TO commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of “Swami Vivekananda Sardh Shati Samaroh Samiti’’ (SVSSSS) organised a unique two-day National Conference of Vice Chancellors on ‘Swami Vivekananda on Education – Vision for National Resurgence’ om November 16 & 17 in New Delhi. The two-day conference was attended by Vice-Chancellors, Chancellors and Directors of Central, State, deemed and private universities and various renowned educationists from all over the country. The motive of the conference was to discuss the ways of implementing Swamiji’s vision for education.
At the inaugural session, Dr. Anil Kakodkar (former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission) shared his experience and said in our education system something is seriously wrong, we are still suffering from a sense of inferiority. He said Swamiji’s teachings of inculcating self-confidence in people are more relevant today. He further added that India needs to make path-breaking inventions in various fields.
Chief Guest Dr. MM Pallam Raju (Union HRD Minister) said Swami Vivekananda called it a sin to neglect the upliftment and education of masses; he also stressed on learning Sanskrit by all the people in the country.
Former Secretary General of Lok Sabha and Hon. Chairman of the SVSSSS Dr. Subhash Kashyap said unfortunately today man has been reduced to the level of a mere commodity and is evaluated in terms of GDP and GNP only. This degradation is against the teachings of Swamiji who considered the aim of education to be man making. Quoting Swami Vivekananda he further said that like European renaissance came after 100 enlightened individuals, similarly Swamiji felt that 100 enlightened souls can rebuild India.
Former Principal of BMCC, Pune and Secretary of SVSSSS Prof. Aniruddha Deshpande in the theme presentation said to find out the way of realising the vision of Swamiji for education, is the theme of this programme. Former IPS and President of Sardh Shati Samaroh Samiti Delhi Shri. R. S. Gupta also shared the dais.
The inaugural function was followed by various sessions on different themes. In the session on ‘Man Making and National Resurgence’ guest speaker Dr. Pranav Pandya (Chancellor of Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar) said it’s said no notable scientific inventions are being done in our country. He said Swamiji always reprimanded those who adhered to meaningless rituals and wanted to open a Vedic University with the help of Jamshedji Tata. Dr. Pandya said the time is changing rapidly and the vision of Swami Vivekananda of national resurgence must be realised by all of us. The chairman of the session Prof. Thimme Gowda (VC, Bangalore University) said his University is planning to add Swamiji’s teachings in the curriculum of graduate and undergraduate courses.
In the second session, guest speaker Ku. Nivedita Bhide (Vice President, Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari) spoke on the topic ‘Purpose of Life and Character Building’ and presented Swamiji’s ideology on this. The session was presided over by Shri. Sacchidanand Joshi (VC of Kushabhau Thakre Patrakarita Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur). VCs and educationists from various universities also presented their views in the session and discussed how teachers can contribute in it. Shri. Joshi said that teachers must follow the example of high and noble character Swami Vivekananda.
In the following session on ‘Relevance of Swamiji’s Teachings in Education’ Swamiji Atmapriyananda (Chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Ramakrishna University, Kolkata) quoting extensively from various religious texts presented Indian and Swamiji’s vision of education. He said knowledge is of no use if it cannot help us in handling currents and cross currents of life. Chairman of the session Prof. Harshadbhai Shah (VC of Children’s University, Gandhinagar) said Swamiji wanted an education that can build man of character and strength.
The session on ‘Content and Research’ was presided by Dr. Meena Chandawarkar (VC, Karnataka State Women’s University, Bijapur) and the guest speaker was Dr. Venkat Rangan (VC, Amrita University, Coimbatore). Dr. Rangan told how the students of his University do social services like cleaning of public places so that they can get an idea of the adverse effects of modernisation. Dr. Meena Chandawarkar said change IT from ‘Information Technology’ to ‘India’s Tomorrow’. Various other lectures on different themes were also conducted. Lecture on the theme ‘Universal Brotherhood’ was delivered by Dr. A. K. Singh (Director, School of Translation Studies and Training, IGNOU), lecture on ‘Personality Development’ was delivered by Dr. M. K. Shridhar (Director and Dean of Canara Bank Management School, Bengaluru). Smt. Leena Mehendale (CIC, Goa) spoke on ‘Women Education’ and Dr. Joram Begi (Director, Higher and Technical Education, Arunachal Pradesh) spoke on ‘Education for Underprivileged’.
On November 17, a special lecture on ‘Science and Spirituality’ was organised. Dr. Vijay Bhatkar (Chairman of Board of Directors, IIT Delhi) delivered the lecture. He spoke on various aspects of how science, especially computers, is in the tune with the spirituality. He said Indian vision has never separated science from spirituality. Chairman of the function Dr. D. P. Lokwani (VC, MP Medical University, Jabalpur) said Swamiji was the only person in recent history who was spiritually scientific and scientifically spiritual.