Vice President's Secretariat

Text of the Vice-President’s Address at the  Centenary Year Convocation of Jamia Millia Islamia (Excerpts)

Posted On: 23 JUL 2023 4:51PM by PIB Delhi

Good afternoon all of you, and my greetings to you all on this great day.

First two things. One, I did invite the attention of the honorable Minister to the last line. The time schedule has to be adhered. In in the process I was indicating, the chairman Rajesh Sharma has the prerogative and right to relax it and it was be fitting case of relaxation.

Number two, me and the Honorable Minister are engrossed, When there was thunderous applause in the theater. We missed the point. I must acknowledge the gracious presence of my wife Dr. Sudesh Dhankhar, She noted and gave me what it was all about. I am therefore grateful to the learned Vice Chancellor for having invited her in her own capacity.  Like a brilliant Vice Chancellor and academician, she could see that I falter on occasions and there must be backup.

Honorable Shri Dharmendra Pradhan Ji, Education Minister government of India, a man of action. A man of vision. A man who is good at both planning and execution. I know him for long. I'm trying to find out his eating habits that keep him active the day around.

Professor Nazma Akhtar, the honorable Vice Chancellor. A picture of eligance and sublimity. When I had the occasion to interact with her for the first time, I found she has no packaging, only performance and that is reflected all around.

Nothing can be achieved by a great institutions unless the faculty contributes, heads off  to the faculty for doing all they have done. We have in the audience very distinguished members and pardon me I'll be missing the names of some of them. If I take names of some and refer to them, it is on account of having been enlightened by them in my performance of duties in legal profession, and while being Governor and presently the Vice President of country. Shri Najib Jung, a man of  spinal strength and all his former fellow vice chancellors who are present here.

Being Vice President of India is a soothing aspect, but it carries another hat also,  and that is Chairman Raja Sabha, a formidable task. I must therefore recognize presence of Javed Ali Khan, enormously talented, member of Rajya Sabha, Dharmendra ji in his wisdom rightly give precedence to another distinguished Honorable Member of Parliament from Lok Sabha, Danish Ali.  Friends we have in the audience, a distinguished legal luminary. Senior Advocate from one of the most prestigious institutes in this country Shri Vikram Banerjee, Presently, additional solicitor general. Excellencies, distinguished guests and my dear students.

It is a moment for me and my wife to ever cherish. It does not happen every other day. convocation  do take place, but a convocation of this nature,  Centenary convocation, comes in the life of someone very rarely, maybe providentially.

I'm extremely delighted to be amidst you all on this momentous occasion of the centenary year convocation of Jamia Millia Islamia JMI, One of the leading universities in the country. I extend my heartiest congratulations to all who have been awarded degrees, graduating students, faculty members and staff for securing this milestone development for the university. Dear students, as graduates from this prestigious institution of learning, ever remember, and never forget it. If you forget it, you will be impeding your own progress. You owe your success of course, to your diligence, to your hard work, but principally to your teachers, your parents and your well wishers. You earned your degrees but that does not mean there has to be quietness to learning or knowledge acquiring. You have to carefully cultivate this knowledge to harvest the wisdom. Enough has been said about the accomplishments of JMI. These are extraordinary accomplishments.

This is an occasion to recognize the contribution of this institution and its illustrious alumni in National life. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Vice Chancellor Professor Nazma Akhtar recipient of the prestigious Padma Award in 2022 for her contributions, turning around  contributions for JMI. In a record of sorts, making history she is the first woman Vice Chancellor of Jamia in its 100 year history. She would be an inspirational model for her gender all over.

It is not a statistics. The Jamia is ranked among the three top universities of the country in the national institutional ranking framework rankings. Much has gone behind it. Most effort has gone. Even in a river when you stand, to be at the same place you have to keep on moving your feet, this is a repeat performance. I congratulate the Vice Chancellor, faculty and the students. Fiends, the university has built academic research alliances with universities and research institutions across the world. These are the times when we need to be in sync with similar institutions. When we need to be in synergetic mode. So there is enhancement of capacities of knowledge earning. It welcomes foreign students from more than 25 countries. Friends I happen to be chairman of Indian Council of world affairs. The Indian Council of world affairs will have an MOU with this prestigious institution,  and I'm sure that will help both these institutions. This will fructify before our independence day.

