Other States

Not new laws, but change in mindset needed to curb atrocities on women, says Venkaiah Naidu

Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu. File

Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

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“I always feel that more than Bills, what is needed is the political will coupled with the administrative skill to root out the social evil,” the Vice-President says.

More than the introduction of new laws, the pressing need of the hour was to collectively create a mindset that denounced and condemned atrocities against women, said Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday while remarking that a perceptible erosion of values had taken place in all walks of life, including politics, the legislature and the judiciary.

Without explicitly naming it, the Vice-President alluded to the recent horrific rape and murder of a young veterinarian in Hyderabad by remarking that what had “happened in the recent days in a certain part of the country” was “really shameful” and posed “a challenge” to youngsters to uphold Indian culture and tradition.

He further remarked that the programmes announced rolled out by the Centre — be they the Swachh Bharat mission, the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao project or the ‘Fit India’ movement — were not to be viewed from a political angle as they were not Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s programmes but programmes for strengthening the nation.

“As youngsters, you must take a vow to ensure that this sort of discrimination and atrocities must be stopped forthwith… We should not look at such incidents from a religious or regional angle or any political prism. The moment you look at these cases from a political prism, the cause is lost,” said Mr. Naidu, during his address here as chief guest at the 16th annual convocation of the city’s Symbiosis International (Deemed University).

Stating that bringing new laws was not a solution, he said that a reduction in atrocities against women was only possible with a change of mindset.

“I am not against introducing any new law or new Bill…We brought a Bill in the aftermath of Nirbhaya case [The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013], but what happened? Has it solved the problem [of women atrocities]? I always feel that more than Bills, what is needed is the political will coupled with the administrative skill to root out the social evil,” said the Vice-President, underscoring the need to go back to our Indian roots and our culture.

‘Avoid politics over atrocities’

“India is getting a bad name because of such incidents. But I don’t want to go into it as it would mean denigrating our country and we should not indulge in politics over such atrocities,” he further remarked, commenting on the urgent need to arrest the decline in values and to preserve, promote, propagate our culture and heritage.

Talking about the need to stop viewing the Centre’s projects from a political prism, the Vice-President said that the schemes were new ideas aimed at strengthening the nation.

“Take the Prime Minister’s stress on yoga for instance…Yoga is an ancient science and art and has nothing to do with religion or politics, but brings with it fitness and unity of mind and body. It should not be seen from a political angle just because Mr. Modi has urged it and some many belong to his political party [the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)]… Yoga is for your body, not for Modi,” Mr. Naidu quipped, remarking that countries all over the world, including as small as Costa Rica, were now actively following and promoting yoga.

Remarking that India was once known as ‘Vishwaguru’ with ancient universities such as Nalanda and Taxila dispensing scholarly advice to students from the globe, the Vice-President rued that not a single Indian varsity could make it to the list of top 300 universities in this year’s Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

“We need to think over the factors responsible for this and need to strategise how Indian universities can rank among the top 100, and then in the top 50 in the world,” Mr. Naidu said, while stating that education ought to teach a way of life and that it was an instrument for empowerment and not for mere employment.

Lauding the efforts of the Symbiosis group of institutes in the field of education, he said: “I am happy that this institute is housing students from around 85 countries. This is indicative of going back to our heritage and culture and to the times when India was pre-eminent in the world in the field of education. To ‘share and care’ is the core of Indian philosophy and we must preserve this culture.”

Mr. Naidu said that in order to make the teaching profession more attractive, the faculty should be encouraged to undertake consultancy projects and be provided financial support for start-ups.

“At the same time, we have to ensure accountability and performance of teachers. In many foreign universities the performance of college faculty is evaluated by their peers and students. We should consider setting up similar mechanism for the performance audit of professors. This may complement the existing system generally based on the number of research papers or publications by the teachers,” he observed.

Urging students to go back to our ancient Indian culture and heritage, Mr. Naidu said that the fetters of a colonial mindset had ensured that our country’s history was not properly written as we had followed the education system laid down by Macaulay [Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay].

Mr. Naidu shared the stage with Maharashtra Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Chhagan Bhujbal and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on the occasion.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:23:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/not-new-laws-but-change-in-mindset-needed-to-curb-atrocities-on-women-says-venkaiah/article30237145.ece

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