Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the convocation of Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal through video conferencing, in New Delhi on February 19, 2021.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the convocation of Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal through video conferencing, in New Delhi on February 19, 2021.

Tagore was proud of Bengal, he was equally proud of India's diversity, says Modi

New Delhi, February 19, 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore was proud of Bengal and equally proud of India's diversity.

"Gurudev believed that we have to discover ourselves among the varied Ideologies and differences. it is due to Gurudev's vision that humanity thrives under the open sky of Santiniketan," he said in his address to the convocation of Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal through video conference.

Modi told the students and the faculty of Visva-Bharati that they were not just a part of a university, but also bearers of a vibrant tradition.

"Gurudev named the University 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," he said.

He gave a call for assimilating and researching about the Indian heritage and working towards solving the problems of the poorest of the poor. Visva Bharati for Gurudev Tagore was not just a knowledge imparting institution but an attempt to reach the topmost goal of Indian culture, to achieve self-realisation, he said.

“Visva Bharati as an unending sea of knowledge in itself, the foundation of which was laid for experience-based education. There is no limit to creativity and knowledge. It was with this thought that Gurudev founded this great university,” Modi said.

He urged the students to always remember that knowledge, thought and skill was not static but a dynamic and continuous process. Responsibility comes with knowledge and power. Just as one has to be restrained and sensitive while in power, every scholar also has to be responsible for those who do not have any knowledge, he said.

“Your knowledge is not only yours but society's and is the heritage of the country. Your knowledge and skill can make a nation proud or can push society into the darkness of slander and ruin. He said many who are spreading terror and violence across the world are highly educated, highly skilled. On the other hand, some people are risking their lives and stationed at hospitals and labs to save people from a pandemic like COVID.

“This is not about ideology but mindset, whether it is positive or negative. There is scope for both and paths are open for both.”

He urged the students to decide whether they want to be part of the problem or the solution. If they put the nation first then their every decision will move towards some solution. He advised the students not to be afraid of making a decision.

As long as the youth of the country have the passion to innovate, take risks and move forward, there is no worry about the future of the country, he said. He assured the Government’s support for the youth in this endeavour.

Referring to the strength of the traditional Indian education system, Modi cited Gandhian Dharampal’s book "The Beautiful Tree- Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century". The 1820 survey had said that there was more than one Gurukul in every village linked to the local temples and the literacy rate was estimated to be very high. This was recognized by British scholars also. Tagore developed systems in Visva Bharti which were the medium of modernising Indian education and freeing it from the shackles of slavery, he said.

"Similarly, the new National Education Policy also breaks old restrictions and allows students to realize their full potential. It allows flexibility in the 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 added. Scholars have recently been given free access to lakhs of journals by the Government. This year’s budget has proposed Rs 50,000 crore in five years for research through the National Research Foundation. The Education Policy has made provision for the Gender Inclusion Fund that will give the girls new confidence. The higher drop out rate of girls was studied and arrangements were made for entry-exit options and yearly credit in the degree courses, he said.

Calling Bengal an inspiration for "Ek Bharat-Shreshth Bharat", he said Visva Bharati will play a big role in the 21st-century knowledge economy, taking Indian knowledge and identity to every corner of the world.

Modi called upon the students of the prestigious institute to prepare a vision document for the next 25 years about the 25 biggest goals of Visva Bharati in 2047. Hw asked the students to spread awareness about India. Visva Bharati should lead all educational institutions to carry India’s message and enhance India’s image globally. He concluded the address by calling upon the students to find ways to make nearby villages Aatmnirbhar and taking their products globally.

Governor of West Bengal and Rector of Visva-Bharati, Jagdeep Dhankhar, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Union Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre were also present on the occasion.


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