When I look at the alumni of this great institution, it is difficult to take names. We have had pillars of strength right from the top constitutional office down the line. But I would make one submission for consideration of everyone here. Alumni associations are a great strength to ensure that every institute is on incremental trajectory. The growth will be geometrical once the alumni take it upon themselves, and therefore, the alumni of the institute must be always in proactive mode. As a matter of fact, there can't be a more involved think tank of development of an institution or a nation then the kind of people that constitute alumni of various institution. Education is important and something is more important i.e. link education to larger societal growth.

The empowerment of human resource is a vital ingredient in Nation building, the youth have to empower themselves and I'm extremely concerned therefore I am putting this for your consideration that youth have to empower themselves not by political intoxication, but through the mechanism of capacity building and personality development with the ultimate objective of nurturing a healthy environmental society.

Hon’ble Minister, rightly indicated the national education policy 2020 and it was a pleasant co-incidence,  it was on attainment of your centenary but this has been a game changer. It provides greater flexibility to our young minds and brings the joy of learning, making education by emphasizing on  innovation and skill development. The latter two are also in the domain of the Hon’ble minister who handles these portfolios as well.

I can tell you friends, national education policy was evolved after three decades in this country, after considering input from all the stakeholders, and this was the need for Bharat home to one sixth of the humanity. This will catalyze into a big change. I find that in some parts of the country there is a requirement of adopting this policy. I'm sure they will fall in line, reap the harvest and advantages of this great policy because it is based on skill based courses, vocational training, and giving a new dimension to our educational learning.

Friends, it is crucial for students to become innovators, entrepreneurs, to establish their own startups. So that in this Amrit Kaal our capable students emulate, I'm emphasising emulate Young entrepreneurs who have increasingly emerged in this country as not job seekers but Job providers. Our recording in this field, the number of unicorns we have, the number of startups we have is a ground reality acknowledged by the world.

I call upon my young friends to fully subscribe and immerse themselves in economic nationalism, with all their energy and enthusiasm. Economic nationalism is a matter which must catch our attention in present times. The world has become too small for everything and because of technology and connectivity. Friends, there can be no doubt. It is certainly not in national interest to compromise economic nationalism for fiscal gain. Those who are in business, industry, trade, have to believe in the essence of economy nationalism, and do not tilt and compromise it merely because there is an opportunity of only fiscal gain. Our country is a democracy oldest and largest on the planet, most functional. We need to be fully aware that political and economic stake holding cannot, should not be at the cost of economic nationalism. we have to take pride in our epochal, historic achievements, accomplishments, our rise that is recognised by the world, we have to always keep our nation first.

My young friends who have got degrees, you will be stepping into your careers of choice. These are promising times. Accomplishments registered by Nation make us all proud. We are proud Indians. We are to take pride in our nation and achievements. India is on the rise as never before and the rise of the country is unstoppable. The upward growth trajectory of Bharat, home to 1/6 of humanity will be ever on upsurge  mode because of the contributions of young minds and our youth. The Indian economy has proven to be remarkably resilient in the face of challenging global situation due to strong macro-economic fundamentals that place it ahead of other emerging economies in the world.

Friends you will be happy to note that while India a decade ago was 11th largest economy, in September 2020 Last year, we had a milestone achievement and we became the fifth largest economy on the planet and in the process we overtook us when colonial masters.

By all indications India will be the third largest economy by turn of the decade and my friends the degree holders for the day and like many of you in other institutions, you being warriors of 2047. You will determine what Bharat will be in 2047 and I have no doubt with your commitment direction dedication, India will be at the peak in 2047.


The world is stunt. It could have never imagined and frankly my generation could have never dreamt, the kind of digital revolution the world is seeing in this country. The largest democracy that is so diversified and what is the impact? inefficiency and corruption has been rooted out governance has taken a new term, new norm is transparency and accountability. In 2022 to give you an illustration and amongst many such instances India registered digital payment transactions amounting to 1.5 trillion US dollars that was a figure but if we see it in comparable situations, this transaction is more than four times the combined transactions in US, UK, Germany and France. Just imagine what kind of achievement has been there in the process. I would call upon all of you to reflect and introspect. It's a Herculean task. It is not one way traffic. It has to be both ways. Which means every Indian in the village semi-urban areas has equipped himself technologically, to be recipient and to engage in such transactions. It's a big achievement my generation never dreamt of it and the world is recognizing it. Another milestone out of hundreds such transactions in the world 46 are from our country.

