Festival unites youth of the country

January 16, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Festival unites youth of the countryKarnataka, January 13, 2012: More than 20,000 people from India and neighboring countries, transcending religious barriers, descended in Mangalore Thursday to attend the National Youth Festival.

The five-day festival marks the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, an Indian ascetic who introduced Hindu philosophy to the West.

‘Celebrating diversity in unity’ is the theme of this year’s festival which will stage competitive and non-competitive shows aimed at fostering teamwork and leadership.

Youth from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are also taking part, said an official.

“Most of us are rural youth who get an opportunity to showcase our talents here,” said Nazeer Kanu, a Muslim participant from Gujarat state.

Union Minister for youth affairs and sports Ajay Maken said “no other nation can boast of being the home for so many religions, cultures and traditions as India”.

Dilhar Singh from Jammu and Kashmir said ‘the remote youth have got an opportunity to be aware of the multiple cultures across the nation through this festival”.

“The future belongs to the youth. If they are united the country would be united. Nearly 45% of the population is youth,” said Vinay Fulara from Uttrakhand state.

Carol Mithun Sequeira, a Catholic participant and volunteer, said “I am glad that Mangalore which was hitherto known for communal violence will now be known for a national cultural festival.”

However, a marked absence of Christian youth was noticed at the festival.

Christians in the state did not receive any official invitations or information, said Fr. William Menezes, public relations in charge of Mangalore diocese.

But many Christian institutions have joined the celebrations.

St Aloysius College and Fr Muller’s Medical College of Mangalore are providing accommodation, medical and volunteer service besides students participation.

“Over 300 members from 28 self help groups are taking part,” said Sr. Prema Gonsalves, coordinator of Sahodaya social institute.

Sr. Collin D’Souza of Roshani Nilaya, a Christian institute of social study and research center, said “we have collaborated with ‘Urivi Vikram’, a charitable trust from Delhi, to provide career guidance and counseling to the youth”.

They are also accommodating the northeastern delegates.

Fr. Valerian Mendonca, director of Sandesha, an institute for art and culture, said they were involved in organizing the youth art festival.

– francis rodrigues

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