Approach tribals with respect and sensitivity: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to policy makers
India's Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, addressing the 50th convocation of Utkal University in Bhubaneswar, stressed the need to bring back great Indian tradition of holistic education.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has urged India’s policy makers to approach the tribals in the country with respect and sensitivity, saying the country has a lot to learn from the tribal communities who live a simple life in harmony with nature. He also called upon the youths to fight against social evils like gender discrimination, casteism, communalism and corruption.
The vice president was addressing the 50th convocation of Utkal University in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on April 3. He reminded the students of the varsity India’s glorious tradition of global education and urged them to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Naidu stated 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. He asked the universities and educational institutions in the country to equip the students with 21st century skills so that they can emerge as job creators.
“The aim of education is not only cognitive development, but also building character and creating holistic and well-rounded individuals equipped with the key 21st century skills”, he said.
Pointing out that Odisha is home to 62 different tribal communities who constitute 23 per cent of the state’s total population, Naidu called for according priority to their development and welfare.
“We should approach the tribals with respect and sensitivity… 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.
The vice president highlighted 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.
Naidu 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.
Drawing attention to the regular occurrence of natural disasters like cyclones, floods and droughts in the State, Naidu called for making disaster management an integral part of the education from early days. “This would prepare us better to face any such calamity in future,” he opined.
Talking about the rich culture and history of Odisha, Naidu said 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. Noting the glorious maritime traditions of Kalinga, he lauded the daring sea-faring merchants of Kalinga who established trade links with several countries, including Sri Lanka, Java, Sumatra, Bali and Burma.
Lauding the skills and entrepreneurship of Kalinga’s boatmen and traders, the Vice President urged the younger generation to take inspiration from them.
Naidu also mentioned about Odisha's Bhaumakara dynasty that had a long succession of women rulers in 9th -10th century. Calling it a shining example of women empowerment, he urged 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.
He also asked the students to be sensitive to the needs of the excluded. Terming the youth as the key for change, he urged them to fight hunger, disease, ignorance and every other evil that retard the nation’s growth.
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”.
Calling Utkal University as the educational lodestone of Odisha, the Vice President appreciated it for maintaining high educational standards.