Text of the Vice-President’s Address at the Educationists Interaction Meet at Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur (Excerpts)

azadi ka amrit mahotsav

 Good afternoon to all of you! My greetings and salutations

एक बहुत पुरानी कहावत है:

गुरु गोविन्द दोऊ खड़े, काके लागू पाय |

बलिहारी गुरु आपने , गोविन्द दियो बताय ||

 If you look at our history of thousands of years, you will find that the connection between teacher and student is for a lifetime. It is a game changer, a defining moment in the career and life of that person. You will always find that there is some teacher who has changed your life, who has given due impetus to your life. I have that in my mind.

When I was admitted to Sainik School, I came from a village school where English was not even taught and Sainik School medium was English. So your intellect was of no consequence because you did not know English and the kind of hand holding that I got from my teacher, I came to know within two years Britannica Encyclopaedia, Picasso and was also exposed to the small biographies of 100 people who mattered in the world over centuries.

This motivation which is of special energization, was by a teacher. When I took the oath of office of the Governor of the State of West Bengal, information was given to me that a call is repeatedly dropping from Kerala. Someone from Kerala is very keen to connect with me. But the call was being dropped. I knew it was my teacher from Sainik School- Ms. Nair. I connected with her. As Vice-President of India, I made a visit to Kerala and went to her home because you never forget a teacher.

A teacher creates human resources and human resources create the rest of the things. The most difficult task is the creation of a human resource, generating human resource, imbibing in the human resource that energy which can help the person fully unleash her energy. We are living in times where our teachers are fortunate because they are getting the support of the ecosystem. A teacher works even when the ecosystem is not good. They will care for the student. But now there is an ecosystem on account of a series of Government policies, affirmative initiatives that a young mind can fully exploit his or her potential and talent, that opportunity is now available. How good an Institute is, it is not defined by the infrastructure, by the buildings, but it is defined by the faculty. It doesn’t take much time to know how good the faculty is, how committed the faculty is. The rating of a University or a college or Institute is never on the account of infrastructure. I can tell you some Universities where infrastructure is great but faculty is not there.

The Indian mind globally is dominating at the moment, only on account of our teachers. I am greatly enthused by coming to this place. These days, what I find is that our teachers are absolutely playing on the front foot with Straight bat. There are no constraints. I appeal to everyone that our society is suffering majorly because we are unable to give our teachers the kind of respect the teachers should have.

It is very difficult to mentor one’s own child. Mentoring children of others with that dedication, with that commitment, and finding out everything which the boys suffer, girls suffer and then motivating, is a tough challenge and a teacher does that.

Dr. Radhakrishnan, a philosopher of world repute, Vice President of India for 10 years and President of India- he is not known as President. His recognition is not because he was the Vice President or a philosopher, his recognition was on account of ‘a teacher’ and that is why 5th September is a day for all of us to celebrate.

Dr. Abdul Kalam, he is known best as a teacher. He died in the North East while interacting with the students. The society must learn to repay the teacher, as we expect our students, when they take a leap in the larger world, to repay to society, to the teacher, to alma mater.

I would greatly appeal to everyone- I have done it in my capacity as Governor, Vice Chancellor of several Universities and Vice President, being Chairman of Rajya Sabha- I tell everyone, the precedence the society must give to the teachers is beyond the official protocol. This is a protocol emanating from the heart and mind working together.

I was at the University of Jammu yesterday. I was so happy and came absolutely satisfied because the faculty there was satisfied. It is the prime obligation of every Institute of repute to prioritise the facilities that are available to the teacher. It is a teacher who will think out of the box. It is a teacher who will lead you to the path of innovation. It is the teacher who will give you energy when you are depressed and you think you are sinking.

How good- not just an institution, or society, but humanity will be- will be determined by the teacher. I asked several people in the industry, whatever you are doing, whatever profits you are making, whatever product you are manufacturing, who created it? They will say it was created in a lab of the college or University. It is never created in a factory. They execute, they don’t innovate. I am so happy to share that the present Prime Minister is extremely committed to Research and Development, and Research and Development is 100% the domain of the teacher. Research, Development and creativity go together. It is not easy for a teacher to succeed with what has occurred in his or her mind. They have worked tirelessly for years on a particular project; in the process they should get proper recognition.

