I am very pleased to be among you all today.
I am happy to know that Delhi Tamil Students Association is doing good work for student’s welfare especially for the south Indian students studying in Delhi.
You are the future of this country. You are the energy that would be leading this Nation tomorrow. So you should not only excel in your studies, but also remain alive to the issues facing the Nation. This will prepare you for your future leadership roles. It is a known fact that some of our greatest leaders learned their best lessons while fighting for country’s cause in their student life.
Since you are in your formative days, I would advise you to learn as much as you can… and that learning need not be limited to the books only. Rather I would like you to spend fifty percent of your time outside classroom. You need to go close to the nature. Nature teaches you best lessons. It helps you become a better person …a considerate human being who is sensitive to the smallest creature, not just human beings. Our development model should be such that it cares for the environment and follows a sustainable path.
In addition to this, I would like you all to be active in sports. Choose one or more sport of your choice and spend at least one hour in playground everyday. I still play badminton for an hour everyday ... even at this age. Your mind can not be fit unless your body is fit …. our ancient sages understood this and gifted us their great wisdom in the form of Yoga. Our PM has launched Fit India Movement and I call upon you to take it far and wide, to every person known to you. You need to inspire others by setting your own examples.
You should not only take keen interest in contemporary issues, but also have right sense of our past as well. History is not exactly what Britishers have taught us. They had their own vested interests to prolong their rule in India....to exploit its vast human and natural resources. Their policies were guided by this greed. History too, became a tool to achieve this aim. British historians never accepted 1857 as first war for freedom, rather they tried to portray it mere ‘sepoy mutiny’. Divide and rule became their principle. We need our own sense of history with Indian perspective and Indian values.
We need to make younger generation aware of the fact that our nation is a great repository of knowledge and wisdom and once upon a time was known as Viswa Guru. Our centres of learning such as Nalanda and Takshashila were world famous and knowledge-seekers from across the globe used to come and pursue their studies in those temples of learning.
Our ancient Gurukul education system with its Guru-Shishya tradition used to provide value-based and holistic education, which empowered individuals.
India should once again become a Vishwa Guru and the hub of innovation and knowledge. For that to happen, we have to drastically revamp the education system to make our institutions of higher learning and universities the centres of excellence with international standards. We need to completely overhaul the education system to prepare students to effectively face the challenges of the 21st century. We need an education system that transforms a student to become a complete human being, who is sensitive and filled with empathy for the weaker sections of society.
I have time and again emphasized the importance of cherishing our rich language heritage. India is a blessed country that we have so many living languages. More than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken in our country as mother tongues. We have to cherish this diversity, we have to nurture it..... we should be proud of it. I am of the firm view that every child should get basic schooling in his/her mother tongue. This will not only result in better learning outcomes but also go a long way in preservation of our languages.
I am happy to know that Delhi Tamil Students Association provides scholarships to students who are economically weak and provides them a platform to excel. We all know that the rising cost of education, especially on the higher education front is a matter of worry. Education is a fundamental requirement and it must be made affordable. Today’s India is young and aspirational and we must create an environment for talent to thrive.
It is a pleasure to know that Delhi Tamil Students Association organises cultural programs in Delhi with an aim to imbibe a feeling that from 'Kashmir to Kanyakumari, we are one'. I hope you will keep doing good work for national integration and ‘India First’ will be your guiding mantra in all your future endeavours.
Wishing you all the best.