Rajkot: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that through the new National Education Policy (NEP), a forward-looking and futuristic education system was being created in India for the first time, and accused the past governments of not doing anything to regain the country’s lost glory due to their “slave mentality”.
Modi, who was addressing the 75th ‘Amrut Mahotsav’ of Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul at Rajkot via video link, also said the number of premier educational institutions like IITs, IIMs and medical colleges in the country increased substantially after 2014, the year when his government came to power at the Centre for the first time.
Hailing India’s ancient ‘gurukul’ (residential schooling) system of education, the prime minister said knowledge has been the highest purpose of life in the country, and added that saints and spiritual leaders helped revive the country’s lost glory in the field of education.
“You know very well that for India’s bright future, our existing education policy and institutes have a big role to play. Therefore, in this ‘amrit kaal’ of independence, whether it is about country’s educational infrastructure or policy, we are engaged in work at every level at a fast pace,” he said.
The number of premier educational institutions like IITs, IIITs, IIMs and AIIMS is increasing substantially. After 2014, the number of medical colleges has seen more than 65 per cent rise, Modi said.
“Through the new education policy, the country is for the first time preparing an education system which is forward-looking and futuristic,” he added.
When the country became independent, it was our responsibility to revive India’s ancient glory and our great pride in the field of education, he said.
“But under the pressure of the slave mentality, the governments did not move in that direction. And in some matters they went in the reverse direction. In these circumstances, once again our saints and acharyas took up the task of fulfilling this duty towards the country. Swaminarayan Gurukul is a living example of this opportunity,” he said.
Modi said that India showed the way to the world by carrying out research in the fields ranging from ‘atma tattva’ to ‘paramatma tattva’, from spirituality to ayurveda, from social science to solar science, from maths to metallurgy, and from zero to infinity. Women scholars debated with their men counterparts at a time when the term ‘gender equality’ was not even born, he said.
“India showed light to humanity in those dark times, offering rays from which the journey of the modern world and modern science started,” he said.
The gurukuls of those periods paved the way for the world by allowing women scholars like Gargi and Maitreyi to be involved in debates there, he said.
Knowledge has been the highest purpose of life in India. Therefore, in the period when other countries were identified with kingdoms and royal clans, India was known by its gurukuls, he said.
“Our gurukuls have been like a garden of equality, affection and service for centuries. Universities like Nalanda and Takshashila used to be synonymous with the global glory of this gurukul tradition of India. Discovery and research – they were part of India’s way of life. Today, the diversity and cultural prosperity we see in the country are results of the same discoveries and innovations,” he said.
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The ideal citizens and youths raised on a better education system will work to realise the dream of a developed India in 2047 when India celebrates a century of independence.
The efforts of institutions like Sri Swaminarayan Gurukul will certainly be vital, he said.
Modi urged Swaminarayan Gurukul to send 100-150 volunteers to north-eastern states for 15 days every year and meet youths there, introduce themselves and write about them.
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