Youth and the Tasks Ahead by Karan Singh

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 Ambassador.

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.

Youth and the task ahead

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.

Canalized: directed

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.

Futile: pointless.

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.

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.

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.

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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 nation?
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.

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 means that.

Ans. The author alludes that we should be intellectually superior to make progress in science and technology.

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 nation?

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 and efficiency.

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.

Q11. Why does the writer say that it is important to accept that all human beings are inherently divine?

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
devoted activity……….”

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.

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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.

Extra 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 qualities.

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 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?

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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 opportunities.

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 intellectual qualities.

Q.7 What should the youth do to become intellectually fit?

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.

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