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President Pranab Mukherjee says varsities must have free atmosphere

india Updated: Mar 19, 2017 22:55 IST
Pranad Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee attending the closing ceremony of the three-day International Buddhist conference in Nalanda on March 19.(PTI Photo)

Universities and academic institutions must have free atmosphere devoid of prejudice, violence or any doctrine for unhindered intellectual pursuit, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday.

Speaking at the valedictory session of the ‘International Buddhists Conference’ in Nalanda, Mukherjee said the ancient learning centres in Nalanda, Taxila and Vikramshila attracted great minds in forms of students and teachers from all over the world.

These were not merely places of learning, but were a confluence of four civilizations— Indian, Persian, Greek and Chinese, he said at Rajgir’s International Convention Centre in Nalanda district.

“The essence of these universities was open mind, free discussions. The acharyas and upadhyays encouraged students to pose questions, before a proposition was to be accepted and followed by them.

“If there cannot be free atmosphere in a university, in an academic institution then what type of lessons we can give to our students. Education means development of mind, constant interaction with teachers and fellow students. An atmosphere must be free from prejudice, anger, violence, doctrines.It must be conducive to free flow intellectual persuasions,” Mukherjee said.

Speaking about terrorism, the President said it is not just an action, but also a “mental aberration and an expression of a twisted and a perverted mindset” and nations must think together on how to deal with this menace.

“The crisis (of terrorism) is all pervasive. It is not confined to causing injuries to fellow citizens (but), it is the wanton destruction of values, of the heritage, of the assets which have been built over centuries through generation,” he said, referring to destruction of Buddhist sites by Taliban in Afghanistan.