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Shri Narendra Modi’s Inspiring Words at Veer Narmad University, Surat

26th February, 2012


Friends, the amount of importance we attach for ‘Diksha’ (initiation)is more than that for ‘Shiksha’ (education) and unless and until an educated person gets initiated, the education is considered incomplete. Earliest mention of convocations date back to the ‘Taittiriya Upanishad’. But by tradition, as per the norms of Gurukul education, once the student completes his studies then the mentors would evaluate him through various tests and while passing through that, whatever they have learnt in their daily routine was assessed and even the students were not made aware about their assessment! The student was observed very minutely and thereafter would become a degree holder and eligible to go in other ‘Ashrams’ in their life.

Friends, student life is the best phase of one’s life. On one side we are pleased that after being a degree holder, we will be going back to our society, but at the same time it’s the beginning of a big responsibility. As a student, you could introduce yourself to your friends or in society that you are studying in final year and so no further details are asked. You are studying, that’s all! But the moment you say that you are a graduate, immediately the next question arises that then what are you doing now? What will you be doing? What have you thought? This goes on about job and regarding girl also and if she’s a girl, the same starts regarding the boy. It’s natural. While studying there are no tensions, no questions. And to avoid that what do many people do? Till nothing else is settled, they take admission in CA, so if asked, they can say that I am doing CA, which is itself an unending process! Friends, when we are students, there are many people to guide us. We have a sort of protected life. In the family, our family members get worried for us, elder members related to family are concerned for us, in educational institutions many times even the support staff guides us saying no-no, this should not be done… Friends, you must have experienced this and we too feel that even XYZ understands this but we don’t! Teachers would also guide for what to do and what not. And because of this we remain relaxed. Wherever any mistake occurs, there is someone to stop and guide us and this brings us courage to freely take a step. But the moment we come out of this situation than at every moment, we have to take our own decision. If we see around, we don’t find any teacher standing nearby, the attitude of the society towards us gets changed and a kind of analytical phase gets initiated. All those who are getting degrees today, are entering in the analytical phase of life. And when assessment begins, every moment, right from their childhood till date, wherever they studied, from whichever teacher they achieved knowledge; the entire story is recollected in some or other manner in the mind. If we decide to do something, we remember that yes, our teacher had told us about this in the class! If we go somewhere for an interview and some questions are asked, immediately a thought comes in our mind that one of my teachers had told us something about this, but now I don’t remember it. Friends, at every step you will keep on remembering your previous days and in this context- it is true that the beginning of the life is always tough. One has to pass through various challenges in the life in some or the other manner.

I wish that since we are students of a University whose name is associated with Veer Narmad, so whether we can do something or not but Friends, let us imbibe one sentence of Narmad in our lives, ‘Never step back, once taken. Friends, confused people in the social life can neither gain anything nor are able to give anything to the society. Only decisive people are able to achieve the determined goal. Indecisive people waste most of their time trapped in the same entanglement. You must have seen many people at a bus station, if there are four buses standing, they are unable to decide which bus they should board and ultimately they board the last one after three buses have left-they simply cannot decide. And we experience this in our day-to-day lives. Many people, when they are sick and need to be operated are unable to decide whether to get operated or not, from A doctor or B doctor. In the meantime, their disease gets so severe that it even goes out of doctor’s control. Reason? This is nothing but indecisiveness. Friends, a confused life should not have any relation with a youth. I am young, it means that I am resolute and if I am not resolute, surely I am not young. If I am very fearful, very insecure, I am afraid to take any further step for I may slip down somewhere…It means I have lost the youthfulness of my mind and therefore, to be decisive, to have a confusion free life is the very first condition of being young. Friends, decisive people are courageous also. In fact, a confused person is deficient in courage. He is fearful that what if anything goes wrong? What if anyone says something? May be if this happens then? Friends, children are never confused because they have no fear. Those who have fear are confused and so the courage in life, fearlessness in the mind is inevitable for the progress of life. Till there is a mental condition of courage, if fear doesn’t touch me in any circumstances, I don’t see anything dark and brightness appears to me at each and every moment, and only a person who thinks like this can decide the path of his life. One need not wait to see the light till the Sun rises. Friends, efficient people are able to find their path even in the light of a star. The life is not meant to wait for the golden moments. Friends, in the darkness of our life, we can have brightness by the light of a star and Friends, it is seen that even if it’s dark and cloudy, a tribal man makes path of his life in the light of glow-worms. If a single glow-wormcan show the path of life, then I am a man leading prosperous life, why should there be any hindrance in my life? If this is the power of determination then we can change our life.

