New Delhi: The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the Sadhu Vaswani International School in Pune today (May 30, 2018).
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Sadhu Vaswani, the iconic spiritual figure the Sadhu Vaswani International School is named after, was one among our most remarkable nation builders. He taught us to combine the values of our ancient civilisation with the techniques of the modern age. His mission has been carried forward by his disciple, Dada J.P. Vaswani, who has dedicated every moment to the cause of humanity.
The President said the city of Pune has been a centre of education for Maharashtra and for the country. The story of modern India owes much to the educational, reformist and progressive ideas that have flowed from this city, and for which our nation is truly appreciative. He noted that it was in Pune that in 1848 Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule opened what is believed to have been the first modern school in India exclusively for girls. In their determined efforts to fight caste and gender discrimination and work for the weaker sections, Jyotiba and Savitribai Phule made education their chief weapon, as did other reformers from Pune.
The President said that values-based education helps promote ethics in society. Our freedom fighters and leaders placed emphasis on education – and on discourse that was informed by knowledge, wisdom and learning. Each one of them placed emphasis on a culture of discussion rather than of dispute – and of addressing disagreements while being mindful of the other person’s dignity.
The President said that in school, a child is taught history and geography, language and literature, mathematics and science. In class X and in class XII, children are examined in these and other subjects. They are given marks and grades. While not discounting the importance of such subjects, he drew attention to lessons that a child imbibes in school that may not be formally tested in a board examination. These are the lessons of culture, character, compassion and courage. And of coping with change in a society and a world evolving more rapidly than perhaps ever before.
The President said that a child who imbibes these lessons and internalises these values will always be sensitive to the world outside, and to those who may be less privileged. Such a child will never forget to contribute to society, in whichever way he or she can.
Earlier in the day, the President unveiled the statue of Matoshree Ramabai Bhimrao Ambedkar at the Matoshree Ramabai Bhimrao Ambedkar Garden in Pune.
Speaking on the occasion, the President underlined Matoshree Ramabai Bhimrao Ambedkar’s contribution to the life and career of her husband Dr B R Ambedkar. He said that her supportive role and courage through difficult times helped Dr Ambedkar evolve into a distinguished and renowned scholar and public figure. This was a role Dr Ambedkar himself acknowledged.
The President said that his life with Ramabai no doubt influenced Dr Ambedkar’s thinking and made him an advocate of women’s rights. It led him to fight for economic equality for women and to ensure that the Constitution gave them equal political rights from the outset. In this, Dr Ambedkar made certain that India was different from many other democracies, which did not give women these rights at an early stage.
The President said that Matoshree Ramabai Bhimrao Ambedkar herself contributed immensely to battling and effacing the practice of untouchability and strived for social equality for all. She remains an ideal for all Indians.