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New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 19, 2021, addressed the Convocation Ceremony of Visva-Bharati University  through a video conference. Governor of West Bengal and Rector of Visva-Bharati Jagdeep Dhankhar, Union Education Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, and Union MoS for Education Sanjay Dhotre were also present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister while addressing the convocation quoted the poem of Gurudev Ravindra Nath Tagore on Veer Shivaji which inspired him and called for unity of India. He stressed that the students and the faculty were not just a part of a university, but also bearers of a vibrant tradition. He said Gurudev named the University as Visva Bharati meaning Global University since he expected that anyone who comes to learn in Visva Bharati will see the whole world from the point of view of India and Indianness. So he made Visva Bharati such a place to learn, which can be seen in the rich heritage of India, the PM said.

The PM  gave a call for assimilating and researching about the Indian heritage and working towards solving the problems of the poorest of the poor. He said Visva Bharati for Gurudev Tagore was not just a knowledge imparting institution but an attempt to reach the topmost goal of Indian culture, which is to achieve oneself, according to a PIB release.

The Prime Minister said Gurudev believed that we have to discover ourselves among the varied ideologies and differences. He said that Tagore used to be proud of Bengal but at the same time, he was equally proud of India’s diversity. He said there is no limit to creativity and knowledge. It was with this thought that Gurudev founded this great university. PM urged the students to always remember that knowledge, thought and skill are not static but a dynamic and continuous process.

The Prime Minister, while addressing the students said your knowledge is not only yours but society’s and is the heritage of the country.  He said many who are spreading terror and violence across the world are highly educated, highly skilled. On the other hand, there are people who are risking their lives and stationed at hospitals and labs to save people from a pandemic like COVID. He said this is not about ideology but mindset, whether it is positive or negative. He urged the students to decide whether they want to be part of the problem or the solution.

Recalling the historical strength of the traditional Indian education system, the Prime  Minister referred to Gandhian Dharampal’s book ‘The Beautiful Tree- Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century’. He said that a 1820 survey had said that there was more than one gurukul in every village which were linked with the local temples and literacy rate was estimated to be very high. This was recognised by the British scholars also.

The PM said that the new National Education Policy breaks old restrictions and allows students to realise their full potential. It allows flexibility in selection of subjects and medium of instruction. The policy promotes entrepreneurship and self employment; research and innovation. ‘This education policy is a major milestone in the making of an Aatmnirbhar Bharat”, he  said.. The Prime Minister  informed that scholars have recently been given free access to lakhs of journals by the Government. This year’s budget has proposed Rs 50 thousand crore in 5 years for research through the National Research Foundation.

Calling Bengal inspiration for Ek Bharat-Shreshth Bharat, the Prime Minister said that Visva Bharati will play a big role in the 21st century knowledge economy taking Indian knowledge and identity to every corner of the world.He called upon the students of the prestigious institute to prepare a vision document for next 25 years about the 25 biggest goals of Visva Bharati in 2047. The Prime Minister concluded by calling upon the students to find ways to make nearby villages Aatmnirbhar.