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Naidu Lauds Utkal University

Bhubaneswar: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today called upon the youth to take inspiration from India’s glorious past and imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.

He also asked the universities and educational institutions to equip the students with 21st century skills so that they can emerge as job creators.

Addressing the 50th convocation of Utkal University in Bhubaneswar, Odisha today, the Vice President reminded the students and faculty of India’s glorious tradition of international education. Citing the examples of ancient Indian institutions such as Takshashila, Nalanda, Vallabhi and Vikramashila, he emphasised the need to bring back this great Indian tradition to create well-rounded and innovative individuals who can transform the country both socially and economically.

On this occasion, the Vice President presented the Honoris Causa conferred by Utkal University on five eminent personalities, namely – Shaktikanta Das, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Girish Chandra Murmu, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Kumari Justice Sanju Panda, Orissa High Court, Ajit Kumar Mohanty, Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, Advisor, Government of Odisha.

Governor of Odisha and the Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ganeshi Lal, Minister, Higher Education, Arun Kumar Sahoo, Vice Chancellor, Utkal University, Sabita Acharya, Registrar, Utkal University, Avaya Kumar Nayak, professors, staff, parents, students and others were present during the event.

Mentioning that Odisha is home to 62 different tribal communities who constitute 23% of the state’s total population, Mr.Naidu called for according priority to their development and welfare. Stressing that we should approach the tribals with respect and sensitivity, he said that paternalistic attitude towards tribals is wrong. “Truth is that we have a lot to learn from the tribal communities who live a simple life in harmony with nature”, he added.

In this regard, the Vice President also cited a study by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI) that revealed that the tribal population in Odisha was largely untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic mainly because of the unique customary practices and traditions of tribes such as walking in rows (instead of groups) and eating (immunity boosting) natural food.

He suggested that such positive aspects of tribal communities should be highlighted and included in the school curriculum. He also wanted the institutions like Utkal University to take up research on issues faced by tribals and actively contribute to policy formation for their development and well-being.

Talking about the rich culture and history of Odisha, the Vice President said that the great land of Kalinga taught the lesson of peace to Emperor Ashoka and the kings who ruled over this land were instrumental in building cross-cultural links with South East Asia.

In his address, Mr.Naidu also mentioned about Odisha’s Bhaumakara dynasty that had a long succession of women rulers in 9th -10th century. Calling it shining example of women empowerment, he urged upon the younger generation to read about such stories and pledge to fight against gender discrimination as well as other social evils like casteism, communalism and corruption.

Stating that the day of convocation marks an important day in a student’s life, the Vice President asked them to nurture their personal competencies such as— passion, perseverance, tenacity and an open mind to learn— for a successful and fulfilling life ahead. He congratulated the passing out students and wanted them to “become creators of the future”.