Home

                                                        

 Dr. Dilli Raman Regmi's Address at the 20th Convocation of Tribhuvan University

 

Tribhuvan University has done a great honour to me by inviting me to attend the convocation as the chief guest and deliver an address on this occasion. I thank you much for your favour.

Tribhuvan University though young is one of the premier educational institutions in South Asia. The Nepalese feel proud of this academic institution. It is not an easy task to raise the university to such a high stature. You have not made a tall claim to achievement. No doubt, the pamphlet appears unassuming in spite of its rich content, but this is simple humility on your part, which only those of modest and generous temperament can sincerely feel. I am really impressed by your humility.

The report of the university published last year shows that you have made provisions not only for the teaching of social, physical and basic sciences but also subjects like meteorology and biochemistry have found their place in the curriculum. I feel so happy that you find it possible to look after 135 private campus as well as 65 campuses run directly by T. U. I am told that there are nearly 1,10,000 students with 5000 teachers in the campuses run by T.U. You have maintained a high standard of learning in spite of this overload and paucity of funds and I feel that even this performance is wonderful. Other universities in more developed countries of South Asia will feel jealous of you .If they judge the quality and degree of performance, which to me is comparatively as high as India's or of any country in the west, this will not be an exaggeration. But all this is done at a smaller cost, which is no less creditable. It comes to my notice that the total outlay on the university education is comparatively much less than on primary and secondary education, which, of course work as feeders, which by themselves require adequate financial support. T.U. gets only Rupees 54 Crores (5.4 millions) in Nepalese Currency from the government and rupees 10 Crores is met out of the fees paid by students. The per capita expenditure amounts to rupees 4373 as against India's 14-16000 rupees in its own currency. The University Grants Commission of India is planning to spend an amount of Rs. 10,000 crores. How can this ambitious plan compare with Nepal's paltry sun of a few crores. The financial shortage might have caused irritation to the authorities of T .U. I find from the report that even this per capita income shown is much less adequate because of the reduced purchasing power of our rupee. They tell me that the per capita expenditure is less than Rupees 1400 at constant prices (in Nepalese currency) compared to Rs. 2400 in 2032/33. So there is nothing to get encouraged on this account. But the teaching staff and students understand their plight and are not disheartened. It is to their credit  that they are quite serious in studies in spite of severe material handicaps, which might cause hardship in obtaining required amenities. This also causes much irritation. It so happens that the administrative cost involved is to the extent of93% of the total, compared to 88% in India. I think that the position needs thorough scrutiny but this is for the Vice-Chancellor to decide. Administration costs a great deal everywhere but we cannot afford to be spendthrift. But if we can exercise caution we might do something to make it agree with less amount of money and yet less number of staff. Ravindranath Tagore has said we shall help you in the worship of your God and humbly accept only our own share of his grace. What Tagore wanted to say was the fact of limited wants with limited claim to their fulfillment. Be careful that the share must be neither inadequate nor much more than required. Administrative cost must go down wherever there is room for it. Perhaps T .U. can save a good deal to provide for other required amenities to raise the standard of teaching, which is what matters for us as far as education is concerned. If you have the feeling that you have not been able to do much more which was probably required, please do not get disappointed. I am a witness to what wonderful work has been done in so short a time as 34 years. You have vast opportunities before you. The world is not the same as it used to be 75-100 years ago. We have friends al lover the world to help. The only thing you have to do is to prove that you are worthy of it. The world's attention is centered on you. You are rightly entrusted with the sacred work of disseminating knowledge, which enlightens mankind. You help our boys and girls to drink deep of the nectar, which makes the students immortal. Knowledge is nectar, which gives real life to those who thirst for it.

Institutions cannot grow without dedication to its ideals. Rome was not built in a day. You are growing up like Rome into a beautiful and large university. You will certainly reach the goal as you work hard. The Goddess of Learning, mother Saraswati, will bless you in your noble mission. You command talent, I am told that there are teachers here who got their education and training in the U.S.A., U.K., France and other famous centers in Asia, which enjoy a high degree of reputation. The Vice-Chancellor and his Colleagues are ever, anxious to promote the cause dear to you and you have a noble mission of enlightening the youth, who are the future leaders of our society and ever anxious to learn what more you need. Therefore, I am assured of the bright future of Tribhuvan University. I know that there is an overload of work on your shoulders, and there is not enough financial support to make light the burden of responsibilities you bear. But patience and hard work will solve every problem you face. 

Our country emerged in the open only in the late forties of the century. Until now it is not as much awakened as required in the new situation. Our people suffer from inadequacies in every field to fulfill life's mission. There is not enough to eat and cover your body. Higher learning is possible only in advance societies. How can a backward country wallowing in poverty and ignorance for centuries open eyes and march forward? This is a competitive world. Without the light of knowledge this is not possible. We need to be enlightened so that in this competitive age we move forward neck to neck with modernized countries of the world. The world we live in with its superstitious and irrational beliefs and ideas has to go. We require deep knowledge of science. We require tools of knowledge to understand the laws of nature in order to fight and conquer it. If we have knowledge, we have power. The university has to equip us with that knowledge and with that power. This is very necessary for our survival, which is possible only in a changing world. I agree with the great philosopher Karl Marx when he states, "Philosophers have interpreted the world but we have to change it. " The world can be changed with the power of knowledge and knowledge of the laws of nature and how it works.

