Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister remarked that the 38th Convocation Ceremony of Bharathidasan University is extremely special as it is his first public interaction in the new year 2024. He expressed delight in being present in the beautiful state of Tamil Nadu and amongst youth. Prime Minister Modi expressed satisfaction in becoming the first Prime Minister to grace the convocation ceremony at Bharathidasan University as he extended hearty congratulations to the graduating students, their teachers and parents on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said that the creation of a university is usually a legislative process and gradually new colleges are affiliated and the university grows, however, Bharathidasan University was created differently as many existing illustrious colleges were brought together to create the University and provide a strong and mature foundation making the university impactful in many domains.
“Our nation and its civilization has always been centered around knowledge”, the Prime Minister said as he threw light on the ancient universities of Nalanda and Takshila. He also mentioned Kanchipuram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Madurai being home to great universities which were frequented by pupils from across the globe.
Speaking about the concept of convocation being ancient, the Prime Minister gave the example of Tamil Sangamam where poets and intellectuals presented poetry and literature for analysis which led to the recognition of the works by a larger society. This logic, the Prime Minister said, is used in academia and higher education even today. “Young students are a part of a great historical tradition of knowledge”, he added.
Throwing light on the role of Universities in giving direction to the nation, the Prime Minister recalled how the nation and civilization were vibrant due to the presence of vibrant universities. He also pointed out that the nation’s knowledge system was targeted when the country was under attack. Mentioning Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya and Sir Annamalai Chettiar, the Prime Minister underlined that they started universities in the early 20th century which became hubs of knowledge and nationalism during the freedom struggle. Similarly, the Prime Minister said that one of the factors behind India’s rise is the rise of its universities. He mentioned India setting records in economic growth, becoming the fifth fastest major growing economy and Indian Universities making a mark in global ranking in record numbers.
The Prime Minister asked the young scholars to think deeply about the purpose of education and how society looks at scholars. He quoted Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore about how education teaches us to live in harmony with all existence. He said that the entire society has played a role in bringing the students to this day and emphasized the importance of giving back to them, creating a better society and country. “In a way, every graduate here can contribute to creating a developed India by 2047.
The Prime Minister reiterated his confidence in the ability of young people to make the year till 2047 the most important years in the history of the nation. Referring to the University’s motto- ‘Let us Create a Brave New World’, the Prime Minister said Indian youth are already creating such a world. He listed the contribution of young Indians in creating vaccines during the pandemic, Chandrayaan and the increase in the number of patents from 4000 in 2014 to almost 50,000 now. He also pointed out that India’s humanities scholars are showcasing India’s story as never before. He also highlighted the achievements of sportspersons, musicians, artists. “You are entering the world when everyone is looking at you with new hope in every sector”, he added.
“Youth means energy. It means the ability to work with speed, skill and scale”, the Prime Minister remarked as he underlined that the government is working to match the students with the same speed and scale in the last few years. In the last ten years, the Prime Minister mentioned the doubling of airports in the country from 74 to nearly 150, doubling of the cargo handling capacity of all major ports, doubling of the speed and scale of construction of highways, and the number of startups growing to almost 1 lakh from less than 100 in 2014. He also spoke about India achieving a number of trade deals with important economies thereby opening up new markets for India’s goods and services, while creating countless opportunities for the youth. He said that India is being welcomed as a part of every global solution as he mentioned strengthening of institutions like G20, fighting climate change and playing a bigger role in global supply chain. “In many ways, due to local and global factors, this is the best time to be young in India”, Shri Modi said as he urged the students to make the most of this time and take the country to new heights.
Noting that the journey of the University is coming to an end today, the Prime Minister insisted that there is no end to the journey of learning. “Life will become your teacher now”, he said. He underlined that it is important to work proactively on unlearning, reskilling and upskilling in the spirit of constant learning. “In a rapidly changing world, either you drive the change or the change drives you”, Prime Minister Modi concluded.
Governor of Tamil Nadu and Chancellor of Bharathidasan University, Shri R N Ravi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri M K Stalin, Vice Chancellor, Dr M Selvam, and Pro-Chancellor, Shri R S Rajakannappan were present on the occasion.