1. KARAN SINGH: Karan Singh was born in Cannes, France on 9th March 1931. His father
Hari Singh was the last ruler of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu. His mother”s name
was Tara Devi. He had his schooling at the Doon School, Dehra Dun. He completed his
graduation in Arts Faculty from Sri Pratap College, Srinagar. He did his M.A and Ph.D. in
Political Science from Delhi University.
Karan Singh was appointed as the regent of Jammu and Kashmir State in 1949. He was then
the youngest regent of the State. He worked as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir State from
1965 to 1967. He served as a member of the Lok Sabha for a span of 17 years from 1967 to
1984. He lost the Lok Sabha election in 1984. He was the Indian Ambassador to the US in
1989–1990. The book “Brief Sojourn” is the outcome of his enriching experience as the
He worked as a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1996 onwards. Thus Singh has a vast political
experience. Along with his political career, he was a great academician too. He worked as
Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, Jammu and Kashmir University, Jawaharlal Nehru
University and NIIT University. He is the recipient of Padma Vibhushan (2005). Towards A
New India (1974), Autobiography (1989), Hymn to Shiva and Other Poems (1991), The
Transition to a Global Society (1991) are some of his books.
Our freedom was won with great struggle and sacrifice after centuries of servitude to
foreign rule, and it is important that those of us who belong to the post-independence
generation should not fall into the error of taking our freedom for granted. The
maintenance and strengthening of freedom is a task even more onerous than its
In any nation the youth necessarily forms the vanguard in most spheres of activity,
and it is essential that at this critical juncture its power must be mobilised further to
strengthen our integrity and our capacity to resist aggression. What is required is an
immense burst of idealism and energy among our youth, who must be deeply
committed to the task of safeguarding this great nation of ours founded on the twin
ideals of secularism and democracy. In particular our young men and women studying
in schools, colleges and universities have a special responsibility, for while they are
no longer children they have not yet got fully involved in the routine of adult life. They
constitute an immense reservoir of strength which, if properly canalised, can prove to
be a source of great power to the nation. Indeed it is these young Indians who will
Youth and the Tasks Ahead by
Notes by:Dr.G.N. Khamankar, Vivekanand Collage, Bhadrawati.
2. soon be called upon to provide leadership in all walks of national life, and they must
train themselves to fulfil their future responsibilities with distinction.
I would like to address a few words in particular to our young men and women. If they
are to be effective in the service of the nation, it is essential that they must fit
themselves in every way for this task. The building up of a vast and pulsating
democratic nation is no mean undertaking, and a mere desire to be of service is not
enough; it must be accompanied by the ability to do so effectively. There are several
distinct dimensions in which our youth must equip itself. The first is the physical.
Building a great democracy and defending it from predatory aggressors requires a
young generation that is physically strong, with muscles of iron and nerves of steel,
and for this it must equip itself by undertaking physical training and developing fitness
to the maximum extent possible.
Despite technological advances and mechanisation, defence is still, to a large extent,
a matter of dogged physical endurance and courage as our officers and jawans have
so magnificently proved on the field of battle as they emerged victorious against
superior and more sophisticated war equipment. In this context the National Cadet
Corps, the Physical Fitness Scheme, and other similar organisations play a valuable
role in building up the strength of our youth, and these opportunities must be fully
availed of. Along with physical fitness the qualities of discipline and teamsmanship are
essential, particularly for those planning to join the proud ranks of our
defence forces, because what is required is not only individual achievem but corporate
The second dimension is the intellectual. We live in a highly competitive age of science
and technology, and can no longer afford the luxury mediocrity if we are to forge
ahead. This rapidly changing nuclear som requires our youth to be intellectually far
more alert and competent tha their predecessors, and therefore every young man and
woman today studying in schools, colleges and universities must aim at academic
ability of the highest order.
In a developing nation like ours, where large numbers are still unable to acquire even
primary education, those undergoing higher education constitute a privileged elite.
They must, therefore, repay their debt to society by not wasting a single moment of
academic life in futile or disruptive pursuits, but strain every nerve to become able and
efficient in their respective fields of study so that they can serve India with greater
efficiency. In this context the futility of students getting involved in party politics and
intrigues is too obvious to need any reiteration.
The third is the dimension of patriotism. I am concerned here not so much with the
routine meaning of this term as with that deeper patriotism which transcends all
pettiness and exclusion, and creates in our youth a deep urge for national unity and
progress. This alone can eradicate corruption and nepotism from our land and
galvanise our whole process of economic development, which is so crucial to the
success of our democracy. The youth of a nation is always the fountain head of its
idealism, and our young men and women must have a full realisation that it is up to
them to provide a new moral impetus to India at this crucial juncture in her history as
a free nation. In this context I cannot resist the temptation to quote from a speech
delivered over half a century ago by one of our great nationalist leaders, Sri Aurobindo
Ghosh, to students of the Bengal National College. He said:
There are times in a nation's history when Providence places before it one work, one
aim, to which everything else, however high and noble in itself, has to be sacrificed.
