Hailing Visva Bharati University as an institute which has upheld the country’s culture and ethos, President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said his visit to the varsity was no less than a pilgrimage. Addressing the annual convocation of the university as a ‘paridarshak’ (visitor), Kovind said this “seat of learning” has played a glorious role in nation building.
“I call this (visit to the university) a pilgrimage because the two greatest visionaries of modern India, Rabindranath Tagore (founder of the varsity), and Mahatma Gandhi, frequently met here. It is here that we all pick the threads of life and lessons of these great sages and learn from them,” he said.
Kovind recalled that Tagore had turned to Gandhi for help when the varsity was in dire need of funds in 1935 and had received a draft of Rs 60,000. For Gurudev (Tagore), as well as for Mahatma, right education was the key to national regeneration, the president emphasised.
“Gurudev had thought of an alternative model (of education) which advocates for intimate communion with nature and Visva Bharati, to this date, follows that tradition,” Kovind stated. This uniqueness of Visva-Bharati is something that “we need to cherish and hold up with pride”, he insisted.
“It was in this place that Tagore lived, worked and gave concrete shape to his dreams. The community here -students, academics, staff, ashramites – are proud inheritors of that rich legacy which your founder has left you.
“Its illustrious alumni covering a diverse range of personalities, from Indira Gandhi and Satyajit Ray, have not only fulfilled its founder’s vision to a great extent, but also contributed in taking independent India to new heights,” Kovind said during his address to the students.
In an age where machine and wealth are considered benchmarks of progress, Visva-Bharati has emerged as a unique blend of tradition and modernity, the president observed.