No room for intolerance, hatred at campuses: President
Mumbai, March 18: President of India Pranab Mukherjee has reiterated his strong views against intolerance and hatred at educational institutions in the country. He said these institutions should act as flag bearers for the co-existence of multiple views.
Addressing the special convocation of University of Mumbai on the occasion of conferment of Honorary D.Litt. on Dr M. S. Swaminathan here on Friday, President Mukherjee said: "We should embrace free conversation and even argument, leaving behind narrow mindsets and thoughts. The lesson for a modern Indian university is to ensure that this great tradition finds new life and vigour within its precincts. There should be no room for intolerance, prejudice and hatred within the spaces of our educational institutions. They must act as flag bearers for the co-existence of multiple views, thoughts and philosophies."
The President said debate and discussion have been part of Indian tradition and they cannot be done away with.
"Ancient India was known for the high level of philosophical debate and discussion it nurtured. India was not a mere geographical expression but it reflected an idea and a culture. Conversation and dialogue are part of our ethos and life. They cannot be done away with. Universities and higher education institutions are the best fora for free exchange of views," said President Mukherjee.
The President also stressed that educational institutions should develop social responsiveness in students.
"A good education system is one that can help develop social responsiveness in students. Ways should be devised to integrate student engagement with society in the academic framework. For instance, higher level students can be assigned to teach in government schools located nearby. Students can also be deployed to undertake community-based projects. They can identify problems and involve themselves in research to find solutions. Measures like these would mould students into confident and purposeful human beings who can, through their conviction and own example, inspire others. I call upon the faculty and students to internalise the values of selfless service and service before self, and instil them in everyone whose lives they touch," said the President.