3. Such a time has now arrived for our Motherland when nothing is dearer than her
service, when everything else is to be directed to that end. If you will study, study for
her sake; train yourselve body and mind and soul for her service. You will earn your
living thay you may do service to her. Work that she may prosper. Suffer that she may
rejoice. All is contained in that one single advice.
How superbly relevant to our present condition are these stirring words.
Finally, there is the spiritual dimension which, indeed, is the main faculty that
distinguishes human beings from the myriad other forms of life that exist on this planet.
At a time of deep crisis we must be endowed with a new spiritual fervour leading to
that fearlessness and dynamism whereby we can overcome all difficulties.
When I speak of spirituality I am not referring merely to denominational religion,
howsoever inspiring that may be. Ours is a nation that has from time immemorial
cradled an immense variety of religions, and today, in free India, people belonging to
all faiths live together in peace and harmony. What I am referring to is that golden
thread of unity which runs through all religions and from which they all ultimately derive
power and sustenance. This implies the acceptance of the divinity inherent in every
human being, and of the noble goal of spiritual growth and realisation, a concept that
at once raises the dignity of the individual and cuts across all narrow barriers and
distinctions. Indeed the principle of individual divinity and spiritual evolution is one
which transcends even national barriers, and it alone can give us the courage to fight
for our freedom and integrity with undying valour, and the wisdom to do so without
The physical, intellectual, patriotic and spiritual, then, are dimensions in which our
young men and women must equip themselves so that they can really be of effective
service to the nation. Needless to say this is a continuing process, and the very act of
national service itself helps to develop these capacities. What is required on the part
of our youth is a keen sense of participation in what Jawaharlal Nehru used to call the
great adventure of nation building'.
There is no room here for cynicism or defeatism, boredom or depression In whatever
position our youth may find themselves, there are always numerous avenues for
national service. These may not be such as to hit newspaper headlines, but it is solid
and devoted activity multiplied a million-fold that truly builds the fabric of a great nation.
There remains the important question of the opportunity, which we must provide to our
youth for serving the nation at this crucial juncture. There is so much to be done: civil
defence measures to be strengthened in urban as well as rural areas; a network of
nursing, first aid and blood bank centres to be established, the welfare of our brave
security forces who have sacrificed so much on the battlefield to be furthered; the
dependents of those who made the supreme sacrifice to be helped and comforted;
communal harmony to be maintained; the whole process of economic development
and reconstruction to be speeded up; the vast areas of poverty and ignorance that still
exist to be cleared; the fabric of our democratic
society to be strengthened. These and a thousand other problems confront us today.
Surely it should not be beyond our ingenuity to organise a vast national youth
movement which, transcending all political, communal. regional and linguistic
diversities can mobilise our youth for the noble task of defending and developing a
free India, and canalise the mighty upsurge of patriotism that we have witnessed in
4. The younger generation today faces challenges graver than any with which their
forefathers were confronted. What is at stake is nothing less than whether a secular
and democratic nation, founded on the principles of justice, liberty, equality and
fraternity, can survive in this nuclear age. Destiny has given us the privilege of
providing the answer to this momentous question, and I am confident that when the
history of this turbulent era comes to be recorded our young men and women will not
have been found wanting.
List of Difficult Words:
Onerous: involving much effort and difficulty.
Great vanguard: considerably above average in size, intensity, ability.
Juncture: a point in time, a join.
Reservoir: a lake used as a source of water supply, a container for a supply of fluid.
Pulsating: v.- expand and contract.
Predatory: killing others for food.
Dogged: follow or affect persistently.
Mediocrity: of average or fairly low quality.
Forge: make or shape a metal object by heating and hammering.
Disruptive: interrupt the normal operation of an activity or process.
Reiteration: say again or repeatedly.
Transcends: be or go beyond the range or limits of
Nepotism: favoritism shown to relatives or friends esp. by giving them jobs.
Galvanise: shock or excite into action.
Impetus: the force or energy with which something moves.
Myriad: a very great number
Denominational: a recognized branch of a church or religion, the face value of banknote.
Cradled: a baby”s bed on rockers, a supporting framework.
Divinity: the state of being divine, a god or goddess.
Inherent in: existing in something as a permanent or essential.
Cynicism: a person who believes that people”s motives are always selfish.
