Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, while addressing students and faculty members at the convocation ceremony of Sardar Patel University in Vallabh Vidyanagar on Sunday, appealed that universities must maintain discipline and decorum and not turn into political battle grounds.
“Everyone present here and those watching the convocation, it is my appeal to all that universities must maintain discipline, decorum, decency, commitment to the values, to the heritage, to the culture. Universities should not be used as political battle ground, or by extremist elements,” he said.
Without making any direct comments, he took a jibe at the protests in JNU and the ongoing protests in Jamia Milia Islamia against the new Citizenship law and said, “I am very happy that by and large out of 1,000 universities, 990-plus universities are maintaining peace. Few universities are in the news for the wrong reasons — somebody is trying to celebrate Afzal Guru, somebody is trying to create unnecessary controversies, somebody is trying to establish different systems of clash between teachers and students. We are all one and we should work together. There should be no hatred and everybody should maintain harmony. We must redirect ourselves to raise the standards of our universities and maintain the cultural ethos of our country.”
He urged that as the future architects of the nation, students in universities should shape the “new India” where progress is predicated on peace, stability, innovation and excellence. He also urged that students draw upon every skill that they have mastered to serve the state, nation and society at large, and develop the sentiment of nationalism. “Be disciplined and don’t be disciplined because of the Vice Chancellor, but for the betterment of your country and motherland. You must aim and dream high. Unity is the need of the hour. We may belong to different regions, we may be speaking different languages, we may be wearing different attires, eating different foods, but we are all one. At present, caste, creed, religion and region is being exploited by some people. It is a need for all of us to develop nationalism and to commit ourselves to the unity and integrity of the nation,” he said.
As Sunday marked the death anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Naidu paid tribute to him and said, “Today, as we are paying tributes to the great Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, some people are trying to raise the debate of who inherits his legacy, to which party Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel belongs to….The one who follows Sardar Patel Vallabhbhai Patel is the true inheritor. He belongs to the entire country, he has shown the light, he brought unity and integrity. Anyone who follows Sardar Patel’s visions, they are the true followers and family members of Sardar Patel.”