A few weeks ago, I was invited to be the special guest at the concluding session of a journalism course for young people belonging to the Focolare, a world-wide movement founded by Italian-born Chiara Lubich, in 1943. Chiara visited India many times before she passed away in 2008. She won the hearts of thousands of Indians, who saw her passionately working for the realisation of the ardent desire of Jesus Christ for unity: “that all may be one.”
Coincidentally, this was also what the founding fathers of The Teenager (Today) wanted when they gave life to the 32-page single colour, small magazine which over the past fifty-seven years has today grown into a full-fledged national youth magazine you have in your hands now, with hardly any parallel to match it.
In addition to providing clean and wholesome reading material to the young and not so young of the country, and giving them a platform to showcase their God-given hidden talents, they wanted The Teenager to be a meeting place wherein the youth of the country, from one end to the other, irrespective of their regional, religious or caste differences, can come together and share a bond of true friendship, understanding and love.
Over the years, many things have changed with The Teenager during its onward journey. The Teenager became The Teenager Today, ten years ago, its editors have changed, it has also changed in size and look (from a single colour magazine to a 4-colour monthly with an eye-catching layout) besides journeying to Mumbai from Allahabad, its birthplace.
But, one thing never changed with The Teenager: its deep love for the youth of our country and its total commitment to the values of secularism and national integration, always holding firm to the principle of “unity in diversity,” that makes India the land our great leaders like Gandhiji, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Rabindranath Tagore had dreamed of.
As India gets ready to celebrate its 71st Republic Day on 26 January, we bring you a special article, Diversity Coin – A Paradigm of Unity, by Dr M. D. Thomas, Director, Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, New Delhi. Dr Thomas says, “Diversity has been the hallmark of the Indian society and India never tires of speaking at the top of her voice that “unity in diversity” is another word for India! This is not to be a slogan that is meant for text books and platforms. It has to become a lived reality, in the everyday contexts of our life.” Hence, as the new generation of our country, let us make a solemn pledge, this Republic Day, to be true promoters of this unique characteristic of our nation. Jai Bharat!
Alfonso Elengikal, SSP, has the unique distinction of being the longest-serving editor of The Teenager Today, an office he held for over 17 years. He is the bestselling author of You Can Make A Difference, You Are Destined For The Skies, Let The Real You Stand Up! and Discover The Hero Within You published by Better Yourself Books.