The 114th convocation ceremony of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) was held on Friday. Vice Chancellor Dr Nitin Karmalkar, chief guest and Director General of Council of Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) Dr Shekhar Mande, Pro-chancellor Dr N U Umrani, Registrar Dr Prafulla Pawar, among other dignitaries, were present on the occasion.
More than one lakh degree certificates, along with 439 PhD certificates, were presented on the occasion. The university also conferred 126 gold medals on 70 students for excelling in their respective areas of study.
For the first time, the graduates wore Indian traditional attire along with Puneri pagadi, a Peshwa-era headgear popular in Pune, and not conventional gowns during the ceremony.
In his convocation speech, chief guest Mande highlighted the importance of innovation and incubation. “Innovation is the buzzword of the 21st century. Innovation and enterprise are the foundation stones of making India a developed economy, and a long-term technology-led economic growth is possible on this foundation. Innovation and new technology will decide the future direction of development,” said Mande.
The CSIR director general quoted President Ram Nath Kovind in asserting the role of universities in innovation. “Best universities and institutions of learning are not just teaching shops or degree factories, they are sources of innovation,” said Mande.
Congratulating the recipients, Karmalkar highlighted the university’s achievements in the past. “With 7 lakh students across 49 departments, 702 affiliated colleges, and foreign students from every part of the world, SPPU has earned a place of distinction in the UK-based Times Higher Education World Rankings 2018-19, and is ranked first amongst traditional Indian universities,” the V-C said. He also highlighted the SPPU’s selection in Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan 2.0, a centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2013 to provide strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions.
Protests against Puneri pagadi
Meanwhile, in the midst of convocation, some members of the students’ union, including Kuldip Ambekar, Dayanand Shinde and Sharmila Yevle, raised slogans against the V-C for adding Puneri pagadi in this year’s convocation dress code. They even approached the stage before they were apprehended by security and detained at Chaturshringi police station. “With consultation of the university administration, we will take further action,” said Dayanand Dhome, senior police inspector at Chaturshringi police station. Meanwhile, Akash Zambre of the Nationalist Student Congress, along with other representatives, also held a protest by taking out a rally with a horse wearing the Puneri pagadi.