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We were born in a time when the world was a much better place. Our grandparents were part of the independence movement. Our parents grew up listening to the sacrifices their parents. They faced a lot of problems while growing up.

They weren’t allowed to live freely. They were constantly humiliated, denied opportunities that they deserved. From apartheid in South Africa and racism in the United States of America to the mass killings of Jews in Nazi Germany, people were continuously divided based on colour, religion, and caste.

Not anymore.

When people go through something, they know how wrong or right it is. Ask an Adivasi in a rural village in India what education means to him and you know the worth of education. Ask someone from a ‘lower caste’ what easy access to water means and he will tell you that he needs to walk 5 km daily to fetch a bucket of water. Because black people in South Africa have been a victim of racism first hand, they know how it feels. That is why I personally never faced racism in this beautiful country.

The youth of today are educated and smart. We know what exactly is wrong and right.

The days of rioting, division based on caste and creed, looking down upon others has gone.

To make India a great nation that we dream of, we need to change ourselves first.

How do we go about doing that?

It’s a collective effort so you will need to change yourself first and then spread the message. Social media is at our fingertips so imagine what change we all can bring about!

Firstly, recognize and understand that each and every one of us needs to be given opportunities. Some may not have the kind of influence or the good fortune of a great education. Reservations thus help the less fortunate people in getting access to the education and jobs that the more fortunate people take for granted. Once that family has benefited from reservations, their next generation should not be allowed to use these reservations. Over time, because of access to good education and subsequently jobs, the downtrodden and less fortunate will be able to rise to a more respectable place in the society whatever their castes and religions might be.

Secondly, do your bit. You cannot expect the government to float a cleaning initiative and expect all the cleaning to happen on its own! How many times have you thrown something unwanted on the streets? How many times have you broken the signal because you were getting late? How many times have you bribed a traffic police officer so that you don’t get booked? Maybe more than once – but here’s the good news! You can put a stop to this! By changing now. Systemic corruption has to be cleansed and it is a collective effort – remember that!

Thirdly, know that you have the power to change lives! Yes, you think you’re ordinary but actually, you’re extraordinary! You have information at your fingertips nowadays with so much of knowledge to absorb. How can this benefit others? Money is important yes – but as anything in excess is an evil. So once you’re on your way of making a decent amount of money that fills your belly, pays for the roof over your house and you have access to clean drinking water with some fun during the weekends, realize that a lot of people in our country do not access to one or more of these necessities.

Volunteering is a great way of helping the underprivileged. You don’t earn money but you will get a lot of satisfaction. Enquire at your local municipal school if the students need some extra coaching and you can go and help them during the weekend or after school hours. Visit an old age home and spend time with the elderly. Join organizations like Rotaract or Leo clubs that are established with the objective of making a difference! My time at Rotaract as the President of the club opened my eyes and ears and made me realize that we need to work collectively as a team to help in building our nation – citizen by citizen.

It’s time to accept and respect the differences that we have. Surely, we may all belong to different religions, castes, creeds, and communities but we all have one objective – to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Why should we deny others this opportunity?

We’re an amazing generation. We have the power to make a real difference. Encourage inter-caste marriages; learn to amalgamate with people of other regions and religions. It is time to break away from the age-old prejudices and understand that as a big big team of 1.2 billion people, we have the power to change our beloved country!

Our very own India!

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A software engineer by profession, I am fond of writing, wildlife, and pizza in no particular order. An AIESEC alumni, I am currently the President of a Rotaract club where I am involved in social activities which I deeply care about.