I am sometimes pained and I will share my pain with you. There is a prestigious institution in the US where there is a faculty from every part of the world but it is Indian faculty that decries its own country, that demeans its own country, no one else does it.

I know, by and large, academia in our country is fired with the vision of our founding fathers. Their commitment to our nationalism is unqualified. They must not observe silence when some of us, a very small category, misguide it.

I have been critical of government funding of foreign universities by five million US dollars in 2009.  A big house donating 50 million US Dollars to an outside agency, another house giving foreign universities a foothold, the images will make them big- for what?

 Our faculty is next to none, why should Indian money not come to Indian Universities, Indian colleges of excellence? Why should we not write freely about it? How can we countenance that a professor of Indian Origin is decrying our nation in the US to build his image with others?

 We cannot allow others to calibrate us. This calibration is some kind of servitude, it is compromising our independence and nationalism. We will calibrate ourselves. We don’t calibrate others, why should they calibrate us?

 The calibration is motivated by a narrative that there is no freedom of speech in India. Tell me in which country you can speak so freely? As Vice-President and Chairman, Rajya Sabha, I can tell you that everyone has full freedom. It is a functional democracy. Can you think of a more vibrant democracy than India? Such seamless Constitutional transfer of power, there is no issue. We believe in our institutions.

 When I was interacting with the Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom, more than 20 of them across the political spectrum conveyed to me- we need your execution. It is very vibrant, but here if I win, I salute to the Election Commission but if I lose the machine is bad. Now how can an intelligent and rational mind digest it?

 Another culture that has come- you were under oath at one point of time as I am at the moment as Vice-President; I demit my office and I become a loose cannon, to destroy my own system and my own country!

 Academia has to speak out and occupy a social space as you are a neutral, impactful force. What you write will get disseminated by word of mouth, which means a lot. I am surprised sometimes that people find it difficult to rejoice historic and unimaginable accomplishments of this country. We have on the ground now, what we did not think of dreaming.

 I have known governance since 1989, when I was elected to the Parliament. I had seen the Government was struggling then for forex reserves, for billions of US dollars and the gold had to be sent out to save our credibility in the fiscal world. By the turn of the decade, we will be the third largest economy- all because of the teacher.

 And therefore, we cannot be judgmental about the two entities- the teacher and the mother. We have no option but only to salute them. We only celebrate that we have the good fortune and occasion to be subject to tutelage by them.

 I am sure this fraternity in particular will rise to the occasion to antidote and neutralize anti-national forces which are, mind you, directed by some in the Academia, those who held power earlier.

 I am amazed! A man and economist came to this country, became Chief Economic Advisor, became RBI Governor and when he did not get extension, went back. Doesn’t know what is happening in the country, doesn’t relish that it is the most favoured destination for investment and opportunity, ignores global bodies that say we are the fastest rising economy, and at appropriate time will say India is not what it should be!

 Answers should come from this category, not from politicians. I am not a stakeholder in politics, it doesn’t matter to me who wins or loses but what matters to me is the conduct of the politician, conduct of politics. At the centre must be India.

 I am sure it is never good to teach the teacher. It is always better to get motivation from them. Thank you for affording me this opportunity. This has generated a bond between us.

 I have already indicated two things: one, the Indian Council of World Affairs will have an MoU where faculty and students will benefit and an IFS official will come personally to sign the MoU here. Secondly, a visit to the new building of Parliament will be coordinated for students and for the faculty.

 I can tell you that the entire world is looking at India. How could the Modi Government accomplish it during COVID period in less than 30 months? But when you see the building you will say the world is wrong. 30 months is not for the building; what has been done inside, that normally would have taken decades. The fact that it has been done- that speaks that India is on the rise as never before. In 2047, India will undoubtedly be the world leader because this is the sentiment of the Global leaders with whom I had the occasion to interact at Qatar, London, and many of whom had called on me.

 I wish you a great day. Keep on mentoring your students who will keep on meandering all over, contributing for the nation.

 Thank you so much.



Source PIB