On the afternoon of Sunday 14th July 2013 Shri Narendra Modi addressed students of Fergusson College. The Chief Minister inaugurated the College auditorium that was renovated and visited the room where Veer Savarkar stayed as a student. In an inspiring speech Shri Narendra Modi spoke about the importance of education, research and human resource development as key aspects of nation building. The Chief Minister expressed confidence that the youth of India is very talented to solve the problems of India and the world, only that they need the right opportunities.
Shri Modi pointed that what he is speaking to the students is the words of the more than 2500 youngsters on social media who responded enthusiastically to his request for sharing thoughts, views and ideas on various issues surrounding the nation. Shri Modi appealed to the youth on Facebook to post these thoughts, which he will refer to in his speech at Fergusson College. The response to Shri Modi’s posts was overwhelming. Youngsters from all over the nation shared their ideas with the Chief Minister. Shri Modi said that there is a perception that the youth of the nation is not concerned but this is not a correct perception- Infact the youth want to express themselves. He stated, “We are blessed to be the world’s most youthful nation. A nation with such a youth cannot have a dark future.”
The Chief Minister opined that an atmosphere of despondency has entered the nation but he does not endorse this. “India is a Bahu Ratna Vasundhara, why is it that despite 1200 years of slavery we are still standing? What made Lokmanya Tilak say ‘Swaraj is my birthright?” Shri Modi affirmed, adding that we need to rise above this pessimism. He spoke about India’s glorious education system and pointed that our Mantra should be ‘From Gurukul to Vishwakul.’ Shri Modi shared that for 1800 years we were leaders in education with Nalanda, Vallabhi and Taxila making a mark as centres of education but this changed later on. He added that there was a chance to change this mindset after Independence but unfortunately that did not happen. Shri Modi observed that from a man-making machine, education has now come to become a moneymaking machine, which is also unfortunate.
Shri Modi lauded the contribution of Saints such as Sree Narayana Guru for their efforts in achieving 100% literacy in education. He also stated that while he believes in modernization, he does not believe in modernization with westernization.
Shri Modi further pointed, “We have heard very often that 21st century is India’s century but our ears are tired of hearing this. See South Korea, it gained Independence at the same time as India but in such less time it became so prosperous. It hosted the Olympic games and it showed the world what it can do. And see our Commonwealth Games. We were ashamed in front of the whole world. That is when questions are asked.”
Talking about the need of human resource development, Shri Modi pointed, “We have to decide if we have to focus on university building or building the university. Buildings interest people because tenders are involved.” He gave the example of USA, where research done by students is used for nation buildings but we in India do not have correct data on who researched what, how it can be used and where the research can be kept. Giving Gujarat’s example Shri Modi pointed, “In Gujarat we thought why development of tribal communities did not happen despite such budgets being allocated. We got talent and research on this and the outcome was the Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana. We started with a package of Rs. 15,000 crore and this time the package stands at Rs. 40,000 crore.” Shri Modi said, “It is not that we do not have talent or research…we need to link this talent and research.” Speaking on the importance of research in nation building the Chief Minister avowed, “We need to give impetus to research and this research must not be to put certificates on the wall but so that it can be useful for the nation.” He went on to say that without qualitative research, stagnation will take place.
In his speech Shri Modi gave several examples on to showcase the importance of research and innovation be it using the youngsters of tribal communities to become tourist guides at the upcoming Statue of Unity, iCreate initiative or giving latest technology to our farmers. “Some are interested only in power whereas we are interested in EMPOWR. That is the difference,” declared the Chief Minister.
He also said that while most people seek good education for their children, for a good education system we need good teachers. “We were prosperous because of good teachers. When a businessmen goes aboard he or she earns dollars or pounds but when a teacher goes abroad the teacher inspires generations with our ethos and culture,” said Shri Modi. The Chief Minister also stressed on the importance of skill development.
On a personal note, Shri Modi shared that he considers himself extremely fortunate that he has got the opportunity to visit Fergusson College, which has been host to several greats including Mahatma Gandhi, Gurudev Tagore, Shri CV Raman, Lokmanya Tilak to name a few.
The students enthusiastically heard Shri Modi and gave him a loud round of applause after he concluded his speech. BJP leader Shri Shyam Jaju was present on the occasion.