Amritsar, March 8, 2013: One of the most important roles of science and society is to teach human values. As you immense yourself in science in any sphere, science teaches us to embrace honesty, aptitude to openness to new ideas and skeptical scrutiny of all ideas old and new, openness of dialogue and accountability, combined with tolerance and acceptance of opposing points of view.
These views were expressed by Padamashree Dr. K.S. Chug, Emeritus Professor of Nephrology, PGIMER, Chandigarh while delivering his Convocation address at the 39th Annual Convocation of the Guru Nanak Dev University here today in the Dashmesh Auditorium of the University.
Vice-Chancellor, Prof. A.S. Brar presided over and awarded Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) degree upon Padamashree Dr. K.S. Chug, Emeritus Professor of Nephrology, PGIMER, Chandigarh and degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) upon Dr. Shivraj Bashettiapa Nakade, an able administrator and well known scholar of Constitutional Law and International Law.
Vice-Chancellor, Prof. A.S. Brar welcomed the Chief Guest and other dignitaries while Dr. Rajinderjit Kaur Pawar, Dean, Academic Affairs presented vote of thanks on this occasion. Dr. Inderjit Singh, Registrar of the University presented the degrees and medal recipients students before the Vice-Chancellor for their facilitation.
More than 800 degrees and medals in various disciplines including Ph.Ds, M.Phil., MBA, M.Tech., MCA, LL.M., M.Lib., MBE., M.Com., M.Sc., M.A., B.Tech., B.Sc., BCA, LL.B., B.Lib. etc. were awarded at this Convocation. Governor of Punjab and Chancellor awarded the Post-Graduate degrees while the Vice-Chancellor conferred Under-Graduate degrees.
While delivering his convocation address on 'Science and Society' Dr. K.S. Chug said that advancements in medical science which have revolutionized the treatment of many diseases and have directly impacted humans to extend their lives are the transplantation of human organs, the advent of dialysis, open heart surgery, use of bone marrow stem cells for leukemia, in-vitro fertilization and availability of potent antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs and vaccines.
He said that the scientists have now created the equivalent of a rechargeable lithium ion battery of the size of a nano wire, thousand times smaller than the human hair, which is useful in exploring the cardiovascular system of a heart disease patient. He said that identification of genes and the location of undesirable ones responsible for hereditary transmission of diseases have made it possible to eliminate many of these by genetic maneuvering. Are these not miracles of medical science?
He said that undoubtedly, these and several other advances have been of immense benefit to mankind but on deeper reflection and more critical analysis, these have also led to serious setbacks to the Society at large. He said that unbridled and indiscriminate use of monitors and increasing dependence on more sophisticated devices being used in the advanced countries has not only increased the cost of health care, it has eroded the doctor-patient relationship and is depriving the patients of the most needed modality of treatment-the human touch. He said that we in the medical profession must apply a humanistic, judicious and rational approach while treating our patients.
He said that with the help of science, the forces of nature which were worshipped in the olden times have now been conquered – space has become accessible, water has been controlled and fire has been yoked to the service of man. He said that it has often been remarked by Western countries that India has distinguished scientists but does not have its own distinguished science. This is not entirely true. He said that that Indian science has made a steady progress is obvious from the establishment of institutes like Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Premier Medical and Research Institutes of National importance and many others which have placed India amongst the frontline nations of the world.
He said that the world impossible is fast disappearing from a scientist’s lexicon. Currently, many scientific discoveries are being exhibited as symbols of power. He said that we now have the capacity of ending human life in a short period with fearsome weapons or viruses. He said that the discovery of nuclear energy would have been hailed as a boon to mankind but in the modern age we aim at misusing this discovery. He said that the atom bomb was followed by a hydrogen bomb and still not content with it, modern scientists have developed the technique of mass slaughter by the megaton nuclear bomb.
He said that in advanced societies, an increasing proportion of natural wealth is now spent on health and recreation and military enterprises and in the under developed countries famines, malnutrition, diseases, natural disasters and pointless wars still exact a terrible toll of human lives and even the basic necessities of life such as food and shelter cannot be provided to all.
Dr. Chug said that the Convocation is a red letter day for all of you. Many of your predecessors trained in various engineering and high tech areas such as computer sciences, software programs and several fields of medicine and surgery have done the country proud by excelling in their respective field. He said that the degrees and awards you have received today are the culmination of hard work you have put in during your student career.
