Describing Visva Bharati as a "temple of learning", where India meets the world, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday urged the students of the institute to be a humanist like its founder Rabindranath Tagore, "whose thoughts and philosophy continue to influence Indian society".
Singh, who presided over the annual convocation ceremony of the central university as its chief guest, also said that Bengal has "two centres of pilgrimage -- one Ganga Sagar and the other Visva Bharati".
Addressing students and faculty members, he said, "Tagore had shown us that nationalism cannot be territorial; it should be based on our pluralistic culture. He founded this place for inculcating values of humanism in children," the minister stated. He called upon students to do something "noteworthy in life, and think about how that can be benefiting the country".
The minister stressed that the New Education Policy 2020 will lead to holistic development of young minds. "A child's future depends on his upbringing. Tagore's Visva Bharati shows us how this path should be -- free from the confines of prison-like rooms, in the lap of nature.
"Whatever you become in life -- scientist, engineer, reformist, social scientist or artist -- you should embody the values espoused by Gurudev," he maintained. Recalling the words of social reformer Gopal Krishna Gokhale -- "what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow" -- Singh said, "The state needs reawakening in sectors like science and technology, to lead the nation."
He also noted that Tagore, who was a poet, writer, composer and philosopher, believed in bringing about transformation through social reforms and by way of women empowerment. India is following the 'marg darshan' of the "great humanist" as it moves ahead, he maintained.
"Gurudev embodied Indian nationalism; he was the one who had given back the knighthood honour conferred on him by British rulers after the Jallianwala bagh massacre. "The bard was also in favour of modern industrial revolution, which entailed that science and technology sector go hand in hand," the Union minister added.