Stop ragging, President tells student community

President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday made a strong pitch for putting an end to the "disgraceful" practice of ragging in the country and said this should have no place in centres of learning and intellectual pursuits.

Manipal: President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday made
a strong pitch for putting an end to the "disgraceful"
practice of ragging in the country and said this should have
no place in centres of learning and intellectual pursuits.

The President chose the annual convocation of the Manipal
University here to make an earnest appeal to students and
educational institutions alike to stop students facing
harassment on educational campuses.
"Practices like ragging and harassing should find no
place in educational institutions. I earnestly request
institutions and students to stop forthwith ragging which is
one of the most disgraceful practices," she told a gathering
of students and academicians.

She also rued the decline of research capacity in the
country, and underlined that encouraging innovation potential
of today`s students was the key to make sure that
technological advances do not hit roadblocks in the long run.

Noting that prosperous nations are predicated on educated
and well-informed populations, the President said for India to
milk to the maximum extent its unique demographic advantage,
it will have to tap the innovation potential of its students.

"A sound base of research in India had led to the green
and white revolutions which brought far-reaching changes," she
said while asking scientists and researchers to look at
bringing in new revolutions for enhancing productivity on a
sustainable basis.

"Unfortunately, there has been a decline in our research
capacity," she said and asked educational institutions to rise
to the need to bridge the deficit.

Dressed in a red robe, the President also gave away
doctorate degrees to 30 students and gold medals to 11
students of the University in the presence of Karnataka
Governor H R Bhardwaj and Vice Chancellor K Ramnarayan.

She said India, with a huge chunk of youth population has
a unique demographic advantage, but the energy of the youth
has to be guided into productive work and their ideas and
innovations tapped for the betterment of society.

Technology carries the immense power to bring about
revolutionary changes, she said, while invoking Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru who had laid great emphasis on science while
embarking on his roadmap of building a new nation.

The President also said science and technology needs to be
used to bring about changes at grassroot levels in the
country. "Teaching basic science with practical applications
to change the landscape of our villages and towns should be
looked at seriously by our education system," she said.

Patil said India has made significant strides in the
fields of electronics, communications and computer technology
and to maintain a leadership role in the knowledge economy, it
has to focus on innovation and on remaining competitive.
"Given our impressive performance during the last decade,
and our resilience during the global economic downturn, we can
look forward to achieving double digit growth rates. However,
we have to address many constraints and remove many roadblocks
on the growth trajectory," she said.

She highlighted the inadequacy of the country`s existing
physical infrastructure, underlining that for removing
development bottlenecks, more bridges, roads and harbours have
to be built while power generation capacity and transport
facilities require extensive additions.

"This means that the nation needs a large corps of
well-trained engineers and technologists," she said, while
also highlighting the need for value education and for
students to reach out to local communities to understand their

While referring to practices like ragging that should be
banished for educational campuses, she also raised concern
over drug consumption among students, saying awareness
campaigns should make children abreast of the consequences of
such ill-habits.

The President also underlined the importance of teaching
students the concepts of co-existence, tolerance, harmony and
the spirit of working together for the collective good.

She said while on their intellectual pursuits students
must also learn to listen to others` points of view and to
have respect for differing perceptions.