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Violent means of protests are not acceptable
Business Standard, India Sunday, January 9, 2011

China, as a country, shows dedication, commitment, determination to overcome all odds, single-minded zeal for excellence and aim to become the best nation on earth. India has an inclusive society. We have many people living under the poverty line. We have proven that democracy can empower the poor and the marginalised and that peace is attainable. While democratic protests are acceptable in a society, resort to violence needs to be avoided. Violent methods of protest are not acceptable, writes MK Narayanan in Business Standard.

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My young friends, it is not without significance that today’s convocation address is being delivered by an icon in the field of science and engineering and belongs to a country, which in a span of a little over 50 years, has transformed itself into a strong nation, and an economic giant second only to the United States. As a country, China displays dedication, commitment and determination to overcome all odds, aiming to become the best nation in the world. There is single-minded zeal for excellence.

China is China and India is India. Today, Jadavpur University is also honoring one of our cultural greats – the renowned Badal Sircar. We in India believe that it is not enough to have excellence or perfection in one single area – whether it is science, mathematics or management but that if you are to become a well-rounded personality, you must have other virtues and skills and imbibe the best of India’s civilisational traits, especially its cultural values. Ours is an inclusive society and we cherish the interlacing of one with the other.

Young graduates of today, as you go forth into the world, you will begin to realise how fortunate you are in that you are graduating in the early 21st century when India has awakened, is a country that is greatly respected, a nation that is praised for its democratic tendencies, and for being a pluralist and inclusive society. Also, that the world recognises that we are one of the major emerging economies, and that while we still have a large number of people who live below the poverty line, we have demonstrated that democracy can empower the poor and the marginalised and that we can live in peace with one another. This is, therefore, one of those moments in history, when the world looks with awe to India’s achievements.

Students, do not therefore, swerve from the straight and narrow path. In recent months, there have been occasions when students have resorted to tactics like gherao and violence, to demonstrate their protest over perceived grievances. While democratic protests are acceptable in a society, resort to violence needs to be avoided. As privileged individuals, you must understand this better than anyone else. I therefore appeal to you to avoid such tactics. The doors of the Vice Chancellor and the Chancellor are always open to you if you need to talk. The University is a place where to use Cardinal Newman’s words once again, and I quote, “Rashness is rendered innocuous and error exposed by the collusion of mind with mind, and knowledge with knowledge.”


This article was published in the Business Standard on Sunday, January 9, 2011. Please read the original article here.
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