It is a common knowledge that this vast country named India is diverse in many respects - be it language, caste, religion, festivals, food habits etc., but surprisingly the perception even among the opinion makers about ensuring proper development of its huge pool of child and youth force is also found to be equally diverse across the country for inexplicable reasons.
Yes, few good education institutions do believe in what old proverb testify, 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' and hence do their bit to involve all children, the future citizens of the country, in extracurricular activities for balanced development of their mind and body both. But what is the status of millions of other children?
Truly speaking, in today's parent-teacher as well as a system-sponsored maddening race that put excessive pressure on our innocent young population for scoring marks in curriculum by keeping other activities on hold, has started showing its negative effects on various aspects of our family and social life too.
May the following few lines of the Great Indian Monk, Thinker and Founder of Ram Krishna Mission, Swami Vivekananda compel us to re-visit this social and cultural issue for taking immediate corrective measures for our own benefit. Swamiji says, "First of all, our young men must be strong; religion will come afterwards. Be strong, my young friends; that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to the heaven through football than through the study of Gita."
This is an open fact that extracurricular activities are great learning as well as self-fulfilling experience in itself. It greatly helps develop many leadership qualities - from time management to relationship building to discovering one's own latent potential and inherent strengths and what not, which are the vital prerequisites for all round upbringing - emotionally, socially, morally, intellectually and physically, of our youths. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner in Economics, puts it in these words, 'The extracurricular activity in which I was most engaged - helped shape my interest in public policy.'
All great minds of the world appreciate this aspect of life and hence stress this point in one way or the other for obvious reasons. Mary E. Gore, American author and photographer thus asserts, "I have long recognized a link between fitness and mental health and I think we need to encourage young people to take part in sports and team activities because we know it has such positive results."
Finally, before signing off, why not engage ourselves in enjoying and interpreting the following lines of popular poet and lyricist, Nida Fazli:
धूप में निकलो, घटाओं में नहा कर देखो
जिन्दगी क्या है, किताबों को हटा कर देखो।