Rajya Sabha MP and president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Karan Singh has urged the students to fulfil their social obligations too in addition to acquiring knowledge and developing their personalities.
Speaking at the University Day and Annual Sports Day organised by the VIT University at its campus here on Monday, Dr. Karan Singh said that the welfare of society had been neglected by the people. “There are millions of children who go to bed daily without a square meal. There are equally millions of people who shiver in cold and sweat in the heat. This would not have been the case had we taken proper care of them”, he said.
The ICCR president, who is also a former Union Minister, said that it was surprising that while one talked about fundamental rights, none talked of one’s fundamental duties. Apart from fundamental rights, the fundamental duties of the people are enshrined in section 4-A of the Constitution of India. “You cannot ask for your rights without fulfilling your duties, he said.
Dr. Singh said that India had been a trailblazer in spirituality. “We have to break out of the shackles of corruption and nepotism in order to rediscover the lost glory in spirituality, build the nation and pass on values to the next generation”, he said. He called upon the youth to build their physique through yoga, sports and exercise. At the same time, he warned them not to poison their bodies through drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Body is a temple, and it has to be cherished, he said.
Later, Dr. Singh presented the Chancellor’s Gold Medal to the Best Outgoing Student of the year 2012-13 to Megha A. Modi, final year B.Tech. Biotechnology student.
G. Viswanathan, VIT Chancellor, who presided, pleaded for an amendment to the Constitution of India and the Right To Education Act in order to guarantee the right to free education up to the age of 23 instead of 14 so that everyone would get the opportunity of higher education. At present, 70% of the students drop out before reaching the school final level. Of the remaining 30% who completed their schooling, only about 15% go in for higher education. The government should be able to ensure higher education to all within another five to 10 years, he said.
The VIT Chancellor said that the Universal Higher Education Trust which was started in Vellore district last year with the objective of mobilising money to fund the higher education expenses of the poor aims at ensuring that all those who pass the Plus Two in Vellore district would get admission in some higher educational institution.
“Through this trust, we want to achieve a gross enrolment ratio of at least 90%”, he said.
Babulal Gaur, Minister for Urban Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh, requested Mr. Viswanathan to start a VIT University campus in Bhopal.
Krishna Gaur, Mayor of Bhopal, said that India could become a superpower if the people maintained high quality in their work and also maintained high values.
V. Raju, Vice-Chancellor of VIT, said that over 23,000 students are studying in VIT. S. Narayanan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, VIT, Vellore introduced Dr. Karan Singh. VIT Vice-Presidents Sankar Viswanathan, Sekar Viswanathan and G.V. Selvam honoured the students of the various Schools in VIT. Hayat Ansari, Cultural Representative, Students’ Council, welcomed the gathering. Amaranatha Reddy, general secretary of the council, proposed a vote of thanks.