In dealing with present-day challenges, one can draw inspiration from the ancient universities of Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi which had set high standards of teaching and research, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Wednesday. Addressing the fourth annual convocation of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, he said said Indian scholars of today should try to create an original body of knowledge which would be useful in dealing with contemporary global challenges.
"In dealing with today's challenges, we can draw inspiration from universities in Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi which had set high standards of teaching and research. Scholars and students from all across the world came to those centres to attain specialised knowledge," Kovind said at the convocation ceremony.
That ancient system, which had many elements of modernity, produced great scholars such as Charaka, Aryabhata, Chanakya, Panini, Patanjali, Gargi, Maitreyi and Thiruvalluvar.
They made invaluable contributions to medical science, mathematics, astronomy, grammar and social development, he said.
"Today's Indian scholars should try to create such an original body of knowledge which is utilised for dealing with contemporary global challenges.
JNU is among those select institutions of higher learning which can reach globally comparable excellence," the President said.
About the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the whole world is in a state of crisis because of it.
"In the prevailing scenario of epidemics and pandemics, the National Education Policy 2020 states that it is critical for higher education institutions to take the lead in undertaking research in areas of infectious diseases, epidemiology, virology, diagnostics, instrumentation, vaccinology and other relevant areas," Kovind said.
"Related social issues also need to be studied, preferably with multi-disciplinary approach. In this endeavour, universities like JNU should be at the forefront in developing specific hand-holding mechanisms and promote innovation among student communities," he added.
The President said all shades of Indian culture are reflected in JNU.
"Names of buildings, hostels, roads and facilities on the campus are drawn from Indian heritage. This represents a cultural and geographical picture of India at its best. This Indianness is JNU's," he said.