President Ram Nath Kovind today stressed on the need for “constant” renewing of mutual respect and acceptance of alternative ways of thinking between various regions and religions and said these were not mere slogans but the country’s natural way of life.
Speaking at the 65th annual convocation of Aligarh Muslim University, the president said the pursuit of knowledge and the quest for human dignity were inter-connected.
“These twin goals have been at the centre of the Indian ethos and of our composite civilisation. They have contributed to our diversity, which is our great strength, as well as our open-minded approach as a people,” he said.
Mutual respect, learning from each other, sharing with each other, and acceptance of alternative ways of thinking and living are not just slogans but India s natural way of life, he said.
“These lessons hold true for us as a country. They hold true within and between regions of our country. And they hold true within and between communities of our country. It is important to constantly renew this spirit,” Kovind emphasised.
Lauding the AMU as an institution, the president said students of the university had made their mark not only in India but also in other parts of the world, particularly Asia and Africa.
He recalled that during his state visit to Ethiopia last year, he learnt that the wife of the Ethiopian prime minister was an alumna of AMU which celebrates 100 years of establishment in 2020.
He said the students from the university had excelled in politics, administration, education, law, science and technology, literature, arts and sports and named a few including Bharat Ratna awardee Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, anti-apartheid activist Dr Yusuf Mohammad Dadu, and former president of India Dr Zakir Hussain.
Progressive women like Ismat Chughtai and Mumtaz Jahan have added to the lustre of Indian society and of the AMU, he added.
He pointed to the commendable example of Khushboo Mirza, a former student of the AMU, who played a key role as a scientist in ISRO’s Chandrayaan Mission.
“Achievers like her are role models for women in the 21st century,” he remarked.
This is the age of globalisation that celebrates diversity and combines the best of modern technology with the traditions and cultures of the society to build the India of our dreams, Kovind said.
Such an India will help every citizen, irrespective of background or identity, to realise his or her full potential, the president said.
“This is a period of mobility and we are all part of a global knowledge society. In such a dynamic environment, engaging with teachers and students in other institutions will be helpful in cross-pollination of learning,” he added.