Since antiquity Allahabad has been rightly described as a sacred city. It is also the heart of the Indo-Gangetic plain with a multicultural mosaic. It is a place where nature chooses to converge Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati into Sangam that attracts billions from all over the world to seek spiritual solace and peace. In this sacred space as India advanced towards modernity, it gave birth to one of the most important institutions of the world - Allahabad University. This seat of higher learning soon acquired the rare distinction of producing students who guided and continue to guide the destiny of India in a variety of ways. They not only facilitated India’s freedom from colonial rule but also contributed to evolve and strengthen the country’s Institutions both in India and abroad. The University’s contribution to politics, education, law, science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship, literature, social sciences, films and health care is unparalleled. It continues to benefit and inspire humanity all over the world even today.
In more recent times although Allahabad University continued on its path of progress and touched new heights but due to some very trivial issues a false perception has impacted its image. It is true that in the transitional phase of an institution some persons may promote vested individual interests but the institution is primary and individual interests are not above its dignity. The great son of India, Bhagat Singh was once asked why he had not defended himself and his associates by seeking recourse to law to which he said, “the cause is strengthened by sacrifice but not by appeal in court.” Please remember that India lives in India’s institutions and if we strengthen them we strengthen India. We may have gone through difficult times but then suffering is not suffering unless we endure it.
The world today in the 21st century has shrunk into a global village and contemporary society has great expectations from us. We need to pool our knowledge, our efforts, our thinking and sink our differences, if any, to restore this institution to its past glory. Please remember, we have great challenges to confront and huge problems to overcome. In my view, our collective strength, hard work, harmony, and transparency are the only weapons to surmount all these difficulties and to offer solutions to the diverse problems that beset our society. Only then, can we hope to see the expansion of knowledge and science into a wider culture.
To be your colleague is a humbling moment for me and together we make a new beginning. It is here that Allahabad University with its tradition of engaging with problems will rise to the occasion. Let us draw inspiration from the past glory of our institution and meet the challenges of poverty, quality education, empowerment of women and weaker sections. We need to explore new frontiers of science and technology and research. As a Vice-Chancellor, I would like to be known not as a centre of power and authority but for my determination to pursue success and growth without deviation and prejudice. To me, the display of respect in the form of bouquets and garlands is mere hollow external trappings. My commitment to my duty of taking this University forward remains paramount for me.
With all my wonderful experience from West Bengal, I will remind you of the inspiring words of Swami Vivekananda who exhorted us to ‘arise, awake and rest not, till the goal is achieved’.