Vice President's Secretariat

Text of the Vice-President’s Address at the 25th Convocation of IIT Guwahati, Assam (Excerpts)

Posted On: 04 JUL 2023 5:17PM by PIB Delhi

Friends, it is an absolute delight for me. I will ever cherish this moment. I can tell you that I am energized, inspired and motivated, and I am sure that we are in Amrit kaal and would not be there when India reach centenary of its independence in 2047. But I have in this room Warriors of Bharat@2047 and I am extremely optimistic that from Amrit Kaal to 2047, Bharat will be at the peak of the world.

IIT Guwahati, the first IIT in the North East - has been continually on growth trajectory in its three decades journey. It has earned laurels and recognition nationally and globally.

I have interacted on the dice with the Chairman, Board of Governors, Shri Rajiv Modi and the Director, and have their consent to announce that Indian Council of World Affairs will have an MoU with IIT Guwahati and that MoU will give you a window to the world of different nature. This MoU will be fructified in the next one month at Guwahati with the visit of Director, Indian Council of World Affairs.

I am extremely delighted to be in the land of Assam, the land of majestic and mighty Brahmaputra. The Asthlaxmis of the North East are blessed with this wholesome and sublime confluence of nature and culture.

I had the opportunity to know more of this region when I was the Governor of the State of West Bengal and was Chairman of Eastern Zone Cultural Centre.

Blessed by Maa Kamakhya and the saintly spirituality of Srimanta Sankardeva, Assam is known for the rich history of great Ahom rulers and their legendary Lachit Borphukan. Let me remind you with great pride when we look back into our historical perspective, the battle of Saraighat in 1671 and the mughals were trounced.

The vision of the Prime Minister Shri Narender Modi in initiating the ‘Look East - Act East’ policy is bearing rich dividends. IIT Guwahati is an epicentre because those who get out of this university as graduates are impacting life nationally and globally.

The North East recently and because of the visionary initiative of Hon’ble Prime Minister has been given its rightful place in the national and historical narrative.

Friends, Convocation is indeed a momentous occasion, it is a reward of your painstaking work. It is at this juncture you come to love your teachers who had been very harsh. It is at this juncture you learn the sacrifice of your parents and this is something has resulted in this day which you will ever remember in your life. Congratulations to all the degree holders for well earned and well deserved recognition. Wherever you will go in the world the tag “IIT Guwahati” will make a difference as in the world now the Indian passport is making impactful difference. The recent visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister to United States, the impactful results it had, I’m sure we never dreamt of it. Artificial Intelligence has become America-India, both are equally impactful.

My young friends, the nation has great expectation from you and rightly so because you will take, mark, and control in upsurge of Bharat at 2047.India’s phenomenal unprecedented growth and rise is a defining moment not only for the nation but for the entire world.

India at the moment is the Chairman of G-20. You would have seen activities all over the country, including your Institute. And the message that we are giving to the world that is the essence of our civilisational ethos ‘One earth, one family’.

Beyond doubt technology will ensure surge towards Bharat being at top in 2047. Contemporaneous global and national scenario indicates that this century will witness emergence of Bharat as a global economic leader.

Series of affirmative steps at State and Central level has been taken and they have ensured exponential growth of this country, in a manner in which we could have never imagined. And I say so because; I got in Parliament for the first time more than 30 years ago in 1989. I know the scenario then and I know the situation now.

India today is a global destination of investment and opportunity. I had an occasion to meet IMF President twice, she calls India a “bright star in the economic world”. The rise is reflected in the country becoming the 5th largest global economy in 2022. In the process we surpassed our erstwhile colonial rulers. Just a decade ago, it was the 10th largest economy. And I have no doubt and those who know, economists are sure about it that India will be the 3rd largest economy by the turn of the decade. The rise of India is unstoppable.

There has been transformational and impactful adoption of technology by India in recent years. We could never imagine in a country of more than 1.3 billion people, how swiftly they have adopted technology.

