•   Rajnath Singh: Research establishments & start-ups to make India more powerful & self-reliant

New Delhi. 25 February 2023. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has called upon the youth to innovate, develop latest technologies and set up new companies, research establishments & start-ups to provide a new acceleration to the Government’s efforts towards making India a more powerful and self-reliant nation. Addressing the students of Visva Bharati University during the convocation ceremony at Birbhum, West Bengal on February 24, 2023, Rajnath Singh encouraged them to take inspiration from Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and move forward with vision & knowledge in one hand and centuries-old Indian traditions & values on the other, while striving to achieve the overall objective of taking the nation up the development ladder.

The Defence Minister sought to motivate the students to give their best shot, work as a team and not get swayed away by the successes and failures of life. The ability to move forward in a balanced way without getting distracted is the key to success, he said, urging the students to not let ego or arrogance come in their way. “Character building, knowledge and wealth should be given equal weightage. The path of India’s progress goes through the youth. The stronger you are, the stronger our country will be,” he said.

Rajnath Singh also exhorted the students to spread the fragrance of Visva Bharati wherever they went, describing it as their ethical duty. He termed Visva Bharati University as a physical manifestation of the philosophical legacy of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and an embodiment of his knowledge & wisdom. “Visva Bharati is a unique blend of Indian as well as world knowledge. It assimilates the flow of knowledge from across the globe into Indian thought and enlightens the whole world,” he said.

Elaborating on Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s idea of nationalism and universal humanism, the Defence Minister enlightened the students on how the great philosopher deeply influenced Indian society and politics with his thoughts, philosophy and values. He emphasised that for centuries, Indian Nationalism has been based on the feeling of cooperation and human welfare. “Indian Nationalism is cultural, not territorial. Consciousness comes before territory. Human welfare is the focus. Indian Nationalism is all-inclusive rather than exclusivist and is inspired by universal welfare. Visva-Bharati is an indicator of this sentiment,” he said.

Rajnath Singh made special mention of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s vision to promote Industrial Development and modern Science & Technology for the development of the nation, pointing out that his futuristic views at the time are relevant today. He asserted that it is the result of that very vision that today India is moving forward on the path of development by setting new standards in the field of Science & Technology and is ‘Making in India, Making for the World’. “Today, we are progressing continuously as the 5th largest economy in the world. According to a recent report of investment firm Morgan Stanley, India will become the third largest economy in the next 4-5 years. I am hopeful that we will become the world’s top economy by 2047. This will be a true tribute to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore,” he said.

The Defence Minister also touched upon Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s visionary ideas of social transformation, women empowerment and elimination of caste discrimination, which has been an inspiration for the government. Gurudev’s writings to music radiate wisdom which is the essence of Indian-ness, he said.

Rajnath Singh added that the great philosopher’s education-related thoughts work as a guiding light even today. “Gurudev believed that education is the way to reach truth & beauty and ensure social welfare. He believed that it is not enough just to learn, but it is necessary to use it in the interest of society. One teacher educating 40-50 students together, which is a West inspired practice, will be unable to enhance the individuality of any child. In India, there was no such system in the ancient Gurukul. Many studies show that in universities like Nalanda and Takshashila, the ratio of faculty and students used to be 1:5. The Government rolled out the National Education Policy 2020, which pays full attention to the personality development of children and proper teacher-pupil ratio,” he said.