Defeatism: a person who accepts failure too readily.
Ingenuity: clever and inventive.
Momentous: very important.
Turbulent: involving much conflict, disorder or confusion, moving unsteadily.
5. Brief Summary
“Youth and the Tasks Ahead” is a speech given by Karan Singh. Karan Singh tells the youth
to become responsible citizens of India. He appeals the post-independence generation to realize
their responsibilities towards the nation. Freedom should not be taken for granted. The youth
should maintain and strengthen freedom. The youth should serve the nation, accelerate the
process of economic development, demolish poverty and strengthen the fabric of democracy.
They should make India a secular and democratic nation based on the principles of justice,
liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Karan Singh states that the immense strength of the youth should be properly canalized. The
youth should safeguard the nation which has two ideals of secularism and democracy. They
should have a commitment to safeguarding the nation. Mere desire to serve the nation is not
sufficient. It should be accompanied by the ability to do so effectively. In order to serve the
society effectively, it is important for youth to develop their physical, intellectual, patriotic and
spiritual dimensions. Karan Singh states that it is a continuing process. The youth should give
their whole-hearted participation in nation-building. The youth can serve the nation by
transcending political, communal, regional and linguistic diversities.
Thus Karan Singh appeals the youth to undertake the noble tasks of defending and developing
a free India.
6. Youth and Task Ahead Questions
Q1. Why does the author say that people who belong to his post-independence generation
should not take independence for granted?
Ans. We won our freedom following years of servitude and all this required incredible battle
and sacrifice. The author asks the post-independence people to take care to abstain from being
easy and complacent. They should not underestimate autonomous on the grounds that its
upkeep is a more grave assignment than its accomplishment.
Q2. The writer feels that the youth can be a great source of power to the nation. Why?
Do you agree with him? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. The author feels that the youth can be an extraordinary source of capacity to the country.
If this power be appropriately channelized and they are pursued to follow optimism and vitality
without being aggressive they can extraordinarily fortify their country. They would then be
able to protect secularism and idealism on which a powerful country is established. I
completely concur with the author.
In fact, youth can be an incredible source of capacity to the nation. They have to provide
leadership in all fields of life. However, they have to prepare and train themselves to achieve
the objective of country building.
Q3. “………. A mere desire to be a service is not enough, it must be ………….” What are
the abilities the writer feels the youth should be equipped with to be able to serve the
Ans. To the writer, the youth should equip themselves with physical, mental, moral and
spiritual abilities. Discipline and teamsmanship are required for every one of those expecting
to join the defence forces. Then, they should go for and endeavor to get scholarly capacities of
the most astounding request in this atomic age and should not enjoy purposeless and
troublesome interests. What’s more, they should avoid getting engaged with gathering
governmental issues and spotlight themselves on national improvement. They should likewise
develop unadulterated patriotism, nationalism, and otherworldliness so as to have the option to
take a stab settled and congruity among individuals following various beliefs and religions.
Q4. “Having muscles of iron and nerves of steel” means?
Ans. It means, “Being both physically strong and mentally fit”.
Q5. Besides physical endurance. The author talks about three other qualities that are
essential for the defence personnel. Which are they?
Ans. As indicated by the creator, physical endurance is fundamental for defence forces. There
are three other attributes, which the youth intending to join denfence forces must have. These
three qualities are the characteristics of discipline, cooperation, and corporate advancement.
7. Q6. “We live in a highly competitive age of science and technology and can no longer
afford the luxury of mediocrity if we are to forge ahead.” By this sentence, the author
Ans. The author alludes that we should be intellectually superior to make progress in science
Q7. According to the author, “those undergoing higher education constitute the
privileged elite.” Why does he think so? And what does he expect them to do for the
Ans. The writer aptly feels that those experiencing advanced education comprise the elite
world. In a developing nation like India, an enormous number are as yet unfit to procure even
primary education. The author is, in this manner anticipating them that they should reimburse
their obligation to society by not squandering a single moment of their scholastic life in
worthless or problematic pursuits. Then again, they should do their best to become capable and
productive in their particular fields of study so they can serve the country with greater capacity
Q8. The writer warns that educated youth must keep themselves away from some futile
pursuits.” What are the futile pursuits he is hinting at?
Ans. As per the author, the educated youth must focus exclusively on the service of the country
and so as to make assure that they can do it viably. The author cautions that they fend off
themselves from some useless pursuits. He is alluding to getting engaged with party politics
and troublesome exercises, which lead to wasting their valuable time and vitality. They should
ward off themselves from interests and other such absurdities.
Q9. What according to the writer is ‘crucial to the success of democracy’?
