Medinipur: President Pranab Mukherjee has called for unswerving dedication to the cause of education, social reforms and betterment of society.
Delivering the 7th Vidyasagar Memorial Lecture at the Vidyasagar University here yesterday, Mukherjee said there is a need to do the utmost to make the dreams and ideals of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar a reality through unswerving dedication to the cause of education, social reforms and betterment of society.
Speaking on the topic `The relevance of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar`s life and message to contemporary society, Mukherjee called upon teachers and enlightened sections of society to play a vital role in the spread of education.
He said the society has invested in each educated person through the education system and programmes. In turn, educated persons also have a responsibility to the country and its people.
Mukherjee also lamented the fact that no Indian university figures among the top 200 world-class universities, which he added, required introspection.
"We have to think as to what is lacking and what we have failed to put together to get the desired result despite of having no lack of talented teachers and students, Mukherjee said.
"India dominated the educational system of the world for about 1800 years starting from the 6th century BC," he added.
Paying glowing tribute to Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Mukherjee said that in spreading education from the primary to the higher levels, Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar carried forward the mantle of Raja Rammohan Roy.
"He realized the importance and need of secular education along with scientific temper and of absorbing the fruits of Western civilization without forgetting our own culture or being swayed by the West. His progressive outlook was motivated by compassion and personal experiences. Despite strong opposition from conservative forces, he continued his struggle for widow re-marriage and practiced what he preached by encouraging his son, Narayan, to marry a widow," he added.
Voicing concern over various social aberrations, the President said the Government alone cannot do everything to correct the situation. There is urgent need for new and widespread public mobilisation aimed at gender sensitisation.
"We need to introspect on the sad decline in our moral values and reflect on how we can reset our moral compass," Mukherjee observed.
He said that, to stem social degradation, educational institutions have a primary responsibility of inculcating our core civilisational values like respect for women in the students.
On this occasion, Mukherjee laid the foundation stone of the administrative building of Vidyasagar University.