Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday said the professors of the IGNOU are like Lord Hanuman, who was unaware of the powers he possessed, and asserted that their work needs to be celebrated.
He made these remarks while addressing the 35th convocation of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in New Delhi. A total of 2,91,588 students, the highest ever, received their degrees and diplomas across the country at the convocation ceremony.
“I am here as a student — a student is a mental state, a condition, it is a mindset. Wherever, whomever, whatsoever, if you are open to learn, you are a student,” the minister said in his address.
Pradhan said he was a student leader and has now become the education minister. Recalling his time as a student, he said in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were protests against the Mandal Commission report and no convocation was held.
He said he always wished that he should have also got his degree at a convocation ceremony.
Speaking about a recent row over the recital of Hanuman Chalisa, Pradhan said, “In our country, tolerance is spoken about and written about. Sometimes, we also receive suggestions on it from abroad. But I feel that it is in-built in our democracy.”
He said all the IGNOU professors, including those associated with the university’s regional centres across the country, possess the qualities of the “Anjani Putra” (Lord Hanuman).
“Hanuman is known to have saved the society and being the voice of the adivasis. He did not realise the kind of powers he possessed and sometimes, he had to be told about his immense powers. You are Hanuman. You do not realise what you have done. Let us celebrate what you have done,” the minister said.
He urged the degree holders to share a minute-long testimonial about the university on Facebook.
The education minister also said whatever the IGNOU has been doing since its inception in 1985 has now become the National Education Policy and is being implemented across the country.