In 2022, $1.5 Trillion transactions were digital, India accounted to for more than 46% of that. If I put it to you, Digital Transaction in 2022, after combined digital transactions of the US, UK, Germany and France, multiply it by four, we are still ahead of them. Could you ever imagine? And mind you digital transformation is not just technology alone, the Human resource have to accept it. This has happened in village with farmers, with workers and that’s an achievement, an accomplishment. The world is looking at us. Let me tell you something which I shared with the world leaders, that India is the only country in this world that has made available to its citizens Co-Vaxine certification digitally. It could not even happen in the west. That is where we are at the moment.

Friends, when it comes to internet users, we have more than 700 million but Per capita mobile data consumption, ours is more than that of United States and China taken together. And this is something which we all should be proud.

I urge you friends, on this occasion because you will be taking leap into the larger world, henceforth, those who are getting degrees today will be alumni of this prestigious institution. I’m sure they will bear in mind the sage advice imparted a while ago by Hon’ble Governor of Assam.

Remember what Swami Vivekanand said at one point of time. And friends always remember it because one of the greatest problems young minds face is fear and that fear is the fear of failure and they take failure as stigmatic. When an idea occurs to them they allow the idea to be parked in their mind, but do not execute it. Mind is not a place where a brilliant idea needs to be parked merely because you think there can be failure. Give up that fear. Therefore, I recollect what Swami Vivekanand said, "Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead. If you lose, you can guide."

Affirmative governance policies allow you to unleash your potential and energy and achieve your aspirations and dreams. Your institute along with others is creating incubating centres; there are innovation parks for budding entrepreneurs. I can tell you friends it is an idea which in your mind and you are capable of creating. Execution can take place even by mediocrity. So please take lead.

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the country got it after three decades. And before the NEP could be crystallised, lakhs of inputs were analysed. The policy turned out to be a game changer. This has turned out to be revolutionary. This has become a conveyance of transformative mechanism to change the world, including India.

Skill has been given prominence. Certain things that were dragging us have been given up. Technology has been introduced. And now the day in not far when India took pride that we had institutions in the past like Takshila and Nalanda. Our Institute like IIT Guwahati and others is matter of time, will rise to that level.

Friends, let me share something in which I suffered. I was throughout a topper of my class. I was in great fear that what will happen if I don’t come at number one. I lived with that fear, stress and tension. It was too late in the day when I learned कुछ ज़्यादा नहीं होता, दोस्तों से कुछ ज़्यादा बात कर लेता, कुछ खेल लेता.. so never have tension, stress and competitiveness to beat others. Excel yourself with yourself and that I’m sure will give you rich dividends.

You are lucky to be in Amritkaal, to be in a time particularly after 2014, because before 2014, the country had coalition governance for three decades. I was a Union Minister from 1989-91, in a government that was a combination of more than 20 parties, and I was a junior minister for Parliamentary Affairs. In 2014, after a long gap of three decades the country had one party majority, which was reemphasized in 2019. That is why we could get rid of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution changing the life of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. This historic justice, why did it take seven decades? Article 370 was labelled in our constitution as a temporary article, I don't think a temporary thing should last that long.

Friends, there is another thing on which I need to invite your attention. Our constitution was given to us by very wise and sagacious people, Dr. B R. Ambedkar was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee and they had included a very important part in the constitution with respect to Directive Principles of State Policy. They were certain that these principles are fundamental in governance of the country. So the Directive Principles have been termed by the framers and founding fathers of our constitution as 'fundamental in governance of the country'. It is the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws.

Friends, this has happened over the years Panchayat was a Directive Principle, constitution was amended and a structured mechanism for Panchayats evolved. Cooperative was another; we have seen them turning into constitutional status. Right to education was another, we have made laws. In that premise, I am somewhat stunned by the reaction of people, when there is a thought afloat, that something should be done with respect to directive principle under Article 44 and that is "The state shall endeavour to secure for citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India".