On this occasion I would like to convey a special message to students of Tribhuvan University .The convocation is their day and I feel that they would like to have something from me as a present as I greet them. To this I add my blessings and apiece of advice. These are such that make it easy for them to enjoy smooth sailing in their life as they serve mankind. I congratulate them. If I have congratulated the Vice-Chancellor and his colleagues for excellently running the institution, I also congratulate the teachers for excellently teaching their pupils. But forgive me if I have come with nothing attractive and charming but I can share with you my deep and abiding fellow feeling. As a friend both teachers and administrators deserve praise for the brilliant result, I more earnestly congratulate students. I extend my best wishes to the students for their brighter future. Let them enjoy eminence in scholarship as well as in public service.

As I greet them I have also to sound a note of caution. In this connection I will say, "friends, wherever you are and whatever profession you are to follow be true to your profession, and work sincerely and in dedication to uphold the ideals of life and to rise higher and higher in sincerely fulfilling the demands of society and more to serve humanity through service to your country .Do not ignore the fact that there is such a thing called "dignity of labour". Every labour commands dignity and respect, be it be that of a scavenger or learned professor or of the highest office holder like the minister. Nobody is regarded high or low because of the nature of work.

The young do not fear risks. But what I want to stress here is that when you take risk let it be so to serve humanity and to do everything with love and compassion and without complaining against the nature of work. Lastly, if something unpleasant happens on account of somebody offending you do not hate or try to retaliate or give him punishment.                 Punishment should go to the crime, but not to the offender. Mahatma Gandhi says the same thing, though in different words. He once said, "I hate the crime but the punishment part of it I leave to God". This is humanity. I want to be human and humane. To be human is also to be humane. The youth also will learn much from what Swami Vivekananda says, "Out of the past is built the future. Look back as far as you can, drink deep of eternal formation and look forward, march forward and make your country brighter, greater, much higher than it ever was" Swami Vivekananda also found it obnoxious to see man going hungry and naked but at the same time being told of humanity.

Listen to Vivekananda in his own words, "So long as millions live in hunger and ignorance I hold every one who having been educated at their expense pays not the least heed of them."  I have something more to say as I address you here. Do not forget the role and duties of students. You have come to join the institution to learn and to be prepared for the future with your knowledge of life. I have marked in course of my long political career that even by temperament the youth is patriotic in thinking as he is sentimental in his approach to life but here too I warn that he should not be overzealous in thought and action. I hold the view that in today's world character counts more than anything else in life and I ask you to build it through and through. Do not forget your main duty is to serve your country sincerely and use the knowledge. You gain to serve the country and man. As you love your country you have a right to call yourself. However laudable your action might appear if you do not love your country, you live a useless life. Further, it is not only your country you should love and serve. Do not forget that you have duty to the world and mankind as a whole. How correctly Mahatma Gandhi puts it, " I do want to think in terms of the whole world. My patriotism includes the good of the whole world, and my service of India includes the service of humanity." In this connection he puts forward his view so strongly as he states, "Patriotism based on hatred kills man and patriotism based on love gives life to him. " The young among you should be told that it is the interest of mankind as a whole, which has to be taken care of and not of one individual or a section of society. . Morality is another important aspect of life, which no one can afford to ignore. Albert Einstein, the eminent scientist asserted the statement more emphatically. He says, "that moral values concern only saints and philosopher is wrong. A scientist is a humanist. He upholds moral values. " Einstein said, “ the more profound scientists were not without a religious feeling though it was different from religiosity of the common man. The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of the natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that compared with it all the systematic thinking and acting of human behavior is an utterly insignificant reflection. " 

This is all that I have to convey to the students. I expect a good deal from the student community by way of service to mankind. But teachers have also a great responsibility in the matter of setting an example as a humanist. Here I want to talk of discipline in the campus as it applies to students. I am of the opinion that if discipline is absolutely necessary it cannot be enforced without the consent of the students. Rules and regulations must not be absolutely strict. There is nothing absolute in our relationship. Students, teachers and administrator are equal partners in the endeavor. They must be acceptable to those who are to observe discipline in campus or college. But it will be necessary to tell the students that they should always follow high ideals of plain living and high thinking. I will certainly prescribe noble conduct in whichever field of life they are engaged. If it means a game of politics they should conduct it according to their principles and rules of conduct. I shall however persuade them not to get involved in party politics as far as possible. I have however nothing to say more to students, especially to those who would like to make politics a career.

