The Role of Universities in Our National Life
Dr. Radhakrishnan was of the view that our universities can reconstruct our national life and bring about its regeneration. They have to develop in the students, love of liberty and freedom of thought. It is also incumbent on them to root out conservatism, dogmatism and religious fanaticism. They should revive and rejuvenate our national life by laying bare the opulent heritage of our motherland, which is remarkable for the lofty tradition of the ancients and the high ideals in various fields—philosophy, religion, literature and ethics.
The universities have to make the students refined and cultured. The education imparted will be such as will fully develop the intellect, thought, logical reasoning, the imaginative and critical faculties. Without these attributes a man cannot be properly called human; with them he reaches the full stature of a human being.
The universities have to attach supreme importance to knowledge. This dissemination of knowledge is not the whole process of mental illumination. When knowledge is passively received, there is no change in the quality of the mind. The change take place when one’s mind reacts to new facts and systematizes them. One should not only possess knowledge, but also know the relations between facts and ideas. True mental illumination is the power of referring them individually to their places in a universal system. It gives a calm and an accurate comprehension of all things and is free from littleness and prejudice. The universities should work sedulously to achieve this intellectual excellence by the students.
Our universities have to guide the youth to the right path. They should always shine like a beacon, to lead them to the path of noble deeds, aspirations and truth and to provide them with the right material for the nation building activities. They have to make them disciplined citizens. To quote Nehru, our universities have “to keep their lights burning and must not stray from the right path even when passion convulses the multitude and blinds many amongst those whose duty it is to set an example to others”.
Our universities should also inculcate spiritual values among students. Sir Richard Livingstone, formerly Vice-Chancellor, Oxford University says, “To build up in every man and woman a solid core of spiritual life which will resist the attrition of everyday existence in our mechanised world to humanise man, to show him the spiritual ideals without which neither .happiness nor success is genuine or permanent, to produce beings who will their not merely how to split atoms, but how to use know powers for good”.
The universities have to make the students- world citizens. The need of the hour is internationalism. Narrow-minded nationalism is detrimental to the very existence of man on this planet. Universal harmony can be ensured only through collaboration in the field of education. Tagore cherished the idea of one world — “a world which is not broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls”. When he built up at Santiniketan, a centre of international studies, it merely roused the amused contempt of his wise contemporaries (Krishna Kripalani). Gurudevrealised that unless and until the nations of the world gave up internecine wars and lived as one family, man might disappear from the face of the earth.