JNU committed to freedom of thought, critical thinking: VC
Saraswat delivered the convocation address and conferred the doctoral degrees on the graduands. He congratulated all the graduands and called them the "future of the country" and advised them to use their capabilities to serve the society and take the nation forward.
"JNU is generally perceived as a training ground for intellectual politicians and for a meaningful life in the Indian bureaucracy as much as the beginning of life in research and academics. It has produced some of the finest mindsets, politicians and bureaucrats and researchers like Muzaffar Alam, Alok Bhattacharya, S Jaishankar, Nirmala Sitharaman, Sitaram Yechury and so on," Saraswat said.
He told the students that "service to society is more important as compared to your personal achievements" and he urged them to "be humble" in learning from their colleagues.
He also encouraged the students to inculcate an "Olympian spirit" of competitiveness and said, "Let us all live for the growth of our nation and the welfare of our countrymen."
"The best ideas are born when minds are allowed to roam free and think critically. JNU is committed to this freedom of thought and critical thinking with an emphasis on our fundamental responsibilities," Kumar said.
JNU should strive towards advocating the voice and aspirations of 1.3 billion Indians who would like to "see our country become stronger, remain inclusive and united on the foundations laid down by our ancient civilization", he added.
The event was not without controversy as a Ph.D. scholar today did not shake hands with Kumar at the ceremony in protest against, what he termed as, his "role in negating the idea of the varsity being an inclusive campus".
Anoop Patel, who did a comparative study on India's Reservation Policy and South Africa's Affirmative Action for his doctorate, attended the convocation ceremony but when Kumar acknowledged him and wanted to shake hands, he did not reciprocate.
There were heartwarming stories as well, like that of Vishnu Swaroop Saksena, who became a Ph.D. scholar at 78 and got the loudest applause from the audience.
"In 1972, at the time of the first convocation, our VC was G Parthasarthi, who was a famous diplomat and was close to Nehru. He thought given JNU's radicalism, he would ask Balraj Sahni to speak because Sahni was pro-Left," recalled JNU professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy, who was a student at that time.
Koshy was the students' union president and Prakash Karat, who became the student's union president the next year, asked the then VC why should the students' union president not get to speak when Balraj Sahni did, he said.
"Sahni made a Left-liberal speech and talked of Lenin and everything but Koshy basically read out the CPI(M) programme, which had references to "bourgeoisie-landlord regime," Chenoy recalled.
"Then the convocation was discontinued," the professor added.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)