Old days are gone and along with it the old style of life. Nepal stepped into the modem age in the late fifties. Modern education, which Lord Babington Macaulay had introduced in India in thirties of the 19th century, entered our country's Capital only in the beginning of the 20th century or a little earlier. But at the initial stage, this also influenced a minor section of the society, the top echelon of the feudal ruling family. The decades earlier to 1920-1930 belonged to the dark age for us. The benefits of the time had not been available to people in Nepal. Conservatism prevailed to shape and dominate the social fabric. They made rules, which did not allow anybody to go abroad or to touch a non-Hindu or a foreigner for social and political reasons. Europeans or Indians could visit the valley. A few of them visited the Nepal valley. Before 1768, European missionaries could even preach Christianity. But later their activities were banned. There was no direct road link with the Indo-Nepal’s border even as late as 1950. Although Aristocracy imported automobiles, carried over their shoulders by labourers, could ply in the Nepal's capital city in early twenties their number was very small. However at the end of the 18th century some scholars came to the valley and received a generous treatment. Modem education was virtually nonexistent. As late as 1884 Cecil Bendall, a scholar from Cambridge came on a visit to the Nepal valley in search of manuscripts. He gave the information in a footnote added to his book published in 1885, "Ten years ago (1875) the subject of schools and colleges in Nepal may be treated as briefly as that of snakes in Ireland. There are none. Now we have at least one building in which both English and Sanskrit are taught and taught well." Such was the state of affairs existing at that time. The people were steeped in darkness and old ideas dominated the social order, what knowledge of science was available in Europe in the 19th century unknown in Nepal. Even in the 20th century none knew of it. But except India, the Asian society was unaware of new discoveries and inventions. Some persons who wrongly feared the harm done to society by new idea prevented people to accept the new system of education. They would not allow the pitiable condition of medieval darkness to disappear. To such people the then existing society was the best to cling to and every thing new caused injury.

In India things were different. Along with the industrial revolution which brought fast changes in ideas and style of life many new things came to influence society. Along with the industrial revolution a reform movement started simultaneously. People like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Keshav Chandra Sen and Vidyasaghar and other reformers led the movement, which challenged the inviolability of beliefs and practices, which were then respected as truth. The ignorant people would not tolerate the attack on their beliefs. Schools and colleges bringing new ideas, which challenged medieval beliefs and practices, were allowed to have free access. Schools opened at a faster rate. Bengal was the pioneer in such a mission. Bengal was followed by other places like Bombay and Madras. As some eminent scholar said, "what Bengal thinks today India will think tomorrow.” This was the common realization. The rot stopped. The society took new direction to move. The Arya Samaj movement, which challenged also the validity of our old Sastras, did its own work to cause demolition of old ideas, which so far helped to nourish medieval beliefs and practices. The medieval beliefs had enjoyed their strength and support from ignorance of the people. Now they lost ground to rational beliefs. Here I quote the great historian Gooch, "The influence of nature, the pressure of economic factor, the origin and transformation of ideas, the contribution of science and art, religion and philosophy shaped by science, modern laws, Literature, material condition of life in which we live, the fortunes of the masses such problems, now claim our attention in no less degree. The man must see life steadily and in its whole. The ideas which resisted and stood against the march of time had to go." It is sad that the society of Shastras was being respected up till now. But they did not realise that they did not serve any purpose in the changed context.

Modern Education has got to be introduced to make men happy and prosperous and to provide them all amenities of life made available by new inventions and discoveries. It was entirely a new would which the reformers wanted to create. We must take care to see that the new system would break the iron chains binding mankind to immobility and reaction. These forces blocking his movement towards the attainment of full life had got to be stopped. This is humanitarian approach to the problem of life. This is what we call the benefits we obtain by way of moral and material prosperity.

This is the higher education of science and technology. I add one thing more. Higher learning should be shaped to enlighten mankind to enable him to a useful life and in the service of humanity.

T.U. might be poor in respect of resources. But it is not poor in respect of talent and patriotic enthusiasm. We need both to fulfill the mission we have so ardently undertaken. You are a band of scholars dedicated to Saraswati, Goddess of learning. By Saraswati do not think I have actually meant a supernatural female power, who will provide you supernatural energy or capacity to overcome any sort of difficulties that come in your way. Mahatma Gandhi felt that by God or truth he meant just the same thing and by inner voice he wanted to convey the idea that got shape out of deep thinking it was not difficult to understand. However, it did not mean something of God's voice speaking from within. God unlike man has no power of speech. Only man has it, but by whatever name you call it, it is your own thought and voice and when you work it out 'you are your own master, and whatever you are to do, you do it on your own, no supernatural being is there to do it for you'. This is what the ancient Panchatantra authored by learned Vishu Sharma tells you in a verse “ kill the fate (daivam nihatya) and indulge in industry, Laksmi, Goddess of wealth, will come by herself to you.” Those who think that God provides everything are cowards. Everything must be done on your own and by your own efforts. There is none to take your place. There is nothing supernatural to do nature's work. So move on without depending on anybody else. Thinking in this light I request you to follow Vishnu Sharma, the man who taught wayward sons of a king of a large country by narrating events of intrigues and fights with reference to the world of animals and birds. The stories are told in a way that the events appear to have actual relevance for the world of human being. I think that one has to follow Vishnu Sharma to be able to successfully move in this world. Where practice and not imaginary fairy tales or supernatural beings were to work. This might not interest you as a real story as it is allegorical in concept. For our purpose it in enough to understand just this much; everything all that you can do is on your own. You need external help, materials or tools and techniques to teach you or to give you the knowledge to use them, expertise you call it, but you can only use it by yourself depending on your own strength. The allegory is from Vishnu Sharma what I have added here is a quotation from a passage of a commentator on the original statement of Vishnu Sharma. One of our Nepalese poets also has written long ago ‘you do not need belong to caste of family status to achieve your objective. You need only energy or power in two hands you possess. Man has performed wonders using his brain and hands. So given tools you will do wonders. It may appear as it happens in our world'. Leaving aside Vishnu Sharma let me submit in continuation that the University is as prestigious and great as possibly planned. T .U. will produce capable and eminent scholars, scientists and philosophers as great and capable as many other in different institutions of higher learning have to their credit. But T .U. must have its will. It must work by way of persuasion.

