Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 24 addresses the Visva-Bharati University’s centenary celebrations event via videoconferencing.
Here are the highlights:
“100 years of Visva-Bharati is a matter of pride to every Indian. The journey of Visva-Bharati is special as it is a reflection of ideas of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. This is a place which gives energy to many scientists, artists and experts in other fields.
“Visva-Bharati is tirelessly working in the areas set up by Tagore. Our country is taking the message which has enamated from Visva-Bharati to the world.
“India is the only country working for implementation of the Paris Accord for climate change.
“We have to look at the historical context in which the University was founded. When we talk about freedom struggle, the 18th and 19th century comes to our mind. Bhakti tradition had plated a crucial part in the ideas that laid foundation of these ideas that helped in the freedom struggle.
“In the bhakti period, these reformers gave the ideas that were not limited to a region. It gave a collective insight and self-reliance to the people.
“We cannot speak of bhakti tradition and not talk about Ramakrishna Paramhamsa. It is because of him we got Swami Vivekananda.
“Along with bhakti tradition there was also a movement where people led ‘karm andolan’ — a movement which had many names like Shivaji Maharaj, Maharana Pratap…
“A number of institutions like Benaras Hindu University, Aligarh University and several universities were set up in the same period.
“Bhakti andolan brought us together. The movement of wisdom brought about by these institutions gave us the ideal, and the “karm andolan” gave us strength to stand up for our rights. This has been a movement for centuries.
“The University is called Visva-Bharati which brings a synergy between country and the rest of the world. Atmanirbhar Bharat also draws its inspiration from here. Our development is not alone for development of the country but for the well being of entire world.
“Gurudev spoke about self-empowerment (Atma Shakti) in the self-reliance (Atmanirbhar).
“There are innumerable people from Bengal who have sacrificed their lives for the country…
“In 2022, we are going to celebrate 75 years of the country’s Independence. We will have to set up new targets and in this we will have to guided by Gurudev’s ideals.
“This time we could not organise ‘Poush Mela’ because of the pandemic. This is the third time in 100 years that the mela could not be held. The students of Visva-Bharati can help the artisans, who could not sell their products, using digital means.
“Gurudev used to say, without art and music a nation cannot express itself fully. We will have to remember the main mantra of Gurudev [Jyodi tor daak sure keu na aase, tobe akela cholo re] Walk alone, if nobody heeds to your call.
“Gurudev said that the greatest education is which helps us to live with everyone. For him education should not limit anyone, but provide freedom from a narrow-mindedness.
“Today the country is trying to implement a new education policy. Visva-Bharati has an experience of working in this for 100 years.
“Gurudev’s elder brother Satyendra Nath Tagore was posted in Ahmedabad. Gurudev spent a considerable time in Gujarat and wrote some of his works, including parts of Khudit Pasaan in Ahmedabad.
“I will end with Gurudev words: Ore grihobasi khol dar khol, Laglo je dol (Oh householder open your doors, spring (holi) has come).
“We have to open ourselves to embrace the change.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi ends his speech.
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