Ans. According to the writer, the educated youth of India must develop patriotism, which goes
beyond pettiness. What’s more, they should also be able to work mainly for national integration
and national advancement and all this, as indicated by the writer, will help evacuation of
corruption elements and favoritism from India and actuate the advancement of economic
development which is essentially excessively vital to the achievement of democracy.
Q10. “All is contained in that one single advice”. Which advice of Sri Aurobindo is the
author referring to?
Ans. The author is referring to the advice, which Aurobindo Ghosh gave to students of Bengal
National College. He urged them to do everything, including suffering themselves, to serve
India. By way of refreshing to this advice, Dr. Karan Singh advises the educated youth to hold
service of India dearer than everything else. According to the writer, the youth must work so
that India may prosper and suffer so that India may rejoice.
8. Q11. Why does the writer say that it is important to accept that all human beings are
Ans. As per the author, it is imperative to accept every single person as naturally divine for
such acknowledgment raises the pride of individual and cuts over every restricted barrier and
distinction and empowers us to live respectively in harmony. It likewise encourages us fight
valiantly for our freedom. It gives people with and wisdom enough to live in amicability
without disdain and ill will for each other.
Q12. “These may not be such to hit the newspaper headlines but it is solid and
a) What is the writer referring to in this line?
b) What according to the writer will be the result of such an activity?
a) The writer, in these lines, is referring to those numerous avenues that are always available
to our youth for national service.
b) To writer, the result of such activity will be the real service of the nation, which can truly
build the fabric of a great nation as India.
Q13. The writer lists out a number of tasks that the youth can take up for the progress of
the nation. How does he suggest these tasks could be accomplished?
Ans. There are numerous tasks to be accomplished by our youth to be able to serve India
effectively and according to the writer our youth will be able to accomplish these tasks if we
organize a vast national youth movement transcending all political, communal, regional and
linguistic diversities and than mobilize them for their success in all the dimensions.
Q14. Do you agree with the statement made by the writer that ‘The younger generation
today faces challenges graver than any with, which their forefathers were confronted’?
Ans. We as free Indians are at a critical point in the history of country. I completely concur
with what Dr. Karan Singh expressed on the grounds that our ancestors won freedom with
extraordinary battle and more great sacrifice. At present, our country is experiencing narrow
patriotism, nepotism, and corruption which are compromising secularism and democratic
system and it is absolutely a graver test at the hands of our youth to battle with mental fortitude
against these substantial odds since youth are brimming with gurgling excitement and vitality,
they can do miracles and serve the country by just rising above selfish politics and stopping
from getting indulged in such a troublesome interests and by appropriately preparing
themselves to defeat all difficulties in satisfying every one of the tasks in front of them.
9. Questions of Youth & the tasks Ahead
Q.1 Describe in brief all the four dimensions in which our youth must equip themselves.
Ans. The article youth & the task ahead written by Dr Karan Singh is an address to the youth
of India in which the author urges them to develop physical, intellectual, patriotic and spiritual
qualities to fulfil their responsibilities towards the nation. For the first dimension, that is,
physical the author says that we need a young generation that is physically strong to build a
great democracy and defend it from enemies. We need youth with muscles of iron and nerves
of steel to work in this tough competition age. The second dimension is intellectual. The age
of science and technology requires our youth to be intellectually for more alert and competent
than their predecessors. The youth must aim for academic ability of the highest order to serve
the nation effectively. Patriotism is the third dimension. The author refers to that sense of
patriotism which goes beyond all narrow mindedness and favouritism the feeling of patriotism
aerates a deep urge for national unity and progress which is enough to eradicate corruption and
another antihattenal feeling. The last dimension is spiritual. The author says that this quality
distinguishes human beings from other forms of life and the earth. It brings fearlessness and
dynamism in our character where we can overcome all difficulties. It is that golden thread of
unity which keeps us united. The author wants the youth of India to train themselves in these
Q.2 What does the author expect from those who belong to the post-independent era?
Ans. The author says that all those people who are born in the post-independence era should
not fall into the error of taking our freedom for granted. He says that our predecessors sacrificed
their lives to make the country free from foreign rule but the maintenance and strengthening of
freedom are rather more difficult and effort needing ask their its attainment. As the youth of
any country is its greatest asset, they should take the responsibility to defend freedom. We need
such young men and women who must be deeply committed to the task of safeguarding this
great nation. The youth of this nation must have their full faith in the ideals of secularism and
democracy. They should work to strengthen our national integrity and our capacity to resist
aggression. The author expects the youth of India to come forward and take responsibility to
make India the world leader.
Q.3 How according to Dr Karan Singh can the youth repay their debt to society?