Nothing done without a will and determination will work. Man by nature is a free agent. If one has the will there is a way so runs a statement as written by a wise man.

The advent of democracy has not been able to change our feudal behaviour. When I talk of education, head transport, I think of these only in modern terms. Education based on science and technology is in my mind as I view these and allied problems. 1 will explain what they meant as I proceed to write more on the subject to your advantage. To me any old system of education, which had the base on superstition and false beliefs are of no use. The old systems were obsolete and instead of leading you forward made you to look backward and forced you to seek remedies in places, which gave adverse result.

I am conscious of the fact that the convocation is no ordinary assembly. It is of a nature which is dedicated to earning knowledge as our ancient texts would call "Vidhyayamritamasnute", which means "through the medium of Vidya (knowledge) one drinks deep of the nectar which makes one immortal and any body who uses the nectar immortalizes himself’. Knowledge is all-comprehensive. It means science. It means humanities, geography, archaeology, his living, his environment, his requirements, etc. This can have its appeal to a conscious man. In modern context it means that knowledge is practical and purposeful.

As persons whose claim to knowledge is recognized do not forget that you are getting a degree in recognition of that fact your position as an erudite scholar is assured. As the sacred Upanishad composed in hoary antiquity suggests 'you have marched forward to light out of darkness  td;.]d. Ho.]lt{udo’. So accept my greetings for the position of enlightenment, you have secured for yourself a place of honour by hard work and commendable dedication.

But here I sound a note of warning. Modern system of education has both merits and demerits. If we have to survive in the modern competitive world no other system could be acceptable. The old system of our country has become obsolete and has been discarded as it does not suit the need of modern society .We are living in a world where science and technology playa creative role. The old system was unproductive and moribund. The new system is full of life, productive and healthy and suitable to the condition, which stands the test of scientific experiment and which also could satisfy rational thinking. Lord Macaulay (Thomas Babbington) realized in early thirties of the 19th century that this system as adopted in India produced clerks who by education were to be of service to fulfill the demands of the British administration. And it is obvious that the British had introduced a system based on British pattern. It certainly created loyal clerks and officers of lower cadre and for sometime seemed to be successful in realising the end sought.

But after nearly five decades the same English educated elite nurtured in their heart a deep sense of resentment and jealousy. Resentment, they felt that they were to suffer a feeling of servility and domination at the hands of foreign masters and jealousy because they had no place in the officers' cadre. We cannot also forget the fact that all the leaders of the Indian Renaissance who were reformers were English educated. So were the leaders of the Nationalist Movement. Unfortunately the Indian rebels who compelled the British to leave India were also English educated. Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and a host of other national leaders were also English educated in a modern system. Some of them had also their schooling in England or France or even Germany. The Left Movement believing in violence and terrorism were brought up in the new tradition under the modern system of education. The anti-British and anti-colonist as well as the communists of all hues learnt their lesson from the west. You should also know that the old system was solely meant for the requirements of the feudal age, which was the age of superstition and false beliefs and usages not upheld by scientific experiments. We should not confuse the language with the system, which are the depositories of new ideas and thoughts. We are concerned with ideas emanating from scientific experiments. What matters us at the moment is the fact that different elements of nature and natural phenomena or substances or matters are of extreme importance and vital.

For all this you have to adapt yourself to a new concept of life and surrounding. Feudal ideas are still working within you. And for this reason you will see no light. Knowledge advances and helps man to pursue his movement. In that course the society is awakened. We shall be no more in darkness. Once we obtain knowledge of science there is more light and this again in turn dispels darkness of ignorance. And again whatever is left of darkness remains until there is full light. This is the reason that our ancient 'Upanishads' have prayed in the world. They say "Tamosoma jyotirgamoya mamritom amritogamaya “ which means out of darkness lead me to light, out of death lead me to immortality .II If knowledge is power this power ultimately leads one to light and immortality.

In one of the passages I wrote I talked of discipline in the country. Now I shall write a few words more to emphasize the point that discipline can be maintained only in an atmosphere of nonviolence and peace. Peace as such is all pervasive. Because it is required to be maintained for survival. The atmosphere should be that of non-violence and peace in the campus in general and in our society in particular. To me nonviolence is the very essence of life. I feel that a violent society dies its natural death and meets its own extinction, as it is totally senseless and alien to human nature so full of compassion and tolerances. I think violence is incompatible with humanity .So it should have no place in society

The Upanishads suggest "Let there be peace everywhere, peace in water, peace in the sky, peace on trees and forests. Let there be peace on earth." Manu describes nonviolence and truth as well as non-theft, nonviolence and non- possession as the essence of life.

Thomas Hobbes must have his own experience to say in the Leviathan that man was borne brute and selfish. He further stated 'man was no better or worse than animal.' He was dominated by fear and by selfish desire. According to Hobbes, man does not know of social order, and therefore has got to be governed by might. He thinks that ' to achieve any order out of the chaos and conflict of human nature we need force.'

