Ahmedabad: President Pranab Mukherjee here on Tuesday exhorted people to go strongly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission but ensure the society was first cleansed from within as evinced by Mahatma Gandhi through his life.
“The real dirt of India lies not in our streets, but in our minds and in our unwillingness to let go of views that divide society into them and us; and pure and impure,” said President Mukherjee, who inaugurated here a new Archives and Research Centre at the Sabarmati Ashram as well as addressed the 62nd convocation of Gujarat Vidyapeeth founded by Mahtama Gandhi in 1920.
“We must make a success of the laudable and welcome Swachh Bharat Mission. However, this also must be seen as just the beginning of a much larger and intense effort to cleanse minds and fulfil Gandhiji’s vision in all its aspects,” he said.
As many as 24 doctorates, 49 Masters in Philosophy, 405 post-graduates, 369 graduates degrees and 59 post-graduate diplomas were awarded at the convocation.
Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee said, “Gandhiji propounded the principle of Nai Talim for social reconstruction which states that knowledge and work are not separate. The constituents of Nai Talim are the three H: Heart, Hand and Head. To put this philosophy into practice, Gandhiji promoted an academic curriculum of ‘basic education for all’.”
Mukherjee explained Mahatma Gandhi made the beginning from Gujarat and the Vidyapeeth.
“With ashram shalas and buniyadi schools operating in the remote areas, Gujarat is perhaps the only state where Nai Talim exists in an institutional form. Nai Talim infers charitra nirman or character building, whose relevance is increasing by the day. Learning with value-orientation must guide our approach in education,” the President said.
Pointing out that Swatch Mission and Nai Talim worked complimentary to each other, Mukherje said, “Gujarat Vidyapeeth provides education aimed at building character, competence, culture and conscientiousness in students. This is needed to regenerate the country according to Gandhian ideals”.
“Despite growing urbanisation, 68 percent of the country’s population still resides in rural areas. Intervention in food security, education, skill development, employment, technology dissemination, health and nutrition, housing, drinking water and sanitation would go a long way to uplift the quality of rural life and address poverty concerns,” he said.
Mukherjee said students of Gujarat Vidyapeeth are trained to support rural development in line with Gandhi’s vision.
“They keep the campus clean through their own labour, and the Vidyapeetth educates students in charkha and computer with equal enthusiasm and students are imbibed with the spirit of ‘dignity of labour’.”
The President said such traditions in community life are not built in a day.
“It must be our endeavour to proliferate this noble practice. Swachh Bharat, according to Bapu, implied a clean mind, clean body and clean environment. Every citizen has a duty to create a clean external and internal environment of self and society to make Swachh Bharat possible.”