‘Kashmir Grievances Need Speedy Resolution’

Says Kashmir youth will forge India’s future; No problems are ever resolved by violence

Srinagar – President Pranab Mukherjee said Thursday that people of Kashmir did have “grievances” and these needed “deft handling and speedy resolution”.

“I am aware that there are grievances. Many important issues need deft handling and speedy resolution. The Government of India and the State Government of J&K are determined and duty bound to ensure that every Kashmiri lives with dignity having equal rights and equal opportunities,” President Mukherjee said at the convocation address at the Kashmir University here.

Expressing his view that Jammu and Kashmir should lead the way in the building of a new future for India, President Mukherjee said: ” 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 added.

The president said he looked upon the youth of Kashmir to forge the future of India in every field.

He described Kashmir as the ‘Sharda Peeth’, the seat of learning in ancient times.

“I am 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 civilizations 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.

The President said that the academic environment in India and, indeed, across the world is more exciting than ever for students of today. He said that the IT revolution has brought infinite opportunities and greatly facilitated us in offering a more modern, progressive and relevant education to our students.

President said the India of tomorrow, achieved through inclusive growth, offers enormous opportunities for the youth of Kashmir if they only seize them.

“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,” said President Mukherjee.

“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 added.

“The IT revolution has brought infinite opportunities. It has greatly facilitated us in offering a modern, progressive and relevant education to our students.

“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 added and said that the new technologies need to be adopted which have useful applications for teaching, learning and professional growth. He said that this will bring a significant improvement in the quality of teaching and research. He said that Universities must promote creativity and innovation adding that creation of a knowledge society requires that Universities encourage autonomous research. “It is equally important to have collaborations and linkages between premier institutions of higher learning in India and abroad for cross fertilization of ideas and advancement of knowledge”, he said.

“As I take in the beauty of Kashmir, I am compelled to prioritise the preservation of its ecology and environment in the minds of our 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 cognizant of the visible effects of climate change and the general degradation of our land, freshwater and marine resources. 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 added.

“While I am among the bright young people here today, I would like to highlight the relevance and need for greater tolerance in the society,” he emphasized.

“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,” said President Mukherjee.

“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,” he added.

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 added.

President Mukherjee also congratulated the scholars and students of the University of Kashmir on this occasion.

“May you proceed to achieve greater distinctions and higher levels of achievement for yourselves, your proud parents and your society. I look forward to your contribution – each one of you – to the building of our great nation,” he added. 

‘Ambassadors of Brave New World’

Reminding the passing out students of their futuristic responsibilities, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah described them ambassadors of a brave new world confronted with manifold challenges.

“You can neither afford to rest on your laurels nor be complacent and smug. You have to be the torch bearers and flag carriers of progress”, he said adding that attaining knowledge and going through the grist and mill for it, is a notable endeavour and the ends of knowledge should be action.

Addressing the 18th Convocation of University of Kashmir of which Omar Abdullah is also the Pro-Chancellor said that broader and wider aim of the passing out students should be to enhance their capacities as young leaders to improve and better the human condition.

“As people empowered by knowledge, self transcending goals should inform and determine the trajectories of all of you. It is then that you can make a difference in today’s knowledge societies where the only limits and limitations are ones set by one’s imagination”, he said and maintained that there are no boundaries to knowledge, no cultural differences to impede and no structural impediments that cannot be overcome. He said, “it is a brave new world where the global and the local meld rather seamlessly into each other. It is in this world that you have to step in as potential leaders and doyens. And in this world, leadership means a blend of intuition, knowledge, imagination, a capability to discern trends in the face of complexity and to forge new pathways and knowledge through and from these”.

“I see in each one of you here today a future role as the next wave of these pioneering leaders. Let all of you make a pledge today and affirm that you will take on the challenge that leadership in today’s world entails. Having been and gone through the crucible of vigorous and intense learning, you now stand empowered and enlightened. It is then incumbent upon you to share this enlightenment and empowerment and lead society into new directions. Let you not waiver nor develop cold feet against the challenges you will face. It is only those who confront destiny and nature that shape destiny. Let you be amongst those. The world is your oyster. Shape it as you like and want”, he added.

Felicitating the students for attaining higher educational goals, the Chief Minister said that they are at the threshold and cusp of a bold and beautiful journey and destiny and they should use a cliché, ‘the world now is your oyster’.

“This clichéd phrase, once constituting mere inspirational talk, is a reality now. This has been made possible by the advent and intensification of the current wave of globalization where both time and space stand compressed and where new societies are forged from the detritus of old ones. The forging of these new societies has led to paradigm shifts where old shibboleths and assumptions no longer hold. It is a brave new world out there. The underlying premise and the soft ware of progress of this world is knowledge. We have moved from primitive to modern to knowledge societies. The graph and trajectory of this evolution has not been linear. It has been erratic. This progression to knowledge societies has been painful and gradual. The gains made have been hard won. In these societies, change is the only constant and their defining theme is complexity. This world, unimaginable only a few decades ago, is real. Adaptation, flexibility, excellence, creativity and creative leadership are the buzzwords of this world”, he explained.

Quoting Francis Bacon’s words “the power of knowledge or knowledge power was the aim of science to discover the knowledge of causes, the secret notion of things and enlarging the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible”, The Chief Minister said that Bacon summed up eloquently the nature of the quest for knowledge: it was to push back frontiers, to explore and understand the secrets of the universe and the world, and attain mastery over nature. The trajectory of science and knowledge, especially over the past few centuries has precisely conformed and corresponded to this. The nature of the contemporary world is an eloquent testimony to this. It is a world where the creative impulse and innovation determine the success and vibrancy of societies. And it is this challenging, complex world that you are going to confront”, he said telling the students that the quest for them has not ended but it has just begun.

Earlier, Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Talat Ahmad presented the University Report and gave resume of the academic, research and extra-curricular activities of the University.  He said during the last three years 235 and 405 students completed their Ph. Ds and M. Phils at the University.

The Vice Chancellor said the University Grants Commission has sanctioned support to nine Departments of the University under SAP while eight Departments have been recognized by Department of Science & Technology for financial support. He said the university has entered into academic collaboration with a number of premier academic institutions within and outside the country.

The President awarded gold medals and certificates to the passing out students at the convocation.

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