Thomas Hobbes describes the state of nature in the following manner. He states :

Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man. For war consisteth not in battle only, or the act of fighting, but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known: and therefore the notion of time is to be considered in the nature of war, as it is in the nature of weather. For as the nature of foul weather lieth not in a shower or two of rain, but in an inclination thereto of many days together: so the nature of war consisteth not in actual fighting, but in the known disposition thereto during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary. All other time is peace. Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently  no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.  

If Thomas Hobbes had taken this view of man, Rousseau thinks just the opposite, also complaining that he was born free but was in chains. The difference between the two was that while Rousseau wants to establish a new, moral basis based on the nobility of man's character Hobbes thought that for world could only be sustained by violence exercised by an all-powerful sovereign.

Such ideas of moral order was quite the opposite of what humanitarians like Buddha Christ and Gandhi and saints and philosophers, Ravindra Nath Tagore, Romain Roland and Albert Einstein all thought. They took very generous views of man as human being, unselfish and tolerant. All saints and sages of and old philosophers felt that man was not living in a state of nature with tooth and claw but they have their hearts full of the milk of kindness. This was a very correct judgment of man's nature. All those living in a world of piety harboured this feeling but Hobbes lived in condition of cruelty .He confesses that he was born twin, himself and fear, so this psychological complex dominated his concept of mind, but it was not so with others.

Gandhi's was the first nonviolent movement conducted on nonviolent lines. It was a mass movement. There were violent movements earlier. There were also terrorists in action and coups and conspiracies were often in evidence. But Gandhi as the leader of the masses chose nonviolence as means to awaken the masses and lead them to action. Thus we have already seen from his own autobiography or biographies authored by others. Why Gandhi chose nonviolence as his means? The answer Gandhi himself provides. It is because there is much bloodshed and in the ultimate analysis a violent- movement is bound to fail under the weight of excesses committed by his own fanatics, Gandhi rejected the method used in other Revolutions. He knew of the Revolutions in France, Russia and Hitler's Germany. However Gandhi knew about all that had happened in the orgy, which occurred in course of the 10 years of French Revolution. Though the French Revolution aroused enthusiasm allover Europe for its slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity the way it was handled by its leaders and the damage it brought to the country Gandhi shuddered to think of such a Revolutions, so he refused to be drawn into any kind of violent mass movement. I shall now try to tell you how the French Revolution could not attract him. As every body knows the French Revolution started in 1789 as a violent mass movement. Gandhi who came to work in political movement only since 1896 with nonviolence background obviously did not relish the principles that worked in the French Revolution. Gandhi had only read about it. So from the very beginning it was something, which proved alien to his beliefs, so he took his own line, and as for as Gandhi was concerned the story ended there. But the French Revolution in spite of the difference of time had not left as yet to make an appeal to many young men of Gandhi's time. It is for this reason that I thought it proper to talk of the French Revolution at this stage. As the movement started people really desired to build society 'accepting liberty, equality and fraternity' as slogans. The slogans were all right. But events that took place brought extremely frightening messages. I want to let you know in brief how the French Revolution aroused fears not only among the French aristocracy and masses and sent consternation to all kings, carious and people al lover Europe. The account is interesting and if told this might prove useful to strength the point that nonviolence as a mass action was much superior to violent Revolution in achieving its objective.

How much powerful a nonviolence movement stands compared to a violent one is seen from a comparative study of the Gandhi led movement in India and the French and other Revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, Gandhi's movement did not have undesirable side effects. But violent revolutions in Europe and in some other countries not only failed to achieve their objective but also led to unparalled scenes of nonviolence and cruelty .The forces coming to play an action were the poor, greed and brutality .The Revolutionaries who initially were inspired by high ideals such as liberty, equality and fraternity emerged tyrannical and despots whose actions led to domestic instability and conflicts in the international sphere. Norman Gash, a historian of the USA, recently wrote about the French Revolution in the Internal history of France the Revolution gave rise to similar currents of attraction and repulsion; attraction because of certain good precedents as they were created were the enlightened concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity cosmopolitism and nationalism allover Europe and repulsion because the same was followed by terror, guillotines and gallows. These were the horrors of the French Revolution. "

The entire country was on fire, which came to an end due to Napoleon's first act as the First counsel in 1797, the same Napoleon who became the emperor and conquered many parts of Europe and who had said that the French Revolution was the mass actions due to vanity and liberty was just a pretext.

Let me reproduce a passage from Norman Gash from whose account we get information about the terror regime. "But eventually the Revolution like all revolutions devoured its parents. Robespiere was killed. Danton was put to death. The Revolution came to a stage as one group fought against the other. In the confusion that followed it was not possible to know who was guilty and who was not, many innocent people lost their lives. Andre Chnien, the great liberal poet was beheaded shortly before Robespiere fell. He was a powerful actor in the drama. The Marquess de Condocet, whose philosophy the moderates had adopted committed suicide in order to evade the national razor and Madame Roland de la Platiere shouted from the scaffold" 0, liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name?" One can hardly imagine a more tragic fate than that of Critum de Mabsherbes, a liberal Royalist and Counsel of the king in court, who was forced to watch his daughter, his son-in-law and their children beheaded, before his turn finally came. Norman Gash further wrote, " A revealing exchange of words took place between La Voisier's counsel and the Judge said at his trial, the counsel, " you are punishing a great scholar", the judge said, "the Republic does not need scholars."

