`Overcome division through humanism'

COIMBATORE, OCT. 11. Humanism of the kind symbolised by Mahatma Gandhi will help the country overcome divisive tendencies, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Arjun Singh, said here today.

Inaugurating the Dr. Mahalingam Vigyan Bhavan at the Kumaraguru College of Technology, Mr. Singh said that India was being subjected to a "divisive campaign" that sought to besmirch the image of the Mahatma. "Our composite civilisation has no place for hatred and divisiveness," he said, and noted that educated people should oppose disruptive trends, because all the advantages provided by science and technology could be wiped out in the absence of humanism.

Even now, there were people who had desire to instigate people and divide them. At one time, distance prevented the spread of information, but science and technology had turned the world into a global village in which events in one place were immediately known in locations situated far away. He said that on a trip to Germany he had visited the gas chambers in which five million Jews had been gassed to death. Innocent intellectuals had been executed by firing squads. There were records that when one of the victims being led out to execution had asked why he had been condemned to death, one of the German officers had replied: "When you had the time, none of you could think and act correctly."

In a democracy, there were times when people had to think collectively, but if they missed the opportunity, a catastrophe would ensue. Millions of common people n India, who dwelt in hamlets and slums, had saved the country from falling into this kind of trap.

`Century of mind'

The Governor, P. S. Ramamohan Rao, who declared open the Mahatma Gandhi Central Library, said that the main purpose of education was "forethought, not afterthought." The 21st century would be the "century of the mind," in which the focus would be on those who could think well and act constructively.

The Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, E. V. K. S. Elangovan, inaugurated the Seminar Hall Complex.

The Chairman of the college, N. Mahalingam, and Principal, K. K. Padmanabhan, honoured the Correspondent, K. Arumugam, who had designed the building. Among those who participated were the Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education, R. Natarajan, and the Vice- Chairman, University Grants Commission, V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai. The Coimbatore MP, K. Subbarayan, offered felicitations.

The Chairman, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, B. K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, welcomed the gathering, and the Joint Correspondent, A. Selvakumar, proposed a vote of thanks.

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