Presidential Address by Chancellor

Presidential Address by Chancellor

The Sanskrit equivalence of graduation, that is, ‘snatak’ was used in ancient education system, as a procedure to be completed after education and finally taking leave of the teacher (Guru) to go back home. Graduating students used to take a final dip in the river (bathing) praying for epitomising all virtues of knowledge becoming clean in body and mind(tak= tan + mon) to strongly hold light of wisdom. To understand the etymological meaning of ‘snatak’ we may take the help of the following story.

In good old days in one very chilly winter morning in a village in Bengal, an old gentleman having dressed in white cloth till his knee but wrapped with a very costly kashmiri shawl around his body and chappal on his feet, came out and was feeling to take tea in the wayside small tea shop. The small shop keeper was himself dazing because of such a personality coming to take tea in his so small shop. The shopkeeper comforted him and made him seat on the makeshift bench made of bamboos on the roadside.

A gentleman came to the place at the time. He was well dressed in white ‘dhuti-punjabi’ and having a black polished pump shoe on his feet with white socks. Admittedly he was looking like a ‘bengali babu’.

On the other side of the village road there was a beggar not having any iota of cloth on his body in that cold weather and he had only a dirty and torn piece of cloth ostensibly to cover some lower parts of his body. In that morning hours he begged a penny from the Bengali Babu. The gentleman kept himself in safe distance with his nose covered with a handkerchief, turning round so as to not have to see the beggar. He took out a coin from his purse and threw the pie towards the beggar from safe distance. He then came to the tea-shop as he was himself keen to sip a cup.

The Oldman asked, ‘You seem to be a stranger in this village! Where are you coming from in this morning hours?’

Babu responded, “I am from neighbouring village Alampur. I came to meet a person who has come here from Calcutta. I am told that he is very influential and can recommend one for the Hindu School!”
“Who and what are you”, the old man asked.

I am Bimalananda Chatterjee, son of Shri Umapada Chatterjee of Alampur. I am a graduate in Sanskrit”. He again repeated, I am a ‘snatak’ of Calcutta University!

The old man suddenly shouted, “No, never, you cannot be a’snatak’! You know what is the meaning of this word? It is ‘the bath’ to purify one’s body and mind before one is graduated from Guru’s house! You still have obnoxious feelings about human being! You even did not look at the person whom you threw a pie from distance! You cannot be ‘snatak’ by any means!”

Throwing these words angrily the old man left the place, but before going, he passionately went to the bagger and with love wrapped him up with that shawl and empty bodied went quickly towards his home.

The Babu asked the tea vender, “who is this man?”

He was amazed, “You do not know this great man? He is Pundit IshwarchandraVidyasagar, indeed!”

The man broke down, “Ha, what I have done! He is the person whom I wanted to meet here this morning, because he can only help me getting the teaching assignment in that school! What is the use now meeting him! I have to walk back without meeting him!”

“No, No, go to him and beg apology! He is very kind hearted! You will get the job!” the tea vender consoled.

Today you have that occasion when you have to take a bath in the boundless ocean of knowledge and feel yourself a person with eminent possibility to steer growth & development yet feeling that how insignificant we all are in the realm of knowledge, how we know and realise every day how little we know! A realization of this, takes you to a greater height. You are graduating from this Alma Mater, which will always endear you as the mother does to her child! You leave your Alma Mater vacating your place for the younger generation. This is how generation after generation come here to seat under this ‘Bodhi brikh’, the ‘tree of wisdom’ to spend a few years of your spacious life picking up friendship with some of your lifetime dear ones, away from your sweet home, collecting the pebbles in the shore of the ocean of knowledge and wisdom.

KIIT University is not yet another deemed University! It is different from all other public and private Universities because the University provides its students a basic human value in life, the art of giving. Here 27,000 students of the University equally share the experience of a tremendous social experiment, unique in its kind throughout the world and demonstrate that “Education is Empowerment,” a dream of the Founder of this University. His dream brings thousands of the families of indigenous community to the mainstream of the country and shows the world that they are as much important as is any other urban and rural community of the country.  If all Schools of the University make a necklace, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences is the diamond in the centre. KIIT University is the pride of Odisha, nay, of the entire country.

Each of the graduating students is the ambassador of the University at the place you serve. It is your reputation at your work place, batch after batch, that make the future of the coming generation bright. Networking of alumnus of the University brings the two classes of people together in an effort of organized job market. These two sections of the people are, one from industries, trade and commerce in the form of enterprises creating opportunities to the younger generations, and the other, younger generations from the University to completely cease the opportunity to run the country through the trajectory of growth.  University like one of yours is the place where such festival of ‘opportunities’ and country’s younger generations of human being, does take place year after year.

About a year back I had the occasion to visit Dalhousie University, one of the northernmost Universities in Canada, a serene and beautiful campus. In a chilly afternoon one day when I was criss-crossing through open landscapes, someone straight came and touched my feet in sheer exuberance and ecstasy! He perhaps could not believe himself that his teacher was in front of him! He perhaps seldom experienced that someone from his motherland, Odisha would be in front of him, leave aside his teacher! I was also really surprised that there was one of our graduating students from KIIT gone that far and became a member of the faculty. I was proud to have taught him in his undergraduate class here in KIIT. He told me that he encouraged year after year his juniors to apply to this University for higher studies and research mainly because education was far cheaper here and some of the University Departments were top class in the world with highest benchmarks. This is how there happens the networking and generation after generation reap the benefit through peer-group network. Wherever you go feel proud of your Alma Matter and contribute in whatever manner you can, towards the betterment of the coming generation of students.

If you really understand how a penny-less child living in that wretched condition could one day build up such a sprawling multi faculty University of this size and dimension within such a short period, you can surely realise the centre of his strength. And once you discover that spirit in you, nothing would be impossible for you to aspire for. I earnestly wish you all to realise the dream of that tallest person of Odisha who constantly fights against all odds to establish his life’s mission, to impart education that only can empower the people of Odisha, the Land of Happenings! Odisha is rich but its people are poor! Entire country enjoys the wealth of Odisha, excepting its own people!  With high determination and resolution you all can move the wheel of growth and development. Follow the footprints of your Founder.  I am sure, success will kiss your footprints!

May God bless you all and make your future life peaceful and happy.

Prof. N. L. Mitra
Chancellor, KIIT University