In the roller coaster narrative of the India growth story, what stands out as a constant high? Inarguably, it's the formidable phalanx of Gen X that the nation is uniquely endowed with. Home to one of the youngest populations in the world, India has a lot to bet on its millions-Watt youth power.
But, just how thin is the line separating the much-clichéd demographic dividend from a potential demographic disaster was poignantly underlined this past week by the images of the triumphal return of the London Olympic medallists and the fearful exodus of north-easterners from India's showpiece IT capital of Bengaluru.
In his pre-Independence Day message, President Pranab Mukerjee drove home the point: "We are a nation that is becoming younger both in age and spirit; this is an opportunity as well as a challenge."
Indeed, the younger generation is driving much of the change happening around us. But, who are these change-makers? What drives their actions and aspirations? And, how are they impacting the world around them for the better?
These were some of the questions that prompted us to come up with an editorial initiative billed as 'Top 30 under 30' on International Youth Day (August 12) last year. The objective was to spotlight the success stories of 30 achievers, under the age of 30, from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Their extraordinary exploits, in diverse arenas, fit them in the definition of inspirational icons. Yet, many of them were little known and most hardly celebrated.
With this in mind, Hindustan Times has taken its 2012 edition of young achievers to the next level on the platform of 'HT Youth Forum'. Over the next four days, we will bring you back-to-back centrespreads on the region's fresh crop of vanguards of change chosen through a rigorous exercise by HT editors. On August 24, HT will host a grand finale to felicitate the galaxy of achievers and also set up a panel chat on a thought-provoking theme: "Is India short of youth icons?" Leading the discussion will be some of India's most celebrated youth stars.
As the country's leading media organisation, HT believes that applauding youth talent and engaging them in a meaningful dialogue is the way forward in igniting young minds to make India a great nation. Indeed, it's these faces of an Inspired India that make us so hopeful about the future.
While wishing the best to our new achievers, we hope you find their stories as interesting and inspiring as we do.