He said that this occasion should keep on reminding you of your obligation to the society which has helped you in achieving these distinctions. Whichever field you choose in your professional career, your aim should be the welfare of your society. He said that social welfare could be achieved by using innovative approaches and technologies which are low cost, renewable and environment friendly and by developing our own human resources in various fields. Application of newer innovative techniques in several parts of our country like the “solar dryers” for dehydration of fruits and vegetables to increase their shelf life without using electricity is one such example.
He said that we need to address ourselves to various problems confronting our nation – most importantly why 65 years after independence, 30% of our population is still living below the poverty line. He said that our country looks up to you with great expectations; may you and many others of your generation create a “great India out of India ”. He said that for achieving this goal, you must work hard with a sense of devotion, dedication and determination of a mountain rock and “set your goal for better than the best” in the quest of excellence. Remember “winners and achievers do not do anything different, they only do it differently”.
Dr. Nakade while speaking on this occasion said that University has become a source of future creative leaders for the state, nation and the world at large. He said that promotion of quality education for the empowerment of students is a sacred responsibility of the University in any state. He said that education without character is a social sin. He said intelligence plus character is the goal of education. He said that lack of education leads to lack of wisdom and lack of wisdom leads to lack of morals. He said that individual is judged not by his caste or colour, his wealth or position, but by character which is of supreme worth.
He advised students to spare a few minutes for Swadhyaya. He said that reading thought provoking books, sacred texts- Gita and Upnishads will infuse new vigour in the mind of student for imagination, self – realization or self-transformation. He said daily an hour of Sadhana- practice of reading, writing and meditating will provide necessary energy for the pursuit of excellence in any field of work and thereby one can get happiness and parmanand in his or her life.
He said that we are living in knowledge era, Gyan Yug where knowledge is power and this power is superior to physical power knowledge is an effective tool to create revolutionary wealth. He said that developed nations have acquired immense wealth on account of extensive and intensive research in the field of science and technology.
He said that acquisition of new knowledge as well as research and development have been given top priority and brought many changes by the developed nations. He said that engine of change is technology and new knowledge acts as fuel to technology for creating new tools and techniques for development.
Dr. Nakade in view of this fact, Guru Nanak Dev University has already adopted modern technical aids and methods for imparting education to the students. Thus, the University plays a vital role for preparing or moulding the minds of young persons for finding out solutions and way and means for acquiring immense wealth when they enter into the world of work and also for transforming the developing nation into a developed one by 2020, he added.
While congratulating the students he exhorted that those persons who reside in Amritsar and those who visit the holy Golden Temple shall get Amrit (Nectar) for their long, happy and prosperous life.
In his welcome address, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ajaib Singh Brar lauded the achievements of the University. He said that during the forty four years after the foundation of the University and strived hard to attain success in academics, research, sports and cultural activities. He said that the University at present is accredited with a CGPA of 3.5 out of 4 with “A” Grade, highest for any University by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.
He said that University is committed to promote teaching and research in Punjabi language and Literature and Culture. He said that in pursuance of this commitment university has done the study of Basic Punjabi compulsory for the students of all Under Graduate courses of the University.
He said that this University was founded with the mission "to make provision for study and research on the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji". He said that the Department of Guru Nanak Studies established for this purpose, has contributed significantly to meet the objectives of the mission. He said that moving ahead in this direction a new Centre "Centre on Studies in Sri Guru Grnth Sahib" was established with a 47.5 crore rupee grant from the University Grants Commission, New Delhi. He said that the Centre started its functioning from April 2011. A new building to house this institute is under construction, with a grant of 12 crore rupees, and will be completed in a short period from now, he added.
He said that in response to the increase demand for admission to various courses in the University we increased the intake of students in every course. He said that to accommodate increased strength of students a new lecture theatre complex which can accommodate more than 2000 students at a time has now become operational. He said that the buildings of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Bhawan, Physics Block, Chemistry Block and Electronic Technology have already been expanded. He said that new building of Emerging Life Science has been made functional where sophisticated instrumentals/machinery for more than Rs. 60 crore will be installed. He said that construction of new buildings of Girls' hostels on the main campus as well as a Regional Campus, Sathiala is already underway.
He said that this year our student, Rukmani Riar stood 2nd position in All India Services in 2012. He said that number of our students cleared the PCS examinations for judicial and executive services. He said that maximum students of our University have been placed in various MNCs through campus placements.
Dr. Chug and Dr. Nakade thanked the University for honoring them with Doctor of Science and Doctor of Law (Houris Causa) Degrees. They said they are happy to receive these awards as this University is named after a great Saint, Guru Nanak Dev.