SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE SPECIAL CONVOCATION & INAUGURATION OF THE NEW CONVOCATION AUDITORIUM OF THE NORTH MAHARASHTRA UNIVERSITY
Jalgaon , 24th March, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
and Dear Students,
I am extremely happy to be here today at the North Maharashtra University which was established in 1990, with the purpose of fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the Khandesh region of the State of Maharashtra for higher education. The people of this area are known for their hard work, and it is said that once they take-up a task, they ensure its completion and success. Therefore, it is no surprise that some twenty years after its formation, this University has attained a certain stature. I am very happy to have inaugurated this Convocation Auditorium, which is one more step forward in the planned development of this institution of learning, which will benefit all stakeholders. I would also thank the University for conferring a Doctorate Honoris Causa on me. I am honoured to receive it here in Khandesh, as I was born here, grew up here and began life's journey from here. I can definitely say that it was my education that was my greatest asset in life. Therefore, I have always advocated the importance of education for all. For me, speaking at educational institutions is an opportunity to interact with the youth whose proper moulding is very vital for the future growth and progress of our nation in this Century
This University has special responsibilities. It is located in an area where a major proportion of the population is from rural areas, as well as from tribal communities, and a significant role to play in the socio-economic development of the people of this region. I am glad that hostel facilities for tribal girl students, as well as boys are being increased which will provide expanded opportunities for them to live and study on this campus. It is with education that our youth will acquire knowledge and skills for their livelihood. I am also happy that your University has understood the linkage between education and employment, and has from the very beginning focused on creating human resources with skills suited to the job requirements of this part of Maharashtra. The earn and learn scheme of the University, should help students in understanding work ethics, and what is required for them when they will go out into the real world to work. I call on the University to constantly assess its various schemes, as well as upgrade its courses and its teaching methodologies so that it can be a center for excellence. Every institution must carve out a niche for itself, and be forward looking in designing its curriculum, and take into account the changing environment and trends in various disciplines.
Education while preparing students to be knowledgeable and skilled should also make them aware of their responsibilities towards the growth of the nation, as well as the well being of society. A university is also a place where the right attitude to work, the values to be followed, and the vicissitudes of life should be explained to the youth. At every stage of life there are new possibilities and options, dilemmas and doubts. The reality is that along with opportunities, there will invariably be obstacles and difficulties. This is the truth of life. Challenges are a daily occurrence, and we should not get intimidated by them, but rather learn to surmount them. Self discipline is that one quality which can help tide over many difficulties. So, I would advise that the youth develop a sense of discipline in all aspects of life.
India is a store house of traditions and knowledge. Since ancient times there has existed in our country, a deep interest in literature, the arts and scientific endeavour, which covered almost all major areas of human knowledge and activities - mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, medical science and surgery, civil engineering and architecture. There was hardly any field that remained outside the purview of our scholars. This should inspire us in our efforts to reach the light of knowledge to every corner of the country, and to see that every person, man and woman, boy and girl, is educated. We have it in us to achieve all this and more. Please also be aware that education should bring humility in you and not arrogance. A tree full of mangoes bends, it does not stand erect in arrogance.
In the modern world, an immense amount of information is available. The challenge is how to use it for research and new discoveries, as we cope with changes and new demands. This also becomes all the more important, as the world is moving forward rapidly and decisively, into an era where societies and economies are incrementally based on knowledge. The importance of nations in the 21st Century shall be judged not by their economic strength alone, but also by their power to conceptualize, innovate, invent and in bringing the benefits of these inventions to its people. A larger pool of world-class scientific human resources that is striving to expand the frontiers of human knowledge, will give any society a strategic resource for its future. In this regard, I am happy that research is an important part of the work being done here, and special care is being taken to link research work with the requirements of farmers through the University's "Lab to Land" programme. The critical input for any agricultural growth is technology. In fact, it can only be through technological prowess that agriculture productivity can be increased. Therefore, efforts should be made for research and other students to interact with farmers, spend time with them, to understand intimately the ways of village life, and the immediate technological requirements of farmers and help them in whatever manner they can, especially dryland farmers, where we find cases of suicide which should not happen any more.
Development and progress become sustainable only when people are aware, and are able to chart pathways that secure their future, as well as that of future generations. To the youth, who are the future, I would remind them that they have a role in conserving and protecting the environment. Nature has been generous to us. It has in its bounty provided air for breathing, soil and water for agriculture, mines and minerals for industries. Mountains, deserts, valleys, rivers, oceans and forests all are important ecosystems that support diverse life forms. Forests host a wide range of fauna and flora, providing us a wide range of products and also giving green coverage. Just as we need the planet, the planet also needs us to respect it. Every one has to understand their duty and responsibility towards making this world a better place to live.
Teachers play a significant role in shaping the personalities and sensitivities of their students. A teacher should ignite the minds of the young in such a way, that throughout life they have a quest for knowledge, and a desire to make this world a harmonious place to live in. Gandhiji used to say, "What we need are educationists with originality, fired with true zeal, who will think from day to day what they are going to teach their pupils." A teacher must generate a spirit of enquiry, exploration, analysis and critical reflection in their students. This will lead to the creation of ideas and thoughts. I hope that the teaching staff of this University will impart excellent education and values to their students, so that they bring laurels to the University. Education is very important, but education without values, is like a flower without fragrance.
In conclusion, I wish the management, students and faculty of the North Maharastra University all the best for the future. Your motto , "May the light of knowledge ignite every heart" should be your guide.