Address of Honourable Lt. Governor Sh. Anil Baijal on the occasion of 118th Founder Day of Hindu College, Delhi University on 15 February 2017.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Mr. Chairman of the Governing Body of Hindu College, Mrs. Anju Srivastava, Principal Hindu College, the Prime Minister of the Hindu College Parliament, esteemed alumni of the College and dear young friends.
Please accept my greetings and best wishes on the 118th Founders Day of the College. Thank you for inviting me on this happy occasion to address the young men and women of this esteemed institution. It is an occasion to introspect and celebrate years and years of outstanding achievements, growth and contribution of the College to the Society. The proud history and the long list of the College’s illustrious alumni who have made their careers in academia, theatre, music, politics, administration and in the sciences, highlight the richness and depth of the College’s foundation and the prolific effort of the teaching faculty to make Hindu College ‘a glorious institution.
I am given to understand that a unique feature of the College is its vibrant Parliament, which gives an excellent forum to the bright minds to hone their skills of oratory, to discuss issues of significance and find unique solutions and ideas. I do believe that you would continue to follow the path of virtue, awaken the immense youth power within you, improve existing systems without breaking them down and most importantly, evolve amidst growing challenges around you.
I have a couple of thoughts to share with you today – the first advice that I would like to give you, young friends is to spend your time working on whatever you are passionate about in life. If your degree was focused upon one particular area, don’t let that stop you from moving in another direction. There is a huge market place full of opportunities waiting for you. You just have to grab one-that interests you. Every job, every profession, my friends, has its own challenges, risks and rewards. This I say based on my experience of multifarious jobs that I was fortunate to have handled in my career as an IAS officer – ranging from revenue administration to taxation; aviation and media policy formulation to managing an airline or an electronic media; or for that matter even hard core regulatory functions.
You may even decide to take a break and consider your options. I would urge you to travel, take on new experiences and draw upon those when it comes to making the decisions that will shape your future. The amount of business ideas that people pick up from travelling the world is enormous. Equally, if you spot an opportunity early on and are really excited by it, throw yourself into it with everything you have got. Be ambitious. There probably won’t be another time in your life when you have such freedom of opportunity. Grasp it with both hands. Education doesn’t take place in stuffy classrooms and university buildings alone. It can happen everywhere, every day to every person. One extremely seasoned Minister told me in the formative years of my career that knowledge comes not just from the academic institutions but equally, if not more, from the class-rooms of life.
Your generation is indeed accomplished and truly blessed. Thanks to the earth-shaking advancements in technology, we are now communicating like never before – across borders and time zones – on platforms, devices, computers, tablets, phones, apps, games, you name it. Communicating 24/7 – wired and wirelessly – talking, texting, and tweeting – trending and friending.
Today I can see that you’re raring to go out into the “real” world – to get a job and transform the world. I do realize that. I can also empathize with that – because when I close my eyes, it feels like just yesterday that I sat where you are, and I remember exactly how I felt.
I tell you all this, because I know right now everybody’s asking you the same questions: “What are you going to do after your studies? Do you have a job? Where will you be working? How much are they paying? Where are you going?” And here you are: sitting there ready to hit the Fast Forward button and find out the answers.
But today I would like to urge you that before you go out and press that fast forward button, have some patience and courage to first press the pause button. Pause allows you to think and introspect. I know everybody else is rushing around like a lunatic out there, but I am advising you to do exactly the opposite.
For our generation, there were parents to push that pause button, if it became necessary. In my life, for instance, after graduation I was selected as a management trainee in a reasonably good company of our time, based out of Kolkata. When I went to my parents to seek their blessings, I was reprimanded and advised to prepare for the civil services exam. This was the pause button for me, which changed the entire course of my life.
And mind you what I am telling you is nothing new – Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the desert. Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Teresa – the greatest and wisest have often stopped and withdrawn from active lives to journey within themselves. The wisdom they garnered there and shared with us has impacted the world.
So what I am saying is – remember to pause and reflect – before you sign on with someone or some organization whose work you don’t admire and respect. Who you work for, is as important as what you do.
As for me, the truth is that today, I am deeply grateful. Grateful for the life I’ve lived that has brought me here – and all the experiences I’ve had that have made me what I am. I would not mind rewinding and re-living it, if God gave me another chance.
One of the issues of modern times that I do not fail to point out in such gatherings is the growing distance in the relationship between youth and the elderly. They both tend to see each other in some sort of a negative light. Elderly seem to be more critical of the young and the youth tend to just ignore the older generation – may be its just a perception. But this hefty void between the two has caused the generation gap – which is basically due to difference in attitudes between people of different age groups. With both sides having so much to offer, it is important that we use each other as resources to create a culture of perspective, tolerance and understanding.
In this current age where information is so readily accessible in books and over the inter-net, the younger generation assumes that they can learn everything there is to know about life from the web. Yet, some of the finest and most treasured lessons in life do not come from disposable objects, rather from people in your life. Information is helpful, but the understanding of it is transformative and that takes time. While you can learn how to be an entrepreneur and plan a business from books and online research, the elderly are able to explain how to pick yourself up if a project fails, and how to move ahead regardless of drawbacks or shortcomings.
Remember everyone has something to offer and learn despite the difference in age. Every day people have the opportunity to be a teacher and opportunity to be a student. Having younger friends connects people to where they have been, while elderly friends connect individuals to where they are going.
In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the outstanding achievers, wish you all the best in your lives and thank the management for providing me this opportunity to be able to connect with this wonderful gathering.