Addressing the valedictory session of International Buddhist Conference that took place at Nalanda University, Bihar, President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee referred to the rich heritage of ancient universities at Taxila and Nalanda.
He emphasised that the modern universities have to learn from ancient universities and promote a free atmosphere without prejudice and violence on the campuses. A peaceful culture must be prevalent in universities where students have freedom of speech.
He questioned the fact that if there is no peaceful culture and atmosphere in universities, what kind of lessons would they deliver to students. The atmosphere of a varsity should be free from doctrines, violence, anger and prejudice. The universities must be conducive to the free flow of intellectual persuasions, he added.
Speaking about education, Pranab Mukherjee emphasised that education means the improvement of constant interaction with teachers and fellow students. He cited that ancient universities like Taxila, Vikramshila and Nalanda where great minds thronged in the form of teachers and students across the world. All these ancient varsities were the places for intellectual interactions and persuasions.
He further explained that all these ancient varsities were not only places of learning but also the confluence of four different civilisations of India that include China, Greek, Persia and India. All these universities used to organise open discussions where intellectuals, students and teachers used to express their ideas freely without any limitation. The teachers used to encourage the students to pose questions and counter question before drawing conclusions. Everyone accepted the practice during those days. He expressed his concern that modern universities lack this kind of practices.