Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said it’s unfortunate that the menace of untouchability still continued in the country, which is against Indian culture and tradition. Addressing the gathering in Kochi while conferring Adi Shankara Young Scientist Awards 2018 he called for ending the practice of untouchability.
“Now, unfortunately, after so many years of civilisation and Independence, even today we hear about untouchability – somebody is not allowed to (enter) temple, somebody is not allowed to enter other places of worship, somebody is discriminated, high caste, low caste. It has to be ended,” he said.
The Vice President urged the gathering to draw inspiration from Adi Shankaracharya – a philosopher and theologian of the eight century, who had set an example.
“His message was inclusion. That is the need of the hour. We should not exclude anybody. We should not discriminate against anybody. We should not deny opportunities to anybody. We should think inclusively,” he said.
The Vice President also said that along with “gross national income”, we must focus on how science and technology can foster greater “happiness” and better quality of life as well as harmonious inclusive societies.
“This is what gives us hope and optimism that India will be able to regain its rightful place in the comity of nations,” he said, adding that the advancement of human knowledge has occurred in our country because of the “spirit of enquiry”.
The Vice President mentioned three qualities to achieve excellence: First is the willingness to learn from each and every person, institution and learning resource we can access; The second is the ability to probe, analyse and synthesize; The third quality is to search for a completely out of the box solution that answers the problem at hand.
Praising Adi Shankara, he expounded the “Advaita” philosophy as per which, human beings can become divine through knowledge and the ultimate goal is to experience the ‘SatchitAnanda’, the state of bliss consciousness that emanates from truth and higher consciousness.
“Knowledge must lead us to become wise and we must have the wisdom to use the knowledge we acquire for improving our lives,” he said.
Urging those in the gathering to be insular as well as receptive, he said, “We should draw inspiration from the best in the Indian tradition, remove the deadwood that has also been accumulated over many years and revitalize our country”.