PM Modi invoked the “world view” of the university's founder, Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision was not about “a typical educational institution but one that will help Indian culture realise its full potential globally”.
Pointing out that among those spreading terror and violence across the world are several highly educated people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday called on the student community to adopt a “nation-first approach” to find solutions instead of being a part of the problem.
Addressing the annual convocation of Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal through videoconference, the Prime Minister also said that the new National Education Policy is a major step towards an AtmaNirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) as it “gives strength to research and innovation”.
He invoked the “world view” of the university’s founder, Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision was not about “a typical educational institution but one that will help Indian culture realise its full potential globally”.
Stressing that “knowledge and power both come with responsibility”, Modi said: “Jo duniya mein aatank phaila rahe hein, jo duniya mein hinsa phaila rahe hein, unmein bhi kayee highly skilled, highly learned, highly educated log hai. Doosri taraf aise bhi log hai jo Corona jaise vaiswik mahaamari se duniya ko mukti dilane ke liye din-raat apni jaan ki baazi laga dete hai. Aspatalon mein datey rehte hein, prayogshalaaon mein jutey rehte hain.” (“Among those who are spreading terror in the world, those who are spreading violence in the world, there are also several highly educated, highly learned, highly skilled people. On the other side, there are also those who risk their lives day and night to free the world of a pandemic like Coronavirus. They stay firm in hospitals, keep working in labs.”)
Contending that the “basic issue is of mindset” and “not just a question of ideology”, he said: “Whether you want to become a part of the problem or solution, it is in your hands to decide. If we use the same strength, the same smartness, the same intelligence, the same talent for the good, there will be one result, if we use them for bad deeds, the result will be something else.”
Modi said: “If we look only at our own welfare, we will find difficulties, problems, sadness and anger all around. But if we rise above ourselves, our selfishness, and move ahead with a nation-first approach, you will have the urge to find a solution in the middle of every problem, you will see a solution. If your allegiance is to Ma Bharati, then your decisions, your way of life and action will be geared in one way or the other towards a solution.”
The remarks come at a time when a 22-year-old business studies graduate and climate activist from Bengaluru, Disha Ravi, has been arrested by Delhi Police on charges of alleged involvement in preparing a toolkit on the farmers’ protest that was tweeted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
“You will always have to remember that knowledge, education and skill are not static, it is a continuous process. And there will always be scope for course correction. But knowledge and power both come with responsibility,” Modi said.
Referring to the National Education Policy, the Prime Minister said: “It gives strength to research and innovation. A self-reliant India is not possible without empowering the daughters of the country. In NEP, the government has made provision for a Gender Inclusion Fund to empower girls.”
Visva-Bharati University, situated at Birbhum’s Santiniketan, was founded by Nobel Laureate Tagore in 1921, and is one of the oldest central universities in the country with the Prime Minister as Chancellor.
Invoking Tagore, Modi called on the university’s students to help farmers and artisans in villages adopted by the institution find a global market for their products. He also asked them to jointly create a vision document for the next 25 years when India will celebrate 100 years of Independence. “What will be the 25 biggest goals of Visva-Bharati, these can be kept in this vision document,” he said.
In all, 2,535 students received degrees this year in the university. However, the convocation at the “Amra Kunja (Mango Grove)” on campus, which lasted two-and-a-half hours, saw a limited presence of students due to Covid restrictions.
West Bengal Governor and Rector of Visva-Bharati, Jagdeep Dhankhar, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty were present at the venue.
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