Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President of India at the Convocation of Tripura University, in Agartala, Tripura on May 23, 2018.

Agartala, Tripura | May 23, 2018

"I am indeed delighted to deliver the 11th Convocation address of Tripura University. It is not only a landmark event for the students, who are passing out from the portals of this institution, but is an equally important occasion for the faculty, who have taught and guided the young minds to face future challenges of a new world.

I am glad that this institution set up on 2 October, 1987 has given itself the motto “pursuit of excellence” and over the years has been making rapid strides to achieve higher benchmarks.

The quest for excellence is a constant, perennial quest. It is an effort that gives hope and optimism. It is an exciting journey that makes each new day a novel, rejuvenating experience.

Imagination and innovation are at the heart of this relentless journey. It is an educational process that focuses on continuous learning and accessing knowledge from all over the globe.

It is fallacious to think that a person’s education is complete or ends with the acquisition of graduation or post-graduation certificates.

Dear students,

Your University was established on the birth anniversary of the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhiji who had defined education in the following words:

“By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man—body, mind and spirit. Literacy is not the end of education not even the beginning. It is one of the means whereby man and women can be educated. Literacy in itself is no education”.

As Gandhiji had envisaged, education must bring out the best in each one of us. It is time for us to pause for a second and ask whether it is happening. It is time for us to do serious introspection. At a time when we are seeing all-round dilution of education standards and values, we have to ensure that education system inculcates the strongest ethical and moral values and fosters the spirit of excellence. Education must also promote inclusive outlook, tolerance and compassion. Gandhiji had also said: “An education which does not teach us to discriminate between good and bad, to assimilate the one and eschew the other, is a misnomer”.

The quest for excellence you have inscribed as a motto finds an echo not only in the writings of Gandhiji but also in the thought of another great Indian thinker, Swami Vivekananda, who had said: “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already existing in man”. Education is meant to empower the individual through enlightenment and knowledge, smoothen the rough edges and develop the person into a better and holistic human being.

Dear students, today is a momentous occasion for all you as it heralds a new beginning. As you step out of the portals of this institution in pursuit of further studies or employment, everything may not pan out as planned and you might face unexpected difficulties or obstacles. One should not get despondent or crestfallen by temporary setbacks and must pursue one’s goals with dedication and passion. Aim high and dream big as the former President A P J Abdul Kalam always used to exhort.

In fact, the late President has proved to all of us that one can reach the highest position in the country through hard work, dedication, honesty and perseverance, irrespective of humble beginnings. This is true also of our Prime Minister, Shri Narendrabhai Modi.

Sisters and brothers,

As Nelson Mandela had said “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Education is the instrument of transformation for building a knowledge-based society of conscientious citizens.

I am delighted to note that your state has one of the highest literacy rates in the country. You must now move on to make good quality elementary education and higher education opportunities available to all. You must shape a system that will respond to the learning needs of the young population. We shouldn’t settle for anything but the best.

Sisters and brothers,

India has emerged as the fastest growing large economy after averaging an 8.3 per cent growth between 2003 and 2011. It is projected to touch 9 per cent by 2022 as a result of various reforms like demonetization and introduction of GST. The biggest challenge is to tap the huge human resource potential as about 65 per cent of the population is below 35 years of age.

With the economy expected to perform well, it will open many new avenues for the youth in the country. What is needed now is to achieve synergies of action. Various educational institutions and universities must tie-up with the local industries to impart vocational skills in different trades to students. Such collaborations will not only help the universities to update their curricula in tune with the demands of the industry but also enable the students to secure employment or become entrepreneurs.

You would be happy to note the Government is not only looking eastward but is also taking the necessary steps to have an undivided focus on connectivity-physical and digital. There is a distinct opportunity for greater economic integration of the north east region with the country’s eastern neighborhood. Consequently, there is likely to be a number of new opportunities that would emerge in the near future.

Dear students, you must seize these new found opportunities for growth and development. You must think and act innovatively and creatively to make a mark in life. Never hesitate to take risks and explore unchartered territories. As Swami Vivekananda had said, “Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead, if you lose, you can guide”. Always adopt a positive attitude without worrying about the future and become the directors of your destiny.

Sisters and brothers,

You and I are living in a world that is fast changing. The way we live, the way we work and the way we learn are all changing.

Technological changes have democratized education.

Geography is no longer a barrier.

Even if you are in an isolated part of India, you can access the latest information and take courses from leading Universities in the world.

Let us make use of all the opportunities that come our way. Let us create new pathways where none exist today with an attitude that our ancient sages had approached life years ago. Let us say and actually keep welcoming noble thoughts from all over the world.

However, let us also remember the great heritage we have and build on all that is good in it.

As the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi had said: “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any”.

I congratulate all our dear students and research scholars who have well deserved the emblems of an institutional recognition of success on this auspicious day. At the same time, I congratulate all the parents and teachers assembled here, without whose dedicated caring attitude, these promising faces, our future nation-builders, would not have been able to achieve what they have done.

My dear students, you are the future architects of our great nation. These are exciting times when India is rising up in all spheres of human endeavor. There are innumerable opportunities waiting to be discovered. Remember that in this interconnected world, there are no boundaries for knowledge acquisition. There are no limitations of applying this knowledge to spur your own growth and the development of the country.

As I wrap up my speech on this auspicious occasion of the 11th Convocation of Tripura University, I appeal to you all to keep up the innovative spirit, the spirit that makes us dream, and the spirit that makes us strive to achieve our dreams. As Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore had said, we should move towards that kind of a new India where “tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection”.

I congratulate all of you once again for all the success you have achieved till now and hope that the years to come will be even brighter.