My first Independence day at HCU was the University’s 37th, and India’s 65th. Not having attended such a function for a very long time, I was a bit nervous and hesitant, but there was something to do, and something to say…
Members of the HCU family, students, faculty, officers, staff, and fellow countrymen. Greeting on the occasion of our 65th Independence Day.
As we do every year this day, we look to a new year of our Independence with renewed hope. Hope for a better tomorrow for our children and ourselves. Our freedom has brought us huge possibilities, but it has also come with a huge responsibilities, the main one being that we strive to build a more inclusive, more equitable society.
As a University, we have a huge role to play in realizing these dreams. Progress and development, prosperity, health and well being will not come easy. Each of us has to acknowledge the sacrifices that had to be made for the country to come so far over. And today we are called upon to make new sacrifices as our country faces challenges mainly from within. Our public life is open to scrutiny as never before, and the picture that has emerged is not pretty. There are dark clouds of corruption that appear to pervade many issues, and today this is the main concern in our minds as we wrestle with the two questions of how we got into such a mess in the first place, and how do we get out of this vortex of corruption.
This concerns our University community in direct and indirect ways… We are a public institution, with public accountability, and public norms. And as an institution of higher education, we should be willing to set the norms. Each one of us has to answer for her or himself, if the standards we set for probity in public life are personally valid as well. If we ourselves uphold the principles and values we wish to see in our leaders, we will then eventually get the leaders we deserve.
Our responsibilities extend to all other spheres of action. Our nation cannot have a concern for the environment and for sustainable growth if each of us does not subscribe to the same ideals. What we see as a by product of development, the unwarranted and uncontrolled exploitation of the land is in reality a public expression of private principles. And it is here that education has a major role to play. All levels of education are important, from the primary school level, all the way up to higher education, which is where we have our expertise, in learning, intervening, and educating ourselves. It is our responsibility to do the best we can in this regard.
Students, for some of you this is the first 15th of August on the campus, and it will represent your own independence as you learn to make your own decisions, and become your own men and women. A small step by each one of from here on can make a difference and this is a difference we must make.
Today we ill be launching the Campus Radio station and I sure that along with information and knowledge dissemination and entertainment there would also be programmes to address these concerns. As a University we are also concerned with the environment and as a small step toward this we will launch a tree planting campaign shortly after this programme at the S.N. School of Arts and Communication and the School of Chemistry. We will also request the students of National Service Scheme to adopt this and take this movement for a clean and green campus further with a definite plan of action. This is a difficult task that can only be achieved by each of us subscribing to this sincerely and actively participating in this movement. Even if you do not plant trees, do not destroy the existing environment by indiscriminate throwing of waste around the campus. Let us at least preserve what we have. Each employee in the school, department, centre or section must feel and act on this.
As a centre for learning and knowledge dissemination, a University like ours has this added responsibility of bringing about growth with inclusion in the true sense and transparency. Our commitment to this goal is real, and I request all of you to join us in this endeavour whole-heartedly so that we as a society provide a truly egalitarian society to our children with equal opportunities for all.
One freedom that I would like the University to get in the coming years is the freedom to excel. Too often, we perform to the levels set by others and achieve goals set by governments. As academics, we know that the best standards are internal, set by the disciplines themselves. We need the freedom to pursue such ideals, without fear or favour, without interference from other agencies, and I hope to get this freedom for us soon.
Let us then promise ourselves and to our society to subscribe to the values of honesty, integrity, fair play, inclusiveness and concern for the environment. As a University we will look to consolidate our gains over the last few decades and seek to build upon these achievements keeping these principles in mind.
Once again my greetings on the occasion of Independence Day to each of you.