The President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu graced and addressed the convocation ceremony of Visva-Bharati at Santiniketan today (March 28, 2023).
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Gurudeb Rabindranath Tagore left the comfort of the most important city of the Eastern hemisphere in the early 20th century and came to Santiniketan which was a remote area those days. There is a message for everyone, especially the young students, in this. Pioneers like Gurudeb choose difficulties over comfort to achieve larger objectives. The young students of Visva-Bharati have to focus on this learning from Gurudeb’s life that one has to come out of one’s comfort zone to be able to make a difference.
The President said that Gurudeb’s belief that nature is the best teacher is reflected in the way this institution has been designed. He wanted to liberate the process of education from the confines of conventional systems borrowed from the West. He was against the rigid structures and methods in which students were passive receivers and not active partners in learning. Through Visva-Bharati, he has given us the gift of a learning system which is close to nature, which blends spirituality and modern science, ethics and excellence, tradition and modernity. For Gurudeb, learning was boundaryless and boundless.
The President said that Gurudeb wanted education to promote creativity and individuality and not produce stereotypes and careerists. She was happy to note that Visva-Bharati has adhered to Gurudeb’s philosophy of education and produced many celebrated artists and creative individuals.
The President said that Gurudeb took pride in the Indian knowledge tradition. In our tradition, it is said – ‘Only that learning is meaningful which liberates’. She said that liberation from ignorance, narrow-mindedness, prejudice, negativity, greed and other such limitations is the real objective of education. She expressed confidence that students of Visva-Bharati would help build better communities wherever they choose to live and work.