Vendee himself an eye witness to the terror recapitulated a dramatic scene. The account proves Dostoyvesky's words " If there is no God, everything is permitted." The massacres, once committed seemed to remove the final human restraints, and the Revolution turned into colossal sadistic sex orgy . In Arras the Jacobing Lebon and his wife watching the raving crowd were rejoicing at the sight of naked headless corpse hanged in an obscene position, they called batteries nationals of naked men and women coupled and fettered in pair.

We can have a glimpse of how the French Revolution created fear in Europe. When Danton claimed for France, the natural frontiers of the Rhine, Alps and the Pyrenees, the peoples of Europe had cause for alarm. Ideas that march behind bayonets are rarely popular said one author. It is not fact that there were no good aspects of the Revolution but the desirable results of the Revolution lay dormant and could not come to views as long as it lasted. Napoleon himself a Jacobin who was intimately associated with Robespiere had ultimately emerged in the garb of a dictator, in whose hand the destiny of the country automatically fell. First the few fanatics and then Napoleon killed the ideas of Revolution and threw them beyond recognition.

In the last phase ideas which had motivated philosophers of the Revolution ceased to operate. France became not a carrier of the message of Revolution forward at this stage. It had pulled the country backward.

Unconsciously it had been forced to go forward in the wrong direction. The few noble features to have been welcomed by liberals that surfaced became a temporary phenomenon. Revolution had killed the essence of Revolution by its own leadership. The Revolution had been derailed.

But the ideas the Revolution generated came to affect the course of history of the future. Some high ideals adhered to even as the Revolution was on. But only after several jolts. Ideas of nationalism, representative government and liberal democracy were still working. But violence remained to the last and beyond when normalcy was restored. People never forgot that wars and violence if engineered could not easily go.

It was not so in the case of Mahatma Gandhi led movement. The Mahatma himself boldly resisted violence if aroused when it occurred. It was for him to say, that he would not accept Swaraj obtained by bloodshed. He said that he will remain a lonely fighter with his weapon of nonviolence but never be a party to a violent struggle, Gandhi realised what came after a blood fight would not last. He also felt that liberty and equality would be a casualty when a dictator came to the stage. All sorts of violence created dictators and despots but not democrats. That was inevitable. The use of violent means automatically threw the country into chaos and ultimately in the hands of a despot. To Gandhi society was a haven of peace, and cruelty, the essence of violence was alien to his temper. Gandhi was correct for man by nature would not accept tyranny and could not adopt a situation where an urge for freedom was not accommodated as it came under the weight of superior force. The events of Chaurichaura a village in Gorakhpur where quite a good number of armed policemen had been burnt alive are yet fresh in our mind. Mahatma Gandhi worked through moral strength; using moral strength he controlled a people rapidly marching forward to violence to achieve their goal by means in which Gandhi believed. All this changed the course of history in India's freedom struggle. But Gandhi's non-violence was not the non-violence of a coward. It was the non-violence of the brave who could prefer to undergo any troubles and meet any dominating situation, which would otherwise kill him. Non-violence was a creed and matter of conviction to Gandhi. So neither he abandoned his principle nor he feared death. He met the call of the situation not by surrender to tyranny but by his own sacrifice and suffering. For a person who has accepted peace as a way of life, odds meant little. He could face death for a just cause standing in all smiles but not surrender his self. And after all he knew that our society abhorred violence. It was averse to the nature of man who loved and had absorbed peace in his vein along his blood peace as an essential past of his own self. Accepting Henry Thoreau's ideal, which suggested that under a government which was tyrannical the only place for a just man was in prison' Gandhi believed in the efficacy of suffering by himself to cause a change in the heart of an opponent. He would himself suffer rather than cause suffering to others. I therefore suggest in all humanity to every man and woman living in society that Buddha should guide them.

The Dhammapada says:

                                             g lx j]/]g j]/.lg ;DdGtL3 sb.rgF .

                                               cj]/]g r ;DdlGt P; 3Dd.] ;gGtg.] .

           (By inimical feelings nothing can succeed but by friendly feeling everything can be solved)

The Buddha's precept of peace was meant for men and women in society endowed with knowledge but leading a life of compassion and love. While Gandhi's precept was directed to the relationship between the state and individual in society representing peace. Problems of students in the campus vis-a-vis violence were associated with both sages but to me Gandhi as a politician seem to be of greater relevance. So both need correct assessment. I hope that you that you will understand this point. But as I discuss the issue of nonviolence I will not hesitate to say that they should be courageous enough to resist violence and fight for a just cause but not try to evade the issue and accept the consequences of violent deeds. As Lord Buddha said this was eternal Dhamma, The rule of life.

