Srinagar: On his first visit to Kashmir as President, Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said no problems are ever resolved by violence and the healing process must be nurtured with love, compassion and patience while important issues need speedy resolution.
Touching on the urgent need for greater tolerance in society, he said there are grievances and many important issues need deft handling and speedy resolution.
"The Government of India and the State Government of J&K are determined to ensure that every Kashmiri lives with dignity having equal rights and equal opportunities," he said in his address at the 18th convocation of University of Kashmir.
This is first visit to Jammu and Kashmir after assuming the office of President.
Addressing the students, Mukherjee said he would like to take this opportunity while being among the "bright, young" people to highlight the relevance and urgent need for greater tolerance "in our society".
"No problems are ever resolved by violence. It only aggravates the pain and the hurt on every side. The healing process must be nurtured with love, compassion and patience," he said.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmed were among the host of dignitaries present on the occasion.
"I am aware that there are grievances. Many important issues need deft handling and speedy resolution," the President said.
He said India of tomorrow, achieved through inclusive growth, offers enormous opportunities for the youth of Kashmir if they only seize them.
"Do not lose any more time. The whole world is rapidly transforming itself. We in India should not be left behind. The contributions of young Kashmiris are critical for India’s advancement to progress.”
"Let the dark days of violence and conflict be left behind. Let a new dawn emerge. It is the time to move ahead with faith in our collective future and confidence in the largest democracy in the world, where rule of law prevails, robust institutions function and the Constitution serves as the Supreme Law," Mukherjee said.
He said let Jammu and Kashmir lead the way in the building of a new future for India. Let it set an example to the rest of India and the world by showing how the entire region can be transformed into a zone of peace, stability and prosperity.
"Let Jammu and Kashmir regain its historical role as a center of learning, a place frequented by saints and religious scholars, a land known for its diversity and harmony, a fulcrum of trade and commerce with our neighbours," he said.
The President said institutions of higher education, with their emphasis on sound value systems and character building can play an effective role in developing a greater sense of responsibility and a rational approach to all issues.
"In this context, the duty of teachers is to inculcate in their students a balance of knowledge and skills with the moral and aesthetic values," he said.
Mukherjee also called upon the youth of Kashmir to take the lead in forging the future of our nation. In every field of activity - be it business, industry, trade, education or culture, India is a nation on the move.
"A billion people marching forward led by the ideas, enterprise and energy of its predominantly young population," he said.
"I am confident that the young people of India will build a strong and powerful nation - a nation that is politically mature and economically strong, a nation whose people enjoy both a high quality of life as well as justice, fundamental rights and equality," he said.
The President emphasised on the need to prioritise the preservation of ecology and environment of the state by students and researchers
"This is as an area where Universities such as yours could make a great contribution for your own benefit and that of future generations. There is an urgent need to make students duly cognisant of the visible effects of climate change and the general degradation of our land, freshwater and marine resources," he said.
Mukherjee said in Kashmir itself, a lot needs to be done to safeguard the immediate environs - and to evolve an academic curriculum and research to address the challenges.
He also asked the University to have collaborations and linkages between premier institutions of higher learning in India and abroad for cross fertilisation of ideas and advancement of knowledge.
"I am aware that University of Kashmir is electronically linked with knowledge banks and information offered by reputed Institutions across the world. This needs to be disseminated with optimal efficiency. This is the time to shift towards increasingly interactive, and collaborative learning experiences," he said.
The President said new technologies need to be adopted which have useful applications for teaching, learning and professional growth.
"This will bring a significant improvement in the quality of our teaching and research. Universities must promote creativity and innovation. Creation of a knowledge society requires that Universities encourage autonomous research," he said.
Mukherjee said he was deeply conscious of the great standing of Kashmir as the Sharda Peeth - the `Seat of Learning` - in ancient times.
"This beautiful valley has nursed in its lap great men of letters, poets and patrons of learning. It has also attracted philosophers and scholars from diverse cultures and foreign civilisations who contributed to its rich heritage. I am sure that students and faculty of the University have a sense of the rich legacy that they have inherited and will derive inspiration and benefit from it", he said.
Underlining that information technology has brought in new opportunities, he said, "Government of India, in its 12th Five Year Plan has a well defined strategy to achieve this. It includes expansion of infrastructure with regional equity, focus on performance, better human resource management, reform of the curriculum, promotion of quality research and creation of an environment that will attract the best talent."
"I am aware that University of Kashmir is electronically linked with knowledge banks and information offered by reputed Institutions across the world. This needs to be disseminated with optimal efficiency. This is the time to shift towards increasingly interactive and collaborative learning experiences," he said.