Address of Mizoram Governor on the 14th & 15th Convocation of MZU

Address of the Hon’ble Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai on the Occasion of the 14th & 15th Convocation of Mizoram University on February 27, 2021

Prof. KRS Sambasiva Rao, Vice Chancellor
Prof. J.K Patnaik, Pro Vice Chancellor
Prof. Lalnundanga, Registrar
Faculty and staff of Mizoram University
My dear students and scholars

I feel privileged to be the Chief Guest at this 14th and 15th Convocation of Mizoram University. As Chief Rector of the University, I am extremely delighted to be in your midst. As we all know, the whole world is undergoing a difficult and challenging period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of various constraints, I am happy that we are able to organize today’s convocation.
I have learned that Mizoram University is still a relatively young university, having been functional from the year 2001. But within a short period of time, it has become one of the best universities not only in the North East, but in the whole of India as well.  According to the National Institutional Ranking Framework by the Government of India, Mizoram University has been ranked 67 in the country for the year 2020. This is a remarkable achievement, considering the fact that there are hundreds of universities throughout India. This high ranking has come about due to the cumulative efforts of all stakeholders since its inception, and especially due to the current administration. For that, I congratulate the Vice Chancellor, and all of you who have contributed in different ways.
It has been more than a year since I assumed the office of the Governor of Mizoram. In that time, I have travelled extensively throughout the State. In fact, I was on the verge of visiting all the districts, when my travel plans were disrupted by the pandemic. From my travels and my interaction with people across various sections of the society, I have observed that the people of Mizoram are generally law-abiding, have great civic sense and live a vibrant community life. The State is blessed with an excellent climate, abundant natural resources and a peaceful atmosphere.
However, I am of the opinion that Mizoram is yet to fulfil its true potential. I do realize that there are many talented individuals from the State, who have achieved success at the national and even international level. I also appreciate the fact that we are performing admirably in various human development indicators, such as literacy, sex ratio, infant and maternal mortality rate, etc. But you will all agree that that there is still so much more to do in terms of economic development, industrialization, revenue generation, employment opportunities, etc. It is here that all of you, the educated and creamy layer of the society, have to take the leading role.
As I have already mentioned, we are fortunate that our State has a lot of untapped wealth waiting to be explored. We have conditions suitable for the flourishing of agriculture, horticulture, and allied activities. The scenic beauty of the State and the clean environment are ideal for tourism to thrive. Likewise, raw materials are available for the setting up of industries and factories. In all these, Mizoram urgently requires entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, who are willing to lead from the front. All of you gifted and bright scholars must be the torch-bearers in this march towards prosperity.
Today, I congratulate all of the hardworking students who are being awarded with degrees. With this success, you are embarking upon another exciting chapter of your lives. I am sure you all understand that acquiring degrees is not the only aim of education. Rather, these degrees and laurels must become the inspiration for more success, which will enable you to continue to be valuable contributors in the society.
It was Swami Vivekananda who said, “Education is the manifestation of perfection already existing in man”. The goal of education must not be merely the accumulation of information, or simply getting an employment. True education should help in bringing out the innate qualities of individuals, and help them realize their true potential. Therefore, it is up to you to utilize the teachings and wisdom you have received from your professors and from your own experiences. You must aim to become active agents for positive change in the society.
As we all know, the whole world has been abruptly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has affected all spheres of our lives, be it social, economic, or political. The global economy has been hit massively, which has inevitably taken a toll on our country’s economy as well. Here in Mizoram too, we have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. However, we must not be resigned to defeat in the face of hardship. On the contrary, we must turn these challenges into opportunities.
Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji has given an inspirational call for an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, or a ‘Self-Reliant India’. This exhortation is especially relevant in the context of Mizoram. Although it is painful to admit, it is no secret that we are lagging behind on so many fronts. The sad reality is that our State Budget relies heavily on funding from the Centre. Our primary sector continues to be largely primitive, as we continue with the ecologically unsustainable shifting cultivation. It remains a fact that we are producing only around 33% of our rice requirement, which is our staple food. Till date, industrial production has failed to really take off on a mass scale.
However, as I have already mentioned, our State is endowed with immense potential, which can definitely help us to become self-sufficient and even more prosperous than we are today. For example, in the case of bamboo, which is such a valuable commodity that it sometimes referred to as ‘green gold’, we have one of the largest bamboo reserves in the country, waiting to be effectively utilized. And speaking of turning challenges into opportunities, I am certain we all remember the immense scarcity of essential commodities that we faced during the lockdown periods. It came to my notice that during those difficult periods, although the people out here consume meat heavily, even meat itself was in short supply. From this illustration alone, I am sure you will understand that there are so many opportunities which we are yet to fully grab in our attempt towards self-reliance and self-sufficiency.
Coming to another point, as informed members of the community, I urge you to broaden your horizons, and to teach others to be more outward-looking and accommodating in their approach. In this highly globalized world that we now live in, which is also known as a ‘global village’, we must understand that no community or group of people can progress in isolation. If we confine and limit ourselves to only Mizoram, the rest of the Nation and indeed the world will quickly pass us by. We must learn to appreciate and assimilate the best practices of other cultures, and use them for the continuous betterment of our own State. While our thinking should undoubtedly be local, we must also concurrently learn to think nationally, and even globally.
As I feel that today’s gathering would be the proper forum, I would also like to share with you my deep concern regarding some of the problems afflicting our society, such as substance abuse, and lifestyle diseases like HIV and cancer. It is unfortunate that Mizoram holds some dubious records in the country in these unwanted cases. As responsible citizens, I make a sincere request that you become trendsetters and models for healthy living in front of your peers, and also the whole community. A ‘Self-Reliant Mizoram’ cannot be achieved without a ‘Healthy Mizoram’.
On another note, I wish to say a few words regarding the historic National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, announced by the Union Government. This New Policy actively seeks to make India a global knowledge superpower. The NEP 2020 is firmly rooted in our glorious ancient Indian ethos, encompassing temporal as well as spiritual attributes. It has been designed in such a way that it meets both the local and global needs of the country. As our Hon’ble Prime Minister has said, the new National Education Policy will help foster scientific temper.
It is my firm belief that this century, the 21st Century, will belong to India. By this, I do not mean military expansion or invasion. Rather, our contributions in the world since ancient times have always been in terms of knowledge and philosophy. The youth of the Nation, including those of Mizoram, have to lead us in this march towards global leadership. As knowledgeable and energetic sections of the society, you are important stakeholders in this service for our Motherland. It is my fervent appeal to all of you to use all your might and wisdom for the achievement of a strong and confident ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
As I come to the end of my speech, I once again congratulate all the students who have been awarded with their degrees and special honours. You must not rest upon these laurels, but rather use them as stepping-stones to achieve further success for yourselves, for the State of Mizoram, and for the Indian Nation. I also place on record my appreciation to the Vice Chancellor and the University Administration for having successfully organized this Convocation.
Finally, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, I encourage all of you to “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” And lastly, I leave you with the message by Swami Vivekananda, “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.”
Thank you for you kind attention.
Jai Hind.

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