From Tokyo Olympics to Yuva Sangam: The Northeastern Diary

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From Tokyo Olympics to Yuva Sangam: The Northeastern Diary

On the eve of July 24th, 2021, Padamshri Saikhom Mirabai Chanu lifted the heavy Indian dream of winning the first-ever silver medal in weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics on her shoulders. She has also won several accolades at Commonwealth Games and has also been felicitated with the highest honor for sports in India, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. She belongs to Nongpok Kakching, Imphal in the Northeastern state of Manipur. But, how many of us can point to the state on the Indian map to which she belongs, or how many of us can even name all the northeastern states of India? The other northeastern states that are famous are Assam for its tea, Meghalaya for its cleanest river, Dawki, Nagaland for its Hornbill festival, India’s first organic state Sikkim for the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga, Tripura for its GI tagged “Queen” pineapple, Mizoram for its Puanchei shawl/wraparound and of course Arunachal Pradesh, the land of the rising sun.

Journal article “Problems of the Youth of North-East India: A Sociological Inquiry” in Scopus Indexed journal, “Sociological Bulletin” elicits the issues faced by the youth from the North East as substance abuse, unemployment, dropping out of college/school and people from other states considering these youth as a problem or not even part of India. Well, these issues directly affect their mental health as they are viewed as an exception to society.

To bridge this gap between the youth of the northeastern states and the rest of India and to strengthen the bond between the two entities, the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has come up with the spirit of “Yuva Sangam” under the aegis of “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat”. The scheme was given a green flag by the Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan on 7th February 2023. The scheme would open new doors for cross-cultural migration in form of knowledge exchange programs among the northeastern youth and increase their chances of skill development thereby enhancing the probability of job opportunities and aiding in improving their mental health. As India’s first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru said in his book, “Discovery of India”, Unity in diversity promotes the notion of amalgamation of people from different cast, races, colors, creeds, etc. Even the Indian Constitution, in Article 16, recognizes the right to equal opportunity in public employment as a fundamental right and prohibits discrimination against citizens on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, or residence.

The Yuva Sangam program would broadly cater to areas such as literature, tourism, language, heritage, cultural events, cuisine, and customs and traditions among others. Kiren Rijiju, a law graduate from the Faculty of Law, New Delhi, the Union Minister of Law and Justice who himself hails from Arunachal Pradesh was present at the gracious event and also believed that the scheme will promote “the spirit of India” in Amrit Kaal.

Last but not least, The Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health (LGBRIMH) is a blessing in disguise for psychology students as it has an M.Phil. in clinical Psychology, RCI recognized program, in Tezpur, Assam. The institute received the second-highest allocation in the Budget under the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) after NIMHANS for the promotion of mental health in India. 

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