Ans. The author Dr Karan Singh addresses the youth of this nation and urges them to equip
themselves in some qualities to serve the nation in an effective manner. He says that we live in
a highly competitive age of science and technology and cannot afford the luxury of mediocrity.
If we have to make our country developed we need to be intellectually for more alert and
competent in today’s age. In a country like India where a large no of children do not get the
opportunity to receive even primary education, those who are going to schools, colleges and
universities form an elite group. It is the debt of society upon them. So they must repay this
10. debt by not wasting a single moment of academic life in fruitless and meaningless pursuits.
They should only aim at the academic ability of the highest order so that they may serve the
nation effectively in their respective fields.
Q. 4 How can NCC help in making youth physically strong?
Ans. The author Dr Karan Singh lays emphasis on the significance of physical fitness and
strength for youth in this tough competitive age. He says that today we need youth with muscles
of iron & nerves of steel. To achieve physical fitness & strength, our youth must undertake
physical training & develop physical fitness to the maximum extent possible. Not only those
who are planning to join the defence forces need physical fitness and strength but also others
who plan to make their career in different fields must acquire physical ability. In this context,
national cadet corps (NCC) & Other physical fitness schemes are playing a significant role in
making our youth physically strong. The govt. keeps provision in Budget for fitness
programmes. These organizations not only train our youth in physical fitness but also instil
discipline & teams man spirit in them. So the author advises the youth to avail of these
Q.5 The author says ‘there …… done’? What task he wants?
Ans. The author says that after achieving freedom our country has made progress in different
fields but there is much to be done. He urges the youth of India to participate in accomplishing
many tasks for the development of our nation. He says that the tasks like strengthening civil
defence measure establishment of a network of nursing, first aid and blood bank, the welfare
of our brave security forces are to be done. The youth must utilise their energy in maintaining
communal harmony and developing economic condition of the nation. The young generation
has to eradicate evils like poverty, illiteracy, corruption and unemployment from our nation for
the achievement of all these tasks, the author urges the youth of India to participate in the task
of Nation building.
Q.6 Why does the author youth to be physically and intellectually strong?
Ans. The author says that the maintenance and strengthening of freedom is a more difficult
task then its achievement. So the author wants our youth to be physically strong so that they
can serve the nation in the most effective manner. The author urges the youth to be physically
and intellectually strong because this tough competitive age requires our youth to be fit and
strong. Moreover, the level of knowledge has reached very high in this fast-changing nuclear
age. So in order to be efficient & competent, our youth needs to be well trained in physical and
Q.7 What should the youth do to become intellectually fit?
11. Ans. The author says that in this age of science & technology, we cannot afford the luxury of
medio city if we want to make progress in order to stand proud into days competitive world.
The youth needs to be intellectually competent & able to compete in their respective fields. For
this, they should aim at the academic ability of the highest order. They must focus on achieving
distinction in their respective fields of study. They must not waste a single moment of academic
life in fruitless & meaningless pursuits.
Q.3 What does the author meant by Patriotism?
Ans. The author wants the youth of this nation to equip themselves in the quarterly of
patriotism. He does not give the routine meaning of patriotism but says that it is that deeper
sense which goes beyond all narrow mindedness & favouritism. The real patriotism instils
idealism in our youth which is needed to remove corruption & other social evils from our
country. Patriotism creates a deep urge for national unity & progress in our youth.
Q.4 Why it is necessary for our youth to be spiritually strong?
Ans. The author Dr Karan Singh says that spirituality is that quality which distinguishes human
beings from the other forms of life on the earth. It brings fearlessness & dynamism in our
character. It helps us to overcome all difficulties. The author says that it is necessary for our
youth to be spiritually strong so that they can defend our unity & national integrity. He says
that the youth must have firm belief on the golden thread of unity which runs through all the
religions & from which we all ultimately derive power & sustenance. It raises the dignity of
the individual & gives us the courage to fight for our freedom & integrity with undying courage
& wisdom without hatred.
Q.5 What according to the writer are the things for strengthening the country?
Ans. The author says that in order to strengthen our freedom & democracy & defending it from
aggressors, our youth must equip themselves in four dimensions viz ( namely) physical,
intellectual, patriotic & spiritual. The youth constitutes an immense reservoir of strength which
should be properly utilised to make a great nation. We need ability capacity & commitment of
our youth for the task of safeguarding this great nation founded on the ideals of secularism &
democracy. We need to eradicate the evils like communalism, poverty, illiteracy,
unemployment & many more to strengthen our nation. The whole process of economic
development & reconstruction must be speeded up. If we have to forge our nation ahead, we
must participate in the task of nation-building.