India will rule the 21st century which is the era of knowledge and with 800 million youths below the age of 35 years, the dream of every young person can become a progress story of this country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.
Addressing the fifth convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, he said this is a century of knowledge and whenever there has been an era of knowledge, India has shown the way.
“India will lead the 21st century because the energy required for the 21st century, which is knowledge and that is with India. India has 800 million youth power which is below 35 years. Dream of every youth can become a progress story for the country,” Modi said.
The prime minister told the students that the question of ‘what next’ will play on their minds but the person who knows what lies ahead won’t need to depend on others.
“Recall what your parents did for you. They sacrificed their own happiness for yours. You may have thought of so much in your childhood but it may not have worked out. Forget that and instead, think of what you have achieved,” he said.
Modi said this university has been built with the contribution of millions of pilgrims, many of whom came from far away places.
“Let’s pledge that we will do something for the poor, because it was the poor pilgrim who contributed to build this university,” he said.
“Our nation is scaling new heights of progress and with such a youthful population we can achieve so much. Dream to do something and not to become someone,” he said.
Modi said a unique feature of this university is that while other varsities in the country are run by taxpayers’ money, this one is being funded by millions of poor people who come to pay obeisance to Vaishno Devi shrine.
Invoking former President A P J Abdul Kalam, the prime minister said, “You don’t only need facilities but dedication too. Kalam, who laid the foundation stone of this university and was known as the Missile Man, at one time used to sell newspapers. Dashrath Manjhi of Bihar had no education or facilities but he had a dream and he constructed a road all by himself.”
Modi said that if facilities were everything then the people who have all such facilities should have achieved everything in life but that was not the case.
The convocation was attended by Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Union and state ministers, among others.
The prime minister told the students that deekshant samaroh (convocation ceremony) has a history of thousands of years as it has continued since the days of ‘Treta Yug’ (mythological period of King Rama).
“You must realise your dreams. Our scientists worked to ensure that a probe vehicle reached Mars in less than Rs 7 per kilometre,” he said.
He asked the students to not get demoralised if their dreams were not always fulfilled.
“Problems come in life but you must strive to move ahead. This university is a mini-India and when you move out of here be the ambassadors of the ‘Crown of India’ (Jammu and Kashmir),” he said.
Congratulating the students who were awarded degrees, the prime minister said it was a major event in their lives that comes after 20-25 years of hard work and dedication.
Advising the students not to consider this event as an end but a new beginning to face new challenges and move forward, Modi said, “It will be possible only after you utilise the treasure you have collected from here.”
He said the students need to learn from their mistakes as they can achieve a lot by learning from them.
He reminded the students that they were helped by somebody to reach this place but from now on they will be on their own and will have to take their own decisions.
"...If you become a teacher and are unable to answer a question of a student, then you end up becoming a laughing stock," he quipped.
On the Mars mission, he said, “We have the best talent and we became the first country to succeed in reaching Mars in our first attempt and that too at a very low cost.”
“When an auto ride costs Rs 10 for one kilometre, the cost of our Mars mission was Rs 7 per kilometre, the cost of our Mars Mission was less than the amount spent on several Hollywood movies,” he said.