President Pranab Mukherjee today said universities and institutions of higher learning must be bastions of free speech and expression and debates should be encouraged.
At the first convocation of Nalanda University, he said the varsity reflects an idea, a culture which flourished for 1,200 years before it was destroyed in the 13th century.
He said that over the years, India has conveyed the message of friendship, cooperation, debate and discussions through the institutions of higher learning.
“Dr Amartya Sen in his book ‘The Argumentative India’ has correctly pointed out that debate and discussion is the ethos, a part of Indian life which cannot be done away with.
“Universities and institutes of higher learning are the best forum for debates, discussions, free exchange of views …such atmosphere should be encouraged,” Mukherjee said.
He said the modern Nalanda should ensure that this great tradition finds new life and vigour within its precincts.
“Universities must be bastions of free speech and expression. It (Nalanda) must be the arena where diverse and conflicting thoughts contend. There should be no room for intolerance, prejudice and hatred within the spaces of this institution. Further, it must act as the flag bearer for co-existence of multiple views, thoughts and philosophies,” he said.
Mukherjee asked the students, who passed out of the varsity today, to progress in life, leaving behind “all narrowness of minds and constricting thoughts”.
The ruins of the ancient university are located close to the new campus. The MoU on the establishment of Nalanda University has so far been signed by 13 East Asia Summit participating countries and four non-EAS countries.