Life is a collection of experiences, adventures, thoughts, relationships, values, principles, and learnings that one accumulates within themselves throughout time. The last two years have taught us some very valuable lessons and the realization dawned to us that life is more valuable than we had previously thought, it taught us that there should be a better way of making a living and achieving happiness, it also made us realize that not everyone in this world is as fortunate as some of us have been, finally it brought out the best and the worst within the human race. We have seen that despite the pandemic taking a big toll on humanity we have still not understood how to live in peace. We have used our knowledge to create barriers to human development and machines of self-destruction. As Martin Luther King, Jr., put it, we live in a world of “guided missiles and misguided men,” where few technical problems are too complex to solve but we find it impossible to cope with the most basic of life’s challenges: how to live together in peace and harmony with nature. To me, the central paradox of our time is that despite our powerful intellectual skills and our ingenious engineering and medical achievements, we cannot still live wisely. We send sophisticated satellites into space that beam us startling information about the destruction of the environment, yet we do little, if anything, to stop that destruction.
This truly brings us to a stage where we as educators will have to think if we have failed in educating our youth. Have we also, as teachers become victims of the misguided men of our society and have stayed away from the path that leads us to a life of principles based on Dharma. Universities and colleges are custodians of knowledge and they ensure that such knowledge is transferred to the youth. I, however, ask this question if we have been able to transfer knowledge along with a strong principled character. We have to focus on intellectual development with commensurate internal character development. Yet all too often in the academic world, that’s exactly what we do by not focusing on the character development of young people. There is a way forward for all of us if we are willing to accept the problem at our hands. The most important aspect is that people who are transforming education as founders of universities and academic leaders have to first build consensus around a common set of principles, values, and priorities that will guide them to a new form of education that can transform society in which we live. A good starting point would be to integrate the seven deadly sins put forward by Mahatma Gandhi and to ensure that our youth are exposed to these sins and can positively contribute to development of society.
Seven Deadly Sins as per Mahatma Gandhi are (1) Wealth Without Work (2) Pleasure Without Conscience (3) Knowledge Without Character (4) Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics) (5) Science Without Humanity (6) Religion Without Sacrifice (7) Politics Without Principle. Every University should develop a course that should be offered around these to make our students aware of the principles around which society should be restructured. This will also prepare them through an understanding of the difference between what is right and what is wrong. We will also need the best of minds as teachers to achieve this objective. Often, we are in a hurry and make the wrong choices when building institutions of higher learning. As a teacher or an administration, the task of building an institution starts with having great teachers and great students and knowing what that great means. Let’s all join hands in making the India of our dreams through the process of self-transformation and preparing the youth of tomorrow. I hope that Rishihood as a University will continue its efforts to walk the difficult path and achieve the objective of creating a great university.
Wishing you all a very happy new year 2022.
Prof. (Dr.) Kamlesh Misra
Vice Chancellor, Rishihood University