Let T .U. help create atmosphere for tolerance, love, compassion, non- violence and non-injury. I would also like to point out knowledge helps one to be modest and polite. Vidya preaches to be polite and modest. Here, permit me to quote passage from Thomas Gray. Thomas Gray says:

                 The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
             And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
             Awaits alike the inevitable hour.
             The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

             Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
             If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
             Where thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
             The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

 

 

We are aware of the international and wars. It 15 million people were dead during the first world war, 55 million more met death during the second and 23 million died in wars in between the two periods. According to the other estimate 30 to 60 millions died in the Second World War. And the cost involved was stupendous. The Soviet Union alone had to incur a loss of 485 billions dollars while to the rest of Europe the share of expenses amounted to $ 259 billions. Wars were no new phenomena. They have occurred every now and then since the evolution of Homo sapiens. There have been wars of aggression. There have also been accidental wars. There were wars to end wars. The American President Woodrow Wilson thought in 1917 that he was fighting a just war, and" It was to end war" yet twenty years later a more serious war occurred, and at the end it introduced a holocaust of a nuclear war. We cannot forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is true that for the last 55 years we do not have world wars of similar magnitude but can we be assured of no world war even if the prospect of the cold war is no more there and the Soviet system has collapsed and cold war is gone. But nuclear weapons are not destroyed as yet they are there in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and also in the U.S.A., The U.K., France and China. There are potentially dangerous spots with immense capabilities. When we watch people being killed in conflicts such as Bosnia, Middle East, Angola, Mozambique and Somalia we feel that humanity is yet suffering.

Even today two hundred thousand people were killed recently in the seize of Sarajevo during the last 22 months. And imagine the huge price we have to pay in terms of suffering, where man kills man in the same situation, either call it ethnic clinging or just in retaliation after all this as a war. And if the League of Nations was helpless in a period or 20 years since it started to function, the U.N.O.  is yet to prove that it is not a helpless body today. It is obvious that the risks of wars are still there and it is also sad that all this goes on without the identity of the killed being known to the killer. Carnage goes on without end and the big problem is how to prevent its occurrence and how to prevent the Third World War. Bosnia has certainly thrown a great challenge to humanity and to reason. We want a safe world to live, a world based on " justice, peace, human rights, development democracy and interdependence". But their prospect is bleak and we have doubts if such a world can come soon. But we must not lose hopes. If the causes of conflicts are removed, the World can live happily without a Third War. This is, however, a matter for all the countries in the world and to all men of good will to sit together and consider seriously. How to bring about such a situation where all peaceful countries can assemble is, however, another stupendous problem. The problem of war cannot he dissociated from the problem of hungers. My opinion on the interrelationship between hunger and war is supported by the former chancellor of West Germany the late Willy Brandt, who had also said in a report in 1980 " while hunger rules peace cannot prevail. He who wants to ban war must also ban poverty. Morally it makes no difference whether a human being is killed in War or is condemned to starve to death because of the indifference of others."

With the tragedies we are facing all over the world in political sphere I have to draw attention to an equally unpleasant world situation. This is a reference to its economic picture, which is no less bleak. This is best witnessed in adorned countries of the West. America has a debt of 4 trillion dollars, and there are 8 million unemployed. The Latin American countries can only vie with our region in poverty and international debt. The Latin America has run into a debt of $400 billion out of the total of $ 1020 billion dollars for the third world. India's international debt is no less gloomy. The debt for India stands at the figure of $ 75 billion. Brazil and Mexico have 70 billion and 50 billion respectively. Former Soviet Union’s economic crisis is getting nearer to collapse. With 20% inflation per month and the rouble under severe strain showing exchange rate as low as 1600 roubles to one U.S. dollar. Prices are rising at a fantastic rate. Russia has contracted external debt to the extent of $45 billion. Only Japan, and S.E. Asian countries present a bright picture. Germany is experiencing recession. The unemployment figure stands, at 4 million. Even Britain has a large number of unemployed. The U.S.A. has also an adverse trade balance. Japan has a very good picture with 140 billion dollars to enjoy a considerable trade surplus. The U.S.A. alone has 60 billion adverse trade balance with Japan. We know that Japan has given us a 400-bed hospital, which is also a strong base for the T .U. medical college.

South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan have much achievements to their credit, we can think of South Korea lending millions of dollars to China. Like Japan it is also manufacturing and exporting cars. China today is also going forward. Investor are drawn to its potential strength as trade center, up till now China has attracted $ 67 billion worth of investment from outside. Its growth rate of 12% is high enough but it is counteracted by an equal rate of inflation. China is without unemployed and its agriculture is strong, production high to meet the needs of 11 00000000 people. China has managed family planning in such manner that population is likely to stay at that number. But South Asia is still not achieving much. Its liberalization policy is expected to yield desirable results. But it has not been able to meet wholly its foreign exchange needs from its export earning. India is most advanced in the subcontinent. In the world it occupies the 10th position amongst the industrialized countries. But is has not the level, which 97 countries have attained. India's foreign exchange reserve amounts to 12 billion but its domestic growth rate is lower.

It is a common knowledge that Nepal is running a budget deficit as well as trade deficit. Its economy is sustained only by foreign loans and grants. However the Rastra Bank figures a bigger saving in foreign exchange. The foreign debt is added the figure might amount to Rupees 11000 crores. Population wise the government claims that its foreign reserve compares to that of India’s, which is 12 billion in U.S. Dollars. There is inflation, which has gone increase retail price index. Although food stock is said to command a sound position earlier in the year. Cereals and sugar position is not good. Nepal has no industry worth the name neither heavy nor light. Some of the industries established by the Soviet Union and China are sold to private hands. They say that the production of the privatized sector has improved position. But whether the production figure is correct is subject to investigation. The Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission claims that the growth rate is more than 6%. But as the inflation amounts to 14%. There is little to be enthusiastic about the growth rate. On the whole the economic picture is gloomy.