Those senior people sitting before me know how power corridors were infested, how work was leveraged what was the role of middlemen. Now thanks to governance policies and initiatives, Thanks to focus on transparency and accountability our  power corridor has been sanitised  of brokers who extra legally leverage governance to secure decisions and judgments. Gone are the days as a matter of fact, they have been consigned to the dustbin of history with no hope of revival. IMF, an acknowledged body recognised our digital development I quote what it said “world class digital public infrastructure, serving as a model for other nations undergoing digital transformation”. Another instance that will make all of us very proud and that is as a result of contribution by all segments of the society and thanks to effective governance policies and initiatives and vision of the Hon’ble, Prime Minister, India has over 850 million smartphones Internet users, the Indians has amazing capacity to become eklavya and learn skills without formal tutoring and the result of this is the per capita mobile data consumption last year exceeded consumption of China and the USA taken together.

Friends, I was elected to Parliament for the first time in 1989 and I was a Union Minister. I am fully aware of the situation that existed then. The nation has transformed itself being amongst the fragile five economies to being the top five economies in the world. Traversing from fragile five, to top five is an account of vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister being executed with the efforts of all. This is a proud moment for all of us to share.

Look around the global you will find India is the favorite destination and opportunity, everyone agrees about it, wherever you go in the world you find being an Indian, being holder of Indian passport, now has a different meaning. It has a magic meaning, people would love to interact with you this big historic change has come about because the growth of India has been propelled by concern of the men in the last line. Efforts have been made successfully to ensure the village has that technological empowerment as the metro and that's a ground reality. India is in glorious moment of history. Our phenomena unprecedented and rise is a defining moment of the century. This century belongs to India and is already being felt and when India rises, there will be global harmony, global peace, globally stability. No country can boast of civilizational ethos of 1000s of years our cultural diversity, our cultural wealth, is unrivaled  on a global horizon. Recently, in last decade, a series of systemic reforms and affirmative governance measures have been taken to ensure there is exponential growth in infrastructure. I did not tell this audience you have seen it on the ground. We used to look around at highways in that country development in that country. Now we look in our country. Others look at us. Those who used to advise us on development at a point of time are seeking our advice. This is a welcome change. Thanks to the leadership and our people.

Entire world is eager to partner with India. Could you ever imagine the kind of visit the success of it with the honorable Prime Minister had in the United States? In France? in UAE? in last two weeks, how impactful it was and his address to Congress and Senate in the US was that of a global statesman. Our Prime Minister is reckoned as a global statesman, whose voice is always for sanity and welfare of humanity. It was he who said we are not living in an era of expansion, a historic declaration by India's Prime Minister and with respect to an issue going, recently, for a year or so. He made no declaration,  except war is no solution to a problem dialogue and diplomacy alone how to secure it. India's relevance in global resolution of issues was never so prominent as it is today. But friends when India grows, when you avail opportunities, when you make impact or around there are challenges also. Your Progress can't delight everyone.

There are pernicious forces with sinister design, who tend to tarnish and demean your institutions your growth. Unfortunately, some of them are amongst us. I appeal to young minds to take initiatives and neutralize these forces by your actions , I have no doubt you all will do it. When the present norms and governance mechanism is transparency and accountability, where corruption has no place that being so stakeholders in corruption have converged into a group they are marshalling all forces to find cover and escape. We owe to the nation. All of us, each one of us, particularly the youth,  corruption means your growth impeded, Corruption means your opportunities curtailed, Corruption means Patronages  taking main stage, all antithetical to equitable growth and equal opportunities. we owe to the nation to ensure there is no dilution or zero tolerance for corruption. It is soothing to note that all escape routes of violators of law, whomsoever they may be. No one can claim to be about low. Whatever lineages you may have, whatever position you may have. You are accountable to law because we are a democracy run by law.  All avenues have been largely plugged. But it is concerning then, when judicial processes set in motion, when law is taking its own course, Why Should those feeling the heat of law take to streets? It is for you all to think we have a robust mechanism of redress of grievance in judicial system. If someone suffers a notice from court from an urgency, the only way opening a new democracy is to take recourse to lawful means. Certainly not to take it to streets.  Street demonstration to challenge the rule of law is not a hallmark of a good governance or  a democracy of nature. I'm sure the young minds will focus on it. Do all they can do in what is in their mind to see that these forces are discouraged.

