Uttar Pradesh—known as the heartland of Hindi—is the most populated state in India. It was there, from 11 to 13 October, that nearly 2,000 young people from over 200 localities came together for the youth conference in Lucknow, India. The energy of so many young souls gathering to consult on themes related to the period of youth, the importance of spiritual education, and contributing to the advancement of civilization was profoundly moving.
Even with such large numbers, it was possible to create an atmosphere in which all felt supported by one another to participate. Every session started on time, with a spirit of cooperation and joy among volunteers and participants. Over the course of three days, in workshop groups sometimes numbering 80, youth shared ideas and exchanged insights with one another, each listening respectfully to the contributions of their peers.
“We learned about walking in the path of service and that we cannot walk on this path alone.”
A participant at the conference
Those gathered discussed the characteristics of an environment that invites the participation of many more individuals to apply the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh in their communities to improve the conditions of society. Again and again, with a range of different examples, the participants shared how they had learned about mutual support by trying to assist others, and being a source of encouragement for each other. It was also noted that in order to sustain progress it is vital to create an atmosphere in which friends help one another develop their capacities for service. “We learned about walking in the path of service, and that we cannot walk on this path alone,” said one. “We need each other’s support,” confirmed another.
Participants considered the various social forces that young people encounter in their efforts to contribute to the advancement of their communities. They recognized that their progress could be accelerated by aligning themselves with positive forces, and came to understand that as they walk the path of service, they grow in faith and certitude. The youth also identified that trust in the assistance of God is a source of hope. “We realized that we will face many challenges in this process, but we must never stop our efforts,” said one participant.
In some of the more remote villages in Uttar Pradesh it is uncommon for young girls to travel far from the family home. Yet there was a high percentage of girls among the participants, reflecting changing attitudes of parents as their understanding is illumined by the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh.
The evening plenaries uplifted the hearts of all, as youth shared cultural and artistic presentations based on the themes they had been studying throughout each day. These included dances, songs, and drama performed by participants from across the region.
As the final day drew to a close, the youth set out to return to their homes invigorated by their time together and strengthened in their commitment to contribute to meaningful change.
Nearly 2,000 syoung people attended the conference
Participants read the message of the Universal House of Justice dated 1 July 2013 together
Youth gathered in large and small workshop groups to reflect on themes such as developing the capacity for true friendship
Participants between the ages of 15 and 30 shared ideas, reflected on their own experiences, and made plans to continue their efforts to serve their communities
A spirit of joy and focus imbued the atmosphere of the conference
Singing and other arts infused both plenary and group sessions
A group photo of the conference participants