Having said so much I do not think there is any thing left for me to say. Along with the world situation, which shows improvement towards peace, Nepal faces a bright future. But there are many things to do. T.U. is a sub- system. Therefore not only T.U. but also Nepal as a whole must advance towards the goal. First its economic position must improve. The country has to be industrialised, the sooner the better. There are a large number of unemployed. Industrialization will generate employment opportunities. Exploitation of natural resources of the country will generate further employment. Unfortunately the Nepalese government has neither a political nor an economic policy. Multiparty democracy has been there for some time. But is not functioning properly. Politics is enmeshed in mutual bickering, and administration has become sluggish. Besides the economic hardships Nepal also has to address several other problems. We cannot afford to encourage parochialism, ethnicism and communalism in any form. National integration and harmony must have the highest priority. Nepal stands as one nation and as one integrated whole, of course, each section has aright to maintain the culture, language and beliefs. As I have already stressed, we need modernization and enlightenment. But most of all we need modern education, and our society must be free from medieval practices. Furthermore we must on no account allow feudal ideas to dominate our life. T .U. has to playa very important role in enlightening our society. It is in our interest that we establish healthy conventions in public life.

I feel that I should elaborate the point raised by Marx at this stage. The six Indian Philosophies including Vedanta and Sankhya have also their interpretations. This is absolutely essential because we want T.U. to teach true vidya or knowledge. Sankhya and Vedanta in particular have argued in such a classical style about the existence of Supreme Being. As Supreme being he created the world with nothing using Prakriti as co-creator. The Barhaspatyas led by thinkers like Brihaspati and Charbak denied the existence of absolute God. The controversy whether ideas created the universe or matter created the ideas was pursued with vigor and zeal in the medieval age until the industrial revolution which was caused by varieties of discoveries and invention based on development of physical science basic or  applied. Scientific explanation of natural phenomena is possible only through a full understanding of discoveries and inventions. It is science, which we need to shape our political and economic systems. We should create philosophies not solely on thinking but through ideas caused by systematic experiences. Superstitions have to be eliminated and students should be guided to reject them, as they are archaic and not suitable to the needs of time. Having said all this I request T .U. authorities and the government to give more attention to solve problems of these fields.

Science placed vast power in our hands and we have known that all this power is being misused not to benefit mankind but to produce weapons which go to destroy him therefore we must be cautious enough to prevent the use of science in respect of its destructive weapons. The most dangerous element in the productive process of Science is nuclear power. You can always imagine what would have been the fate of the world if the star war programme had been carried to its full. If science improves capabilities to produce still more dangerous and frightening nuclear weapons for the annihilation of the world would come very soon.

It reminds me of an ancient saying that one is always a student so long as he is alive. Knowledge is vast that one may devote not only one lifetime but also one hundred and yet it is not exhausted. Knowledge is like a vast ocean. In one lifetime one has only a drop to drink. So we are ever in quest of knowledge and remain a student. I have continued to be a student up till now. I feel that I am learning and learning ever without having a glimpse of the end. I feel sometimes much disappointed as I see the horizon yet too far. The farther I go in quest of the venue where earth touches the sky the line appears yet quite out of reach and we never reach there. So the quest continues and the goal appears to be far distant. It seems that my student life and apprenticeship will never end. Sometimes when I am depressed over my performance I start complaining that even that much, which I have learnt thus far, is half-baked. This gives me a cause to be more disappointed, worried and desperate. Such is the knowledge. It is in another from a hidden treasure, which is too difficult to notice and discover. If a man of my age suffers from that sort of complex it is obvious younger people with less experience and energy suffer more travails. But I advise them to be courageous, maintain balance of mind and as if it is all normal so I advise you to go ahead with your endeavor. You have a long life to live and a whole mission to undertake. You have along distance to travel. You have to overcome difficulties before you attain a degree of knowledge even though this may not be to your satisfaction. But you must be bold enough not to get tired, and pursue the journey earnestly and sincerely. I assure you that one day in near future you will succeed, but try and try again, and even if you do not succeed, once or twice try and try again. I hope you have heard the story of king Alfred of England and the spider. This is the lesson now I convey to you as you leave the campus. Take it that my advice will hold good also in your future career or any noble work. Believe me humanity is the essence of my life. I humbly request you all to adhere to its basic philosophy. I wish you every success in life. . At the end let me quote a passage from the humanitarian poet Ravindranath Tagore's

Gitanjali, which I feel, is very much inspiring. It is addressed to God. But I would submit to you that whether there is God or not the sentiments expressed in Tagore's lines are inspiring and you should accept the ideas so humbly expressed by the poet with deep love and gratitude, for Ravindranath Tagore was no ordinary poet. He was a poet of high distinction who composed songs in the tradition of poets of rural Bengal.

                                             Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
                                    Where knowledge is free
                                    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
                                    By narrow domestic walls
                                    Where words come out from the depth of truth
                                    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
                                    Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

                                     Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
                                    Where the mind is led forward by thee
                                    Into ever-widening thought and action
                                    Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

 

I again thank you, and wish you every success in your future career. Wherever you might be my love will be with you.

                                                       Thank you.