Friends, vision and execution of Prime Minister be in the field of infrastructure or in field of technology has been at unprecedented speed and scale. I'll tell you, the new Parliament building less than two and half years, people will think that building has come up, I can tell you much more than that has come up, everything inside, So many factors were taken into consideration the best of technology, you could never have imagined that this could be attained in such a short period at a time when along with the world we were also facing pandemic COVID. Friends you all are feeling the positive impact of it as a consequence of series of governmental policies and initiatives. We have an ecosystem in place now, that allows every young mind to unleash his or her energy to channelize that to exploit potential and talent and to realize their dreams and aspirations. During our time, we didn't have that ecosystem. We had to struggle largely. But now if you have an idea, the system helps you enormously something which we could not have thought of. As warriors of 2047, I urge you all young minds, dedicate yourself to find a solutions to challenges facing our country. You must draw upon insights instilled by your alma mater and utilize them to contribute towards nation building. It was emphasised by the hon’ble Vice Chancellor the importance of education I would invite a reflection by Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, what he said “Education should be so revolutionised as to answer the wants of the poorest villagers” I think this is the ultimate test and that is exactly what is happening. when in every house you have electricity. Every house has a gas connection. Every house has a Nal (Tap )connection that is being accomplished. The dream of Mahatma Gandhi has been realised when India is in its present kal.

As citizen of the largest democracy home to 1/6 of the humanity. It is a duty of every citizen especially the youth to ensure that our country's natural resources, whether water petroleum minerals are optimally utilised for development and economic activities. Now, I wonder myself and I'm sure you will share my concern. How can use of these resources be determined by your pocket? Your pocket can determine what kind of house you have, what kind of furniture you have. But when it comes to utilisation of these resources, natural resources, all of us are trustees of those resources there has to be equitable distribution of them and therefore, let us have a culture that utilisation of natural resources will be optimal as per  your need not certainly as per your financial capacity.

Friends, this is a great university, its on the rise, I would therefore invite your attention that in similar theatres outside this country they have become breeding grounds to set a foot anti-India narrative.

In the process, they use our students, our faculty members, this cannot be allowed. I'm not saying you'll be blind in every governmental action, be discreet, be judgmental, be inquisitive focus on objectivity and then deal with such situations. It is surprising that those who have had the occasion to serve this country in one position or the other, the moment they lose their position they turn nelsons eye to the great advancement which our country is making all around. I'm sure young minds will take note of this, take proactive steps and Jamia is the right place, very impressionable young minds will catalyse an ecosystem where  such anti-national narratives in the country or abroad will not only be neutralised but decimated such misinformation cannot be allowed to be traded.

Friends, today’s convocation is indeed a moment of great pride and satisfaction for you, your families and Jamia Millia Islamia, the institution that nurtured you throughout your academic journey. Today, you will become part of prestigious alumni some of who are represents here. With this  comes a tremendous responsibility as you step out in the world, to make your mark, you carry a tag and you carry a tag of being a degree holder from an institution that is more than a century old. You have a promising career, promising future but do not get into the canal mode. I often say a Canal is  drawn on a paper be like a river, meander, choose your own path, act as per inclinations and aptitude. Never allow to be dictated when it comes to your idea. Never have the fear of failure the moment you have fear of the failure you will not be intrepid or enterprising and that the nation cannot afford that our young people are not impudent in their action mode. If you have an idea  I beseech you I call upon you, please act on it, and trust me no one has succeeded with an idea in the first instance. An attempt was made to land on the moon but was it successful in the first instance and that happens with a number of historic developments that really cater to the needs of humanity as never before.

