NEW DELHI: For Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, receiving a honorary doctorate degree from Jamia Millia Islamia, “a university with a Muslim flavor,” was special.
“This degree from a university with a Muslim flavor is special as I am committed to religious harmony. Since September 11, I have been defending Islam. For a few misguided people we should not blame a religion. Islam is one of the important religions in the planet, and hope for millions of people,” said the Dalai Lama on Tuesday.
The Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) was conferred on the 14th Dalai Lama by vice-chancellor Najeeb Jung at Jamia’s annual convocation. Union HRD, science, technology, communication, and IT minister Kapil Sibal was present.
In a short message, Dalai Lama urged the students to strive towards a peaceful world. He started his speech by requesting those present not to misunderstand him for use of wrong words because “my English is not so good.” “We should not generalize Muslims for a few mischievous followers of Islam. There are mischievous elements in all religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. Problems we are facing in the world today are our own creation. To create a harmonious society, we need young people with vision and for that education and moral ethics should go hand in hand,” said Dalai Lama.
Paying tribute to the spiritual leader, Jung deviated from the conventional vice-chancellor’s address and urged those present “to soak in the presence of His Holiness and the values he shares with our ancient land.”
Lauding India’s pluralism, Jung said: “The Jamia envisioned by its founders, was a pioneering teaching institution that would make Muslims full partners in the great project that is Indian pluralism. This pluralism is sometimes simplified into Hindu-Muslim amity. But this is to diminish the grandeur of the pluralist ideal.”
A total of 3,529 degrees and diplomas were awarded to students from various faculties and departments of the university for successful completion of their postgraduate, undergraduate, and diploma programs in the academic session 2008-09. The university also gave 147 gold medals to toppers in different courses and awarded 127 PhD degrees to research scholars.
Sibal said: “On the education front, I foresee that the number of illiterate people will go down by more than 150 million in absolute numbers. Universalization of primary education will be a reality. Every child will receive school education. The stock of graduates in the country will double to around 100 million. There will be around 1,000 universities of all types with nearly 50,000 colleges. Ten of our institutions and universities will feature among the top 100 in the world by 2020.”