Friends, many times while working in life, you may feel that I could become graduate because my father paid the fees, today I am achieving the degree because of him, but it’s not so my friends. I studied till late night and therefore now I am a degree-holder, It’s not so. During exams I skipped to watch the best movie and so I have passed, it’s like that? It’s not like that. Many people have given their contribution in some or the other way in molding my life. It must have happened that I might have got bored in the college and so went out of the campus and got a cup of tea from tiny kettle from someone sitting under the shade of a tree and got refreshed and returned back to the class-room. Today, while getting your degree, you must remember every single man and woman who has made a difference in your life. Friends, it is possible that you may missed your bus and got late for exam and you must have requested the bus driver to drive fast so as to reach at exam time and on your request he might have speeded by taking risk and managed to drop you in time. Friends, today be thankful to him and remember him also. Friends, some peon must have worn-out his whole life to clean the chair or the bench on which you sat and studied, just remember that peon also. Friends, there is contribution of so many people, whatever I am able to achieve in life is the result of the efforts of so many people. It means that there is an obligation of the entire society on me. The time begins to return back those obligations after achieving my degree. I will try to return those obligations at each and every moment. I will never forget the obligations or debts of society that I have in my life, I will obey and fulfill my duties. And if this is the attitude in your life then only we can realize the sense of contentment.

Friends, as you are departing after your convocation ceremony, I want to say that if you no longer remain a student, then you are not going towards the life, but towards death. I am speaking this with great responsibility. Friends, after your departure from here, if you think that your student life is over, it means your lifespan is over and you are near to death. Friends, a student should live within you throughout the life. A student should remain alive within you till the end of the life. There cannot be any youngster whose life comes to a standstill. There has to be a continuous flow of development and for that it is necessary to remain student at every moment of life. I should be eager to learn at every moment. My tendency should be to acquire knowledge at every moment. It should become the root element of life, it needs to be formed in our DNA. Mentality of being a student should be a part of our DNA and only then there are chances of progress in life.

Ladies & Gentlemen, this is a year of 150thBirth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda ji. And as we are celebrating this 150thBirth Anniversary, the Gujarat Government has decided to celebrate it as a ‘Year of Youth Power’. And this will not be restricted to just conducting essay competitions or elocution competitions. A focus is formed on enhancement of talent and skill! Friends, skill is equally important to knowledge in life and in the absence of the skill, many times the puddle of education remains useless and gets wasted. As I have mentioned about an incident many times, today I wish to mention it again. It relates to Dada Dharmadhikari, who was Vinobaji companion and a follower of Gandhiji’s ideology. His many books are worth to be read. Dada Dharmadhikari has written that a youth came to meet him once and said that “Dada, do something for my job…” so Dada asked him, “Brother, what do you know?” so that youth answered, “I am a graduate”. He said, “It is okay, but what do you know?” He again replied, “I am a graduate”, then he showed some certificates from his bag, so he said “It is fine that you are a graduate, but what do you know”, he again replied “Sir, I am a graduate” Dada said, “Brother, that all is okay, but you tell me whether you know driving?” He said, “No”, “Do you know typing?” he said, “No”, “Can you cook? Can you swim..?”, ”No, but I am a graduate, I have certificate..!”. Friends, skill is also important in life along with the degree and by keeping this point in mind, on the occasion of 150thBirth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda ji, a huge campaign will be initiated in the whole State for the enhancement of skills. Each and every person is acquainted with some or the other extra talent and skill, he has the capacity to be self-reliant. Friends, India is a fortunate country and we all are living in such an era when India is the youngest country in entire world. 65% people in this country are less than 35 years of age. The country that has such a huge youth power, how young her dreams could be, how bright her dreams could be..! Along with such young dreams, young bright dreams, this Bharat Mata may become Universal Mentor and for the fulfillment of this dream of Swami Vivekananda, epoch has arrived. And if such feelings are inculcated in the minds of the youth, such a huge nation with a population of 120 crore, having 65 % youth… Friends, with their talents, with their skills, with their aptitude, with their knowledge, with their intelligence, it can has ability to become world leader. It was a dream of Vivekananda ji that “I can see in front of my eyes, I can see the destiny that our Bharat Mata will be placed at the position of Universal Mentor, I can see this..!”. Friends, the dream of Vivekananda ji, 150 years have passed, it is our responsibility to fulfill it. As a youth if we take a resolution than soon we can place Bharat Mata at the position of Universal Leader.