Now, I can tell after 30 years, I am sure that the situation must have come, any further delay in implementation of Uniform Civil Code will be corrosive of our values. The underlying sublimity has to be appreciated and understood. This will bind Bharat, it's nationalism more effectively this was the thought process of founding fathers of the constitution. Friends, just reflect and think about it, there can be no premise or rationale to impede or delay the implementation of Directive Principles when we are in Amrit kaal.

I need to share some concerns with you because our rise is phenomenal, unprecedented and it's being recognised globally. India's impact in the world is being felt as never before. It is a time when the world expects India to say something. India does not have to exert itself to make its voice clear and known to the world, they await it. Therefore, I am sure my young friends would particularly agree, it is a prime duty to take pride in being Indians and be ever proud of its historical achievements.

Let me caution you friends, political stakeholding cannot be at the cost of nation or nationalism, there must free run for politicians, there must be politics the way they wish to have but with the common denominator; it has to be within the realm of respect for our nation and nationalism.

Friends, you will be walking into a larger world and will be contributing in the economic field one thing which is not being seriously considered, I would appeal to the Chairman, Board of Governors also, to get in touch with his industrial fraternity i.e Economic Nationalism. I urge you all to ensure commitment to economic nationalism, let it not be compromised for fiscal gains. कैसा लगता है, पतंग विदेश से आएगी? दिवाली के दिये विदेश से आएंगे? furniture विदेश से आएगा? And our foreign exchange will be drained. I have named only a few items, I do believe in the Global Trade mechanism, but that should not come in the way of our economy being bled. That is the duty of every man in industry and business to ensure fiscal gains, out of research or requirement is not an issue, but we must ensure fiscal gains should not be a guiding factor. I am sure you will be well situated, you will be the ambassadors of this thought, you will be able to create an ecosystem where our economic nationalism spirit will flourish and will be enhanced.

Friends no foreign entity can be allowed to tweak with our sovereignty and reputation. After all, Bharat is home to 1/6th of humanity; our human resource is impacting global institutions and trotting every part of the globe. We cannot be on the back foot when it comes to our sovereignty and reputation. We cannot suffer taint on our flourishing and blossoming democracy and constitutional institutions.

Tell me friends in which part of the globe you have a democracy flourishing at the village level, at the panchayat level, at the zila parishad level, at state level, at national level and in the field of cooperatives and all constitutionally secured and ensured? There is no country in the world where the transmission of power is so smooth, seamless and respectful. We are, and we must be ever cognizant of it, we are the oldest, the largest, most vibrant and functional democracy and that is giving stability to global peace and harmony.

Friends, you have access to all information. It is a matter of concern that with periodic frequency and in strategic mode there is orchestration of anti- national narratives and objective is to tarnish and taint our image. It is high time choreographers of anti Bharat narrative orchestration are effectively rebuffed. This can be done only by the young trained minds that carry the tag of being alumni of a prestigious institution like yours. It is ironical and a travesty of nature, and it pains me that some of us, call prey to the sinister design that has to be anti-doted.

Friends, another aspect which is changing our lives is transparency and accountability in governance. Now, there is zero tolerance for corruption, I am sure everyone here will agree, none is above the law. The long arm of law is reaching everyone. Those who thought that the law could never touch them are suffering the heat of law and this is happening at this moment because there is policy of zero for corruption.

Corruption is anti-democratic, it is poor governance, which runs down our growth but another scene is appearing, if someone is holding up for corruption, we have a robust judicial system we must access the system, but people take to streets. People who have held the positions of power, people who have held constitutional positions, take to streets rather than taking recourse to lawful process. I would therefore urge you that, at a time stakeholders in corruption, beneficiaries in corruption are marshalling all the forces, to find cover and escape route. It is the narrative set afloat by young minds like you to neutralize it. A corruption free society is the safest guarantee to your growth trajectory. I would therefore urge every person present here, particularly my young friends, boys and girls, you have the capacity to discern, and you have the capacity to find out what is right and wrong, but please don't observe silence. Your silence can be too costly for the nation.

Decades ago in the United States, a survey was conducted, and it was indicated, that if the silent majority decides to remain silent, it will be silence forever. So, I beseech young minds to be discerning and take your own call but then don't keep that idea to yourself, exert it that will help us evolve a system for the benefit of the nation.

