen youth and students rise up to such calls to protect the integrity of the state and preserve its culture and people. The Great June 18 uprising of 2001 will go down in the history of Manipur as one such. The call to fight for the territorial integrity of the state among the youth and the students of the state has been phenomenal. However, a further observation and one realizes that those who stand up for such are just a few from the millions of youth and students in the state. Concerns have been raised and expressed by various leaders and experts of the state on the rising menaces with the youth of the state, on the harm and danger they can cause to the state and society rather than build it. Drugs and alcohols have replaced the value of education, destroying the very foundation on which they are build, to build and shape the state. They have lost and destroyed the very value on which they are to be built. It is sad to learn that youth and students today do not value education nor respect themselves as it was in the old. Today, students and youth are more fascinated by modern technology and fashion rather than values and education. They are now known to be more destruction and a menace in various fields than build it.
But having said that one cannot deny that there are many good soul youths and students who are ready to fight for the cause of the state. The clash between the two sides is an eternal battle between the good and evil. And living in a complicated state like Manipur, can one look up to the youth and students of today and confidently admit that, ‘Yes, the future of Manipur is secured? A tough question! Youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but also the partners of today. Young people are social actors of change and progress. They are a crucial segment of a nation’s development. Their contribution, therefore, is highly needed. And it only right that they are guided in the right channel for a better tomorrow and that they fight against the menaces such as drugs, alcohol and corruption for their own better tomorrow. And considering that the state right now is fighting a War against Drugs, it is perhaps the right time for everyone to stand up, raise their voice and fight against it for their future.