Friends, the way education has been evoked in Gujarat, it is now yielding the desired success. ‘Kanya Kelavani’ campaign is initiated, ‘Praveshotsav’ has also been stirred up. When I had taken up the responsibility, 7-8 years ago, that time people were unaware about all such activities. Friends, today the situation is such that so many people are moving towards higher education. Deprived, oppressed, tribal people are gaining higher education in large numbers. And for this purpose, a substantial amount of Rs. 100 crores is allocated to build hostels for the students coming from remote areas and has come forward by acquiring education. In the Budget of Gujarat, such a huge amount of Rs. 100 crores has been allocated to build hostels, so that the people living in the interior areas can get acquainted with education with lodging & boarding facilities, such a big mission has been taken up. Friends, the way Gujarat is developing, accordingly we have concentrated on developing the manpower also. In the year 2001, when the citizens of Gujarat entrusted this responsibility upon me, there were only 11 universities in the State. Ladies & Gentlemen, today there are 41 universities. There are more universities compared to the number of collages in the last century and the universities are on a par with the world-class universities and we are going ahead in that direction. 

All those young friends who are approaching towards a new path of life, I heartily congratulate them and my best wishes to all of them.



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Present with me in this programme, Gujarat Governor Acharya Shri Dev Vrat ji, the country’s Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank ji, Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani ji, Education Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Singh ji, Chairman of UGC Prof. D.P.Singh ji, Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ami Upadhyay ji, Association of Indian Universities President Prof. Taj Pratap ji, all dignitaries and friends.

Today when the country is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence, the occasion of Babasaheb Ambedkar ji's birth anniversary also connects us with that great yagna and also with the inspiration of the future. On behalf of the grateful nation and all the countrymen, I pay my respectful homage to Babasaheb.


During the freedom struggle, millions and millions of our freedom fighters dreamt of a harmonious and inclusive India. Babasaheb made the beginning in realizing those dreams in the form of the Constitution to the country. Today India is creating a new future and achieving new dimensions of success by following the same Constitution.


Today, the 95th meeting of the Vice Chancellors of Association of Indian Universities is taking place on this auspicious day. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University has announced the establishment of 'Babasaheb Samarasta Chair'. The four books written by Shri Kishore Makwana ji have also been released on Babasaheb's life, his thoughts and ideals. I congratulate all the dignitaries involved in these efforts.


India has been the mother of democracy in the world. Democracy has been an integral part of our civilization and our way of life. Babasaheb laid a strong foundation to independent India so the nation could move forward while strengthening its democratic heritage. When we read and understand Babasaheb, we realize that he was a person of universal vision.

There is a clear vision of Babasaheb's philosophy in Shri Kishore Makwana ji's books. While one of his books introduces Babasaheb’s “Jeevan Darshan” (philosophy of life), the other focuses on “Vyakti Darshan” (individual philosophy). Similarly, the third book highlights Babasaheb's “Rashtra Darshan” (national philosophy), whereas the fourth book “Aayam Darshan” will introduce his philosophy of dimension to the countrymen.  These four philosophies are no less than modern scriptures in themselves.

I would like our new generation in colleges and universities to read more and more of such books. All these dimensions, whether it is the inclusive society, the concern for the rights of the Dalit-deprived society, the question of upliftment and contribution of women, or Babasaheb's vision on education and especially on higher education, will offer an opportunity to the youth of the country to understand Babasaheb.


Doctor Ambedkar would say:

"My three revered deities are -- Knowledge, self-respect and politeness.” Self-respect comes with knowledge and makes a person aware of his or her rights. Through equal rights, social harmony emerges and the country progresses.

We are all familiar with Babasaheb's struggles of life. The position that Babasaheb reached after so many struggles is a great inspiration for all of us. Our education system and universities have this responsibility to carry the country forward on the path shown by Babasaheb Ambedkar. And when it is the issue of common goals and shared efforts as a nation, collective efforts become the means of accomplishment.