My dear young friends, you must have an appetite for Assamese food, but also have an appetite for other point of view. These days we have become very intolerant, we don't want to consider others point of view, that is not good for humanity. Experience has shown that more often than not, the other point of views the right point of view. So for the drop of a hat, don't reject the others point of view. Who can feel more pain of it, than the Chairman, Rajya Sabha? A post which I hold, Parliament, a temple of democracy is a place for deliberation, dialogue and discussion which means to understand and appreciate what the other person has to say. You may agree or disagree, ऐसी परिस्थिति के अंदर मेरी वेदना व्यक्त करते हुए मैं आपसे कहूंगा असहमति को विरोध में प्रवर्तित करना जनतंत्र के लिय अभिशाप से कम नहीं है। भारतीय संस्कृति और सभ्यता की मूल भावना से मेल नहीं खाती यह बात। संवाद की डोर मनवाता और प्रजातंत्र के जीवन डोर है। इसमें खिंचाव और गाँठ जन कल्याण के लिय हितकारी नहीं हो सकते। एक छत के नीचे विरोध और असहमति स्वाभाविक है।

There are bound to be different points of view which may even not be reconciled, इसका निदान विचार विमर्श है। यही हमारी हज़ारों साल की संस्कृति का अमृत यही है, कि बातचीत से हम मामलों का हल निकालेंगे। The world is facing a great war at the moment, and the Statesman kind of stance taken by the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, “War is no solution to a problem”, has been appreciated globally.

Friends, I would like to make references to two other quotes by Dr B.R. Ambedkar a visionary and a genius who drafted our constitution, I am sure everyone particularly my young friends who are warriors Bharat@2047 will bear in mind, “You should be Indian first, Indian last and nothing else but Indians”. This thought we should always keep in mind, the moment we do it, I am sure our country's rise will be further accelerated.

Our constituent assembly did a good job for 3 years, but I would like to make reflections on what Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said on the very last day, the relavent concluding observations on 25th November 1949:

“It is not that India was never an independent country. The point is that she once lost the independence she had. Will she lose it a second time? What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of her own people. Will history repeat itself? ..." Friends, what he said on 25th November 1949, reflecting on infidelity and treachery of some of our own people, we are seeing it before our eyes. There are Institutions globally where Indian industry makes investment and the Chairman, Board of Governors will take note of it, millions of dollars are given to those outside institutions but our students and faculty members in those institutions abroad happen to be the only one criticizing their own country. I would urge the Chairman, Board of Governors, to see that our institutions like IIT Guwahati must get contributions from industry, they must be the main source for funding from the CSR, I am sure he will take it forward.

Young friends when you walk out with your degrees, you will be envy of the world, there can be no failure by you, you will be contributing massively. Keep one thing in mind, respect for your teachers, regard for your parents and a resolve that you will give back to the society. I have been advocating an idea for a long time, Alumni is a strength of an institution, There must be a federation of Alumni associations, that will be a richest think tank for the development of the nation.

आप सभी को शुभकामनाएं, आपका भविष्य मंगलमय हो, अच्छा हो। Be happy without tension, stress and fear of failure. जो भी idea आए , execute करने की कोशिश करो, क्या पहली बार आदमी चांद पर गया और successful हुआ? नहीं हुआ, वह successful हुआ, जब 20 जुलाई 1969, Neil Armstrong ने चांद पर लैंड किया, उसके पहले भी प्रयास हुए थे, आज ISRO मे जो प्रगति हो रही है, ऐसी परिस्थिति में यह कहूंगा, think out of the box, take a leap, be innovative, जो ख्याति हमने प्राप्त की है दुनिया में unicorns and start-ups के अंदर, that is envy of the world.

मुझे यहां आने का जो अफसर मिला, मैं उसे अपना परम भाग्य मानता हूं, यह दिन मुझे सदैव याद रहेगा।

Today, I carry in my heart a connect with all of you, that I will take to my maker only.

Thank you so much!



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