Thursday, Mar 23, 2023 03:45 [IST]

Last Update: Thursday, Mar 23, 2023 22:09 [IST]



A land with thousands of languages, home to hundreds of tribes, abode of all the major religions and beliefs of the world, blessed with snow-capped mountain ranges to tropical plains, lush evergreens to dry deserts, India is not just a nation, it is a beautiful tapestry of life, cultures and beliefs. Just like the intricate needle work in a tapestry, it is our diversity that keeps us strong and bound together. It is this diversity, which will emerge as one of our biggest assets as we rise to become a dominant global force.

            Back in 2015, when Hon’ble Prime Minister announced the mission of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’, he not only strengthened an inherent bond between every Indian, he also unlocked India’s ‘diversity dividend’.             A recent initiative, envisioned by Hon’ble Prime Minster ShriNarendraModiji, ‘YuvaSangam’ taps into this diversity dividend to leverage another key asset of India, our Youth. Citizens of tomorrow need to realize and experience the power of our diversity to unlock its immense benefits and dividends. The tours will enable that Sangam of our India’s tomorrow with the power of diversity.

YuvaSangam celebrates ‘Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat’, while strengthening the bond between the youth of North Eastern States and Rest of India. Under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister, a nation-wide cultural exchange program YuvaSangam has been launched under the five pillars of – ‘Paryatan, Parampara, Pragati, Prodyogiki and ParasparSampark’. Over the next few months more than 20,000 students will travel across India and witness diverse cultures, ethnicities, cuisines, languages, landscapes, local history, technological advancements, crafts and skills. As I write, over 1000 youngsters and students from premier institutions like IITs, IIMs, NITs etc are travelling to different parts of India and experiencing India in its real rustic flavor.

A group diverse in itself, with different professional, social and economic background will come together and build common experiences and memories for lifetime. Our youth travelling from different parts of India, will experience the magic of North eastern States and get inspired to build, create and innovate. Likewise, our youth from North East will travel to different parts of India will add carry with them the knowledge, experiences and unforgettable memories.

            From visiting local industries, cultural and historical spots, interaction with native students, entrepreneurs and government functionaries, the tours will be a unique opportunity to not just visit a state but appreciate it and emotionally connect with it through a wholesome immersive experience. When you see the youth from Sikkim dancing with little kids from Odisha on Sikkim’s folk tune or north eastern students learning the local art of handloom in an Odisha village or when students from Arunachal Pradesh visit the Indian Culinary Institute in Andhra Pradesh to experience the culinary traditions of the State or when students from IIT Guwahati and IIT Gandhinagar teach each other Garba and Bihu, we know that the future of India is in safe hands and we moving steadily towards the vision of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat’.

The tours are also giving the students an opportunity to learn about the tall leaders of different regions, the people who have shaped India and its collective consciousness as we stand today as a free and independent nation. It is pertinent for every Indian to know about the sacrifices made by Rani Gaidinliu, who revolted against the foreign invaders to protect India’s political and cultural freedom, the heroism and courage of LachitBarphukan of the grand Ahom Kingdom or how Manipur’s Moirnag has a prominent role in Netaji’s fight against the British. When students visit the memorials and museums of the great men and women, it would indeed help build a national consciousness among the youth.

Celebrating diversity and unifying through tourism is intricately linked to our ancient culture. Saints and Seers travelled across the length and breadth of the country to attain wisdom and cultivated a channel of cross cultural bonds. On the lines, last year Hon’ble Prime Minister inaugurated ‘Kashi Tamil Sangamam’ in Varanasi, an event to rediscover the age old links of two India’s most ancient seats of learning, Varanasi and Tamil Nadu. Over 2500 delegates from Tamil Nadu visited Kashi and reinvigorated the age old tradition of knowledge sharing. Similarly, ‘MadhavpurGhed’ is another such festival which epitomizes India’s cultural, spiritual and social unity. Each year, a vibrant fair is organized in Madhavpur village of Gujarat to celebrate the marriage of Lord Krishna with Rani Rukmini, who was a princess from the Northeast. Two States separated by over 3000 km are tied by a close ancient bond that we continue to cherish till date.

YuvaSangam uniquely showcases Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of whole of Government approach. With Ministry of Education taking the lead, Ministry of Development of North East Region, Tourism, Culture, Railways, Information & Broadcasting, Youth & Sports, over 50 different universities, State governments, all have come together to ensure a seamless experience for the citizens of tomorrow. It is truly a sign a sight of pure jubilation, when YuvaSangam teams are given wholesome welcomes and farewell in each State they visit. From interacting with Union Ministers, Governors, Chief Ministers and other dignitaries, students visit homes of fellow students and build everlasting ties with them and their families.

Respect for others, willingness to accept and incorporate new ideas, ability to assimilate differences, emotion of working together towards a common goal and the attitude to learn from diverse beliefs, are the values on which India has thrived on for centuries. Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat is a culmination of such philosophies that India has nurtured for centuries and has been exemplified by lives of legends from different corners of India, be it the Swami Vivekananda’s clarion call that ‘oneness is the secret of everything’ or the religious MahapurushSrimantaShankaradeva’s renditions on Bharatvarsha or the golden legacy of SardarVallabhBhai Patel that modern India stands together and united, as a single strong unit.

It is Hon’ble Prime Minster NarendraModiji’s endeavor to inculcate these values in our youth and ensure that the citizens of tomorrow are beyond the caste and cultural differences and have a vision and cultural connect with Bharat as a whole. He has also woven India in a common thread of national progress and today every Indian is collectively working towards achieving the mission of Make in India, BetiBachaoBetiPadhao, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Digital India or Atmanirbhar Bharat. Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat encompasses this larger motive of imbibing the spirit of oneness in every Indian.


(G. Kishan Reddy is the Minister of Development of North East Region, Culture and Tourism in the Government of India)


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi