I am delighted to be here for the second convocation of Swami Ram Himalayan University (SRHU). Set amidst these serene surroundings, the campus with its clean and green ambience has created the right setting for imparting professional and higher education.
Though SRHU, a State University, is only 4 years old, the sponsoring Society, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT), has been rendering invaluable service to the residents of Uttarakhand and the nation over the last 28 years, having been established by Shri Swami Ram, a great humanitarian, philosopher, teacher, author and yogi par excellence. I was told that this place was a barren land 28 years ago and today it has bloomed into a beautiful township. This is all due to the grace and blessings of this great visionary.
Shri Swami Ram used to say “If I cannot serve the God within you, then going to temples, churches and masjids is all hypocrisy.” This conviction led him to create “Love, Serve, Remember” as the motto of HIHT, inspiring students, faculty and staff to serve their fellow beings selflessly and lovingly, remembering that the same Divinity dwells in all. I feel privileged and honoured to visit this temple of education, compassion and love, established by this great saint.
Today, inspired by the lofty ideals of Swami Ram, the Swami Ram Himalayan University is providing quality higher education with graduate, postgraduate and Ph. D programmes in Medicine, Nursing, Paramedical Sciences, Biosciences, Engineering, Management, Economics and Commerce.
I am happy to hear that the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences (HIMS) is developing integrated and cost effective approaches to health care that address not only the needs of the local population but can serve as a model for the country as a whole and for underserved populations worldwide.
I am happy to hear that through its 1000-bedded hospital, HIMS is providing multi-super specialty and tertiary care services to the rural masses of Uttarakhand and adjoining states at affordable prices. It’s heartening to note that over 9,000 children with cleft lips and palates have been provided free plastic surgery under the Smile Train Project.
It is gratifying to note that the Medical Council of India in 2014 has designated the Department of Medical Education, as a Regional Medical Education Training Centre. I am told that this unit is continuously involved in faculty development programs and in developing innovative teaching and assessment tools.
It is heartening to know that the Cancer Research Institute of the University is addressing all aspects of cancer control such as prevention, early detection and treatment, education, research and community services. CRI is well equipped to become the premier cancer centre in the region and a nodal point for referral of cancer patients from Uttarakhand and neighbouring states. I am also very happy to hear that ICMR has recognized the Cancer Research Institute as a collaborative centre for research purposes.
We often hear that healing and healthcare has ceased to be patient-centric and that patients are needlessly burdened with unnecessary diagnostic tests, procedures, long hospital stays and low quality medications.
My advice to the medical graduates is to transform your medical practice into an ethical practice keeping the welfare and well-being of the patients.
Ancient Indian doctor, Charaka had rightly said “Not for self, not for the fulfilment of any earthly desire of gain, but solely for the good of suffering humanity will I practice my art and so excel all. Those who sell the treatment of diseases as merchandise gather the dust and neglect the gold.”
Nurses play a vital role in the care and treatment of patients, providing the much-needed compassionate touch. I am pleased to hear that the Himalayan College of Nursing (HCN) is providing diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate programs in nursing.
The education imparted at HCN will go a long way to ameliorate the nursing shortage of our country. While nurses face many challenges in the workplace like long working hours and having to perform non-nursing roles, a positive work environment, workload balance, good recruitment and retention policies can help mitigate these challenges.
It is good to note that HCN is dedicated to creating empowered nurses who are encouraged to not only provide patient care, but are also involved in community development, patient advocacy and counselling.
A shared, strong and committed vision of the management students can play a significant and influencing role in shaping the nation and its economy. I am told that in the Himalayan School of Management Studies (HSMS) at SRHU, students are not trained just in the art and science of management but are also imparted ethical values and are encouraged to grow holistically by nurturing a culture of continuous learning, research and innovation. This approach will help develop value-based leaders for a meaningful engagement with business and community. To make students employable and industry ready, it is laudable that industry-academia partnership platforms like conclaves, roundtables and seminars are being held frequently to bridge the gap between the two and to also identify the most effective strategies to develop employees with industry-specific skills.
The hill districts of Uttarakhand have tremendous potential. The vast natural resources add to the State’s attractiveness as an investment destination, especially for tourism, agriculture and healthcare industry. The skill development courses of HSMS in hotel management will equip the youth with the skills necessary to boost eco-tourism in the State.
