General Studies IModern India

National Youth Festival/ National Youth Day

The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports


National Youth Day is celebrated on January 12 every year to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. 

About National Youth Festival

National Youth Festival is celebrated every year from 12th to 16th January. 12th January being the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, is observed as National Youth Day. This year, NYPF is also being organized along with the National Youth Festival.

The objective of the National Youth Festival is to bring youth of the country together to showcase their talents; provide them an arena, by creating a mini-India, where youth interact in formal and informal settings and exchange their social and cultural uniqueness. It is also to promote national integration, spirit of communal harmony, brotherhood, courage and adventure. The basic aim is to propagate the spirit, essence and concept of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.


The National Youth Festival began in 1995 as a major activity under the programme of National Integration Camp (NIC). In collaboration with one of the States and institutions like Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and the National Service Scheme (NSS), the Government of India conducts this programme every year. Like the National Youth Festival, States are also encouraged to hold state level, district level and block level youth festivals in the same format as that of the National Youth Festival. The centre of the festival focuses on cultural aspects and a number of other programmes covering a wide variety of activities, which not only reflect the spirit of friendship but also peace and development. Besides all this, this festival provides a nationwide exposure to the youth for the expression and fulfillment of their cultural talents and aspirations

About Swami Vivekananda (Narendranath Datta)

  • Birth: 
    • He was born on 12th January 1863 in a Bengali family in Calcutta and was originally named Narendranath Datta
    • In his honour, the Government of India in 1984 declared his birthday National Youth Day.
  • Early Life:
    • From a young age, he nurtured an interest in Western philosophyhistoryreligionspirituality and theology.
    • He was well-read in many subjects and would meditate in front of the images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
    • He met the religious leader Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who later became his Guru and he remained devoted to him until the latter’s death in 1886.
    • In 1893, he took the name ‘Vivekananda’ after Maharaja Ajit Singh of the Khetri State requested him to do so, changing from ‘Sachidananda’ that he used before.
  • Literary Works:
    • Raja Yoga
    • Jnana Yoga
    • Karma Yoga
  • Death: He attained Mahasamadhi on 4th July 1902.

Contributions and Significance

  • He was one of India’s greatest spiritual leaders and inspired the youth of India to become better, leading a life of purity and setting an example for the world.
    • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had called him the “Maker of Modern India”.
  • Focus on Indian Philosophies:
    • He played an important role in introducing the philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the West.
      • Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.
      • Vedanta is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy and is based on Upanishads and their interpretation. Its aim was to enquire about ‘Brahman’ (ultimate Reality). It sees Veda as the ultimate source of information and whose authority could not be questioned.
    • He preached ‘neo-Vedanta’, an interpretation of Hinduism through a Western lens and believed in combining spirituality with material progress.
      • Neo-Vedanta is a modern interpretation of Vedanta, with a liberal attitude toward the Vedas. It reconciles dualism and non-dualism and rejects the “universal illusionism” of Shankara.
  • Tour and Lectures:
    • He is best known for his speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.
    • He started the speech with the opening remarks, “My brothers and sisters of America” and covered topics including universal acceptancetolerance and religion.
    • He began delivering lectures at various places in the US and UK and became popular as the ‘Messenger of Indian Wisdom to the Western World’.
  • Establishments:
    • After coming back to India, he formed the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897.
      • It aimed to set in motion machinery that will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest.
    • He toured across India and set after educating the masses about ways to improve their economic condition as well as imparting spiritual knowledge.
    • In 1899, he established the Belur Math, which became his permanent abode.
  • New Theory of Ethics:
    • He gave a new theory of ethics and a new principle of morality based on the intrinsic purity and oneness of the Atman.
    • According to him, ethics is a code of conduct that helps a person to be a good citizen.
    • He strove to promote peace and human brotherhood on the spiritual foundation of the Vedantic Oneness of existence.
  • Interpretation of Religion:
    • One of his most significant contributions is his interpretation of religion as a universal experience of transcendent Reality, common to all humanity.
    • This universal conception frees religion from the hold of superstitions, dogmatism, priestcraft and intolerance.
    • Service to man as the visible manifestation of the Godhead was the special form of worship he advocated for the Indians.
  • Interfaith Awareness and Co-existence:
    • He has been credited with raising interfaith awareness and bringing Hinduism to a global platform in the 19th century.
    • He is also known for his deep knowledge of science and religion and his teachings to the Western world demonstrated how the two could co-exist in harmony.
  • Education:
    • He laid the greatest emphasis on education for the regeneration of India and advocated for a character-building education
    • According to him, a nation is advanced in proportion as education is spread among the masses.
    • He was determined to spread education among women and the lower castes.
  • Social Reform:
    • It was a prominent element of Vivekananda’s thought, and he joined the Brahmo Samaj, dedicated to eliminating child marriage and illiteracy.

Source: PIB

Also Read:

Prabuddha Bharata

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