I would invite your attention to note Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and what he said ”To succeed your mission and mind you he was a man of action. He was involved with ISRO”. He had his failures, he has reflected on them, if youngsters would look at his failures in ISRO ,the failures were success in future....stepping stone to success that made him what he is remembered for.  “To succeed in your mission. You must have single minded devotion to your goal”. As mentioned by him on another occasion, I again quote “Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended” but those who only dream have a good idea in their mind allow their mind to be a parking space for dreams, Ideas are not impactful in the history. You will have to be impactful all of you till the end and all like you. We must always remember a distinction that is unique to us. We are the largest oldest democracy that is functional at all levels. I'll tell you, no country in the world can take pride. That it has structured constitutional democracy of the kind we have. Our constitution provides for democracy at the village level, constitution, at the Panchayat level, Panchayat Samiti level, zilla parishad level and of course, we are at the state level and the central level.

Core democracy values are deeply embedded in our civilizational ethos, they always guide us and that is why under the Indian Presidency of G20. The motto is one earth, one family one future and we demonstrate it, when the world was witnessing pandemic we had COVID maitri taking care of our 1.3 billion people. We were also helping several other countries with Covaxin that justifies and vindicates the moto at the end. Friends, a concern I must share with you. The elite intelligentsia is present here, young minds are present here, some from Parliament are also here. What is democracy? Democracy is all about dialogue. Discussion, deliberation and debate to secure your public good. Surely, democracy can't be disturbance. It can't be disruption. Disruption and disturbance  are antithetical to essence of democratic values. I am pained anguished to indicate to you all that disturbance and disruption have been weaponized as a strategic means to taint  the temples of democracy that should be functional 24*7 to secure justice for the people at large.

There can be no alibi for not making Parliament functional every second people of this country are paying huge price for it. But I'm not on the financial implication of it. I want the larger issue when there is disruption in Parliament or particular day, there can't be question hour, question our is a mechanism to generate accountability and transparency in governance. The government is obligated to respond to every question and to the supplements that are raised. This goes to enormous benefit of governance. Everyone is on track. Not having a question hour can never be rationalised.

When you think in terms of democratic values and good governance.

दोस्तों आज के हालात कितने विचित्र हो गए हैं, असहमति तो स्वाभाविक है, यह आवश्यक नहीं है कि हम हर बात पर सहमत हों, अलग-अलग विचार हो सकते हैं, पर असहमति को विरोध में बदलना जनतंत्र के लिय अभिशाप से कम नहीं है।भारतीय संस्कृति और सभ्यता की मूल भावना से मेल नहीं खाता यह।असहमति को विरोध मत मानो, संवाद की डोर मनवाता और प्रजातंत्र की जीवन डोर है।

if they cut off communication whether in the family or society and of course it has draconian consequences if such disconnect is there in temples of democracy.

 इसमें खिंचाव और गाँठ जन कल्याण के लिय हितकारी नहीं हो सकते हैं, एक छत के नीचे विरोध और असहमति स्वाभाविक है। विरोध का प्रतिशोध में बदलना प्रजातंत्र के लिय हितकारी नहीं है।
इसका एक ही निदान है- संवाद और विचार - विमर्श 

 I'm sure it is obligation for every citizen of the larger democracy to generate an ecosystem.

Your voice matters more than anything else.You are the greatest stakeholders in growth of this country and blossoming of democracy.

 प्रजातंत्र में प्रतिघात का कोई स्थान नहीं है - यही हमारी हज़ारों साल की संस्कृति का अमृत है।

Friends, I will conclude, I leave you with a thought and the thought was imparted to the nation by architect of Indian constitution, Dr. Ambedkar and that was when he was addressing the constituent assembly on the last day. His concluding address to the constituent assembly on 25th November 1949  and what he said, I never forget what he said. I would not say more. I would only quote him

“It is not that India was never an independent country. The point is that she once lost the independence she had. Will she lose it a second time? What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of some her own people."

We cannot allow this to happen. We have to be truthful to our founding fathers. We have to believe in the nation. We can not have any other culture except to put the nation always ahead of anything else. And this is not optional. This is not imperative. This is the only way to ensure our democracy blossoms and prospers.

Friends, I compliment all the graduating students, the teachers and parents, may JMI continue to scale greater heights in the years to come. I have no doubt, it will keep on rising higher and higher. And the medical college and the hospital will surely be of the highest benchmark on a global horizon.

Jai Hind!



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