I would like to remind the graduates of HSMS that personal skills like effective communication, self-management, innovation, emotional intelligence, self-awareness (knowing one’s capabilities and limitations) -- will empower you to anchor onto the right purposes in life, both in business and for philanthropy.
From times immemorial, engineering has played a pervasive role and evolved continuously to meet the needs of human civilization. It is central to the well-being and economic development of every nation. In the context of a developing country like ours, engineering plays a particularly important role in the development of the infrastructure and in eradicating poverty and unemployment. Engineering like many other disciplines has to keep pace with rapidly changing technological advances and I am glad that the curricula is being constantly updated and new courses are being added to meet the emerging challenges. The relatively new fields of Nanotechnology, Logistics, Biotechnology and high-performance computing have opened a vista of opportunities for upcoming engineers.
I am pleased to share with you that the Government of India has ambitious plans to transform India into a competitive, high-growth, high productive middle income country by diversifying its economy from being largely agro-based to a manufacturing and service-based economy. These ambitious plans will result in an increased demand for skilled labour. The Government’s recent skill gap analysis concluded that by 2022, over 100 million skilled workers will be needed in the 24 key Sectors of the economy.
Another serious concern which I would like to highlight is the migration of youth from rural to urban areas in search of better livelihood. This trend needs to be reversed by implementing the vision of former President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He formulated the concept of PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) to arrest the migration of people from villages to cities. Here, I would like to appeal to industries, corporate and NGOs to supplement the efforts of the governments in all-round development of villages, which are the basic cultural units of Indian society. The answer to combating migration lies in nurturing entrepreneurship, providing vocational training and encouraging small and medium enterprises.
I am pleased to know that SRHU is doing its part in closing the skill gap through its paramedical degree programs and by collaborating with IL&FS to impart high quality skill training programmes. I am told that SRHU is also working in close collaboration with Industries Association of Uttarakhand (IAU) to promote entrepreneurship skills among students.
As mentioned earlier, basic amenities must be provided in the rural areas and it is heartening to note that the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust is providing healthcare and educational services to 1200 villages. I am told that it has provided safe drinking water to over 325 far-off villages in mountainous regions and has constructed toilets for 14000 rural families, 40 schools and 10 Anganwadi centres.
I was very happy to know that humanities and yoga are an integral part of the curriculum for students and new faculty and that they are exposed to the teachings of Shri Swami Ram through the Science of Joyful Living program of lectures and practicums. Such programs can help them overcome the stresses and strains of modern life and provide them with the know-how to become more creative and dynamic individuals.
My dear young friends, today is a momentous day in your lives. It is an important day because you will be receiving your medals and degree certificates. But remember that it is not the end of your learning. In fact, life is a continuous learning process and as you step out of the portals of this institution and face new challenges, every moment will make you learn new things. Formal education will enable you to find employment, but the real challenge will be when your life-skills are tested. You should face life with equanimity—be it disappointments or most ecstatic moments-you must face them with complete composure. Dare to dream big and work hard to realize your dreams. Let not a few disappointing incidents deflect you from your path.
Apart from moulding the character of the students, today’s education must make them multi-skilled and prepare them to face the challenges of tomorrow in a technologically-changing world. The emphasis must be on a holistic development of an individual.
Friends, today India is the fastest growing large economy and you have abundant opportunities. My advice to all of you is not to be mere job-seekers but try to become job creators. Be creative, innovative, unconventional and try to explore unchartered territories. Don’t’ be afraid of setbacks. Dedication, passion, commitment, hard work, discipline and perseverance will make realize your dreams and achieve your goals.
India is placed in a uniquely advantageous position demographically as about 65 per cent of the population is below the age of 35 years. This demographic potential has to be fully harnessed to further spur the economic growth and develop the New India into one of the leading economic powers in the world.
Dear students, you are the future of our nation and are ideally equipped to serve our nation with the professional education you have received at Swami Ram Himalayan University. We need dedicated doctors, nurses, managers and engineers to weed out corruption in our country and make India a developed nation.
My advice to you as you step out into an exciting world of infinite possibilities is to be active and agile, responsible and responsive, receptive and positive.
My dear students, keep learning even after you leave the University so that you are constantly updated and you are the front runner and pace setter in your field. Keep the welfare of humanity as the ultimate test of how you use the knowledge and skills you acquire.
Once again, my sincere congratulations and best wishes!
May God bless you all!