Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde on Saturday said that citizenship was not only about people’s rights, but also about their duties towards the society.
Speaking at the 107th convocation of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University (RTMNU) here, he lamented that some educational institutes have become “extremely commercially-minded” and said developing intelligence and character was the true goal of education.
“Today, education is proliferating. Unfortunately there are some institutes, I am not talking about universities, which have become extremely commercially-minded. I say this from my personal knowledge of certain institutes which profess to teach law,” he said.
“The most important question we should address is what is the purpose of university education. Universities are not about brick and mortar certainly. Universities aren’t supposed to function like assembly line of a production unit,” the CJI said.
“It is also very important to emphasise that university degrees are not end in themselves, but are means to an end. Most importantly, the idea of university reflects what we want to achieve as a society. Universities should re-orient themselves and ensure that they stay true to the compass and march on towards the basic goal of the society, which undoubtedly changes at different times,” he added.
On education, the CJI said, “Closely connected with idea of education is the idea of discipline and I understand that there is a growing resentment in some areas about the idea of discipline. But the word discipline does not mean what it has come to mean today.
“Discipline comes from the word disciple and the word disciple comes from learning. It is the state of mind in which one can learn endlessly any subject. Education is the state of mind for disciples and that state of mind is discipline,” he said.
“Martin Luther (King Jr) is again somebody who was concerned with discipline and indiscipline as we know it. He said something very insightful. He said the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and critically. Intelligenceplus character- that is the true goal of education,” Bobde said.
Research and thinking are important and must be undertaken in the ultimate analysis, he said, adding, “It is equally important, if not more, for the graduating students to realise what is expected from them by the society. It must be realised that in the society, interdependence is as important as independence.”
“A university degree gives tools to chisel one’s future. What one carves out through the help of these tools is the choice and wisdom of the craftsmen. Tools don’t chisel on their own, one needs to be guided by moral compass that resides within.
“You all have a responsibility to be an active citizen too and citizenship isn’t only about rights but it is equally about duties towards society,” the CJI said.
“What you are today is of course the outcome of your rigour, but it is important to realise that you also reap benefits what helped you was created by others. Therefore, we can’t remain oblivious to the well-being of others,” said CJI Bobde.
Calling the RTMNU his alma mater, he said, “It is now that one realises the true meaning of why it is called an alma mater. University is indeed like a mother. It nourishes its children with knowledge, skills and protects them throughout their lives,” he said.