Campus Notes

Universities' transformative potential needed to combat social inequalities

NetIndian News Network

Mysore, July 23, 2016

Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari has said that the transformative potential of universities was most acutely needed in societies like India struggling against societal inequalities and deep-seated prejudices.
Addressing the valedictory function of the centenary celebrations of the University of Mysore here yesterday, he said the university had been contributing to the making of India’s knowledge society.
The genesis of this university lay in the extraordinary vision of two individuals, the then Maharaja of Mysore, Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, and Sir M. Visvesvaraya, one of the most brilliant engineering minds that India has produced, he said.
Mr. Ansari noted that it was the first university in India outside of the British governed areas. Today, it has grown into one of India’s largest, providing higher education to about 85,000 students, of which over 10,000 are post-graduate students, he said.
Some 1400 students from 50 foreign countries are also enrolled at the picturesque main campus and various satellite and extension facilities.
“The University has an excellent track record in research, especially in the field of microbiology, and it is no surprise that it has outstanding rankings in the NAAC surveys. Your success, and your reputation as a centre of excellence, is due to the efforts and excellence of the faculty and the hard work of students,” he added.
“In this ‘age of Information’, few would dispute the importance of universities. However, recent events in our own country have shown that there is much confusion about what a university should or should not be,” Mr Ansari said.
The Vice-President said universities can be agents of social justice and mobility. They can foster fraternity and must contribute to social and cultural vitality and building an egalitarian society.
A university that moulds itself only to present demands is one that is not listening to its historians, he added.
Mr. Ansari said universities are also forums of free speech and debate. They can act as both the weather vanes and safety-valves of political dissent and direction. He cautioned that suppression of such discourse only breeds mistrust, and begets social malcontent.