Therefore, I think the role of Association of Indian Universities becomes very important. AIU also has the legacy of scholars like Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan ji, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Smt. Hansa Mehta and Dr. Zakir Hussain.

Dr. Radhakrishnan ji would say: “The end-product of education should be a free creative man, who can battle against historical circumstances and adversities of nature”.

It implies that education should be such which should liberate the person, so that he can think openly, and make something new with a new thinking. He believed that we should develop our education management as a unit of the entire world. But at the same time, he emphasized the Indian character of education. This becomes even more important in the global scenario today.

Here special issues were released on the new 'National Education Policy' and plan for its implementation. These issues are detailed documents how National Education Policy is a futuristic policy, a policy of global parameters. You all scholars are familiar with the nuances of the National Education Policy. The purpose of education that Dr. Radhakrishnan ji spoke about is reflected in the core of this policy.

I am told that this time the theme of the seminar is - 'Implementing National Educational Policy-2020 to Transforming Higher Education in India'. All of you deserve congratulations for this.

I have been constantly discussing NEP with experts. National Education Policy is as practical as its implementation.


You have dedicated your entire life to education. You all know very well that every student has his own capability and capacity. Based on these capabilities, students and teachers also have three questions.

First: What can they do?

Second: What is their potential if they are properly taught?

And, third, what they want to do?

What a student can do is his inner strength. But if we add institutional strength to his inner strength, his development becomes expansive. With this combination, our youth can do what they want to do. Therefore, the country’s special emphasis is on skill development. As the country is moving ahead with the mission of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat, the role and demand of skilled youths is also increasing.


In view of the strength of skills, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had placed greater emphasis on the collaboration of educational institutions and industries decades ago. Today, the country has immense opportunities, and there are new industries of modern times. India is being looked upon as a future centre of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D printing, Virtual Reality, Robotics, mobile technology, geo-informatics, smart healthcare and defence sector. The country is taking huge steps to meet these requirements.

Indian Institutes of Skills are being set up in three big metropolitans of the country. The first batch of the Indian Institute of Skills has already started in Mumbai a few months ago in December. The Future Skills Initiative was launched with NASSCOM in 2018. This initiative offers training in more than 150 skill sets in 10 emerging technologies.


The new National Policy on Education also provides for NETF which emphasizes the maximum use of technology in education. We want all universities to be multi-disciplinary. We want to give flexibility to students so that they can complete courses anywhere easily through the easy entry-exit and Academic Bank of Credit. Every university in the country will have to work together to achieve all these goals. All the Vice Chancellors have to pay special attention to this.

A huge skill pool will be created in our universities for the new possibilities that we can create in the country. All of you are requested to work in this direction more expeditiously and the work should be completed within a stipulated time.


The country is rapidly transforming the lives of the poor, Dalits, the victims, the exploited and the deprived following the footsteps of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Babasaheb talked about equal opportunities and equal rights. Today, schemes like Jan Dhan accounts are leading to financial inclusion of every person and through DBT money is reaching directly to their accounts.  The BHIM UPI that was launched for the digital economy has become a great strength for the poor today. Today, every poor person is getting a house and free electricity connection. Similarly, work is in the progress to provide clean water to villages under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

When there was a corona crisis, the country stood up for the poor and the labourers. There is no discrimination among the poor and the rich in the world's largest vaccination program. This is the path shown by Babasaheb and these are his ideals.


Babasaheb always emphasized on women empowerment and made many efforts in this direction. It is with this vision that the country is giving new opportunities to its daughters today. From toilets at home and schools to combat roles in the army, women are at the centre of every policy of the country today.

Similarly, the country is working to spread Babasaheb's message to the people. The places associated with Babasaheb are being developed as Panch Teerth.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to dedicate the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre. Today, this Centre is emerging as a centre of research on social and economic issues and on Babasaheb's life.


Today, we are close to 75 years of independence, and we have goals for the next 25 years. The country’s future, the future goals and successes of the country are linked to our youth. It is our youth who will fulfill these resolutions. We have to give opportunities to the youth of the country to the best of their ability.

I am confident that our collective resolve and conscious efforts of the education world will realise this dream of a New India.

Our efforts and the hard work will be our tribute to Babasaheb.

With these good wishes, I once again thank you all very much. I wish you all the very best on Navratri. I also extend my special greetings on the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Many thanks.