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Governor’s absence at RSU convocation unfair

Governor’s absence at RSU convocation unfair
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The Chancellor of Rayalaseema University (RSU), Governor E S L Narasimhan, did not take part in its first-ever convocation, “as the required...

The Chancellor of Rayalaseema University (RSU), Governor E S L Narasimhan, did not take part in its first-ever convocation, “as the required facilities were not available.” His absence is a self-denial of opportunity. The convocation address was delivered by Prof Govardhan, an internationally acclaimed chemical scientist

“A large number of students have expressed their disappointment at the absence of the Chancellor, E S L Narasimhan, the Governor, at the event (the first-ever convocation of the young Rayalaseema University-RSU)... as the required facilities were not available” (The Hans India, Jan 10, 2016). 'The required facilities' goes unexplained. Sixty two years back Kurnool hosted a Raj Bhavan as the capital of Andhra.

The incumbent Presidents and the Prime Ministers visited Kurnool. Future and former VVIPs, Governors and Chief Ministers regularly camp here. It is one of the few cities in Andhra Pradesh to have a State Guest House. In the same edition of The Hans India we have a news item: Dateline, Hazaribagh, Jharkhand: "Encourage local talent of innovation: Pranab.” The President of India was delivering the convocation address at the Vinoba Bhave University.

The President is the visitor of as many as 113 institutes of higher learning, central universities and academic institutions. Pranab Mukherjee revived the tradition of the yearly Conference of Vice Chancellors and the Directors of the NIT in the year 2013. It is held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. At such a conference in November 2013, he " laid emphasis on quality of education and international collaboration.”

To adopt the global best practices, the President started a tradition of including the Vice Chancellors and Directors of Central Universities and NIT respectively, in the Presidential delegations during his visits abroad. To express the exalted position of the Chancellor and the aspirations of the young 'disappointed' graduates, let me quote the Andhra Kesari Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu, the Premier of Madras (as the Chief Minster was then known).

He was delivering the convocation address of the Madras University on 8th August, 1946: "It was not without a certain hesitation that I accepted the invitation of His Excellency, the Chancellor, to address this gathering of new graduates and the alumni of the University of Madras. I am grateful to the Chancellor for the opportunity so given to me, of meeting ardent young men and women on the occasion of their receiving the degrees of the University, and on their proudly emerging from College and Universities into the larger university of life.

I wish all of you who have so emerged, a bright and useful future. Some of you have done better than others so far. Some of you will do better than others hereafter. I congratulate all but all of you need to keep this fact in mind: Education has not ended for you. It has just begun." Same year on 14th December, Andhra Kesari repeated the feat at Andhra University.

He exhorted the graduates: "I consider it a great privilege and honour to have been invited to address this gathering of new graduates and grateful for this opportunity given to me of meeting you, young men and women on the occasion of your receiving a degree of a University and emerging into the large University of life. I wish all of you a bright and useful future, I Congratulate you all."

Both the Universities were in Madras State and the Governor/Chancellor on both the occasions was Sir Archibald Edward Nye (from 5 May 1946 to 15 August 1947). Madras University's destiny was being guided by the legendary Vice Chancellor, Dr Arcot Lakshmanaswamy Mudaliar. Apart from being a Gynecologist, a well-known academician and an educationist of international repute, he was a leader of the Dravidian Movement, too. V S Krishna, an Oxford educated Professor of Economics, was the Vice Chancellor of Andhra University.

When Sri Venkateswara University was to be instituted in 1954, expected cooperation was not forthcoming from the Governor, C M Trivedi. Hence the Chief Justice of the Andhra High Court, Justice Koka Subba Rao was chosen the founder Chancellor. Isn’t the time ripe to reconsider the selection to the Post of the Chancellor and prescribe his duties? At the Rayalaseema University, on December 9, 2016, convocation address was delivered by Prof Govardhan, an internationally acclaimed chemical scientist.

He may not have scaled the heights of Andhra Kesari. Suffice to say that he was the Director of the Prestigious Indian Institute of Science, one and only Indian institute among the top one hundred in the world. He pointedly drew the attention of the Chancellor to a couple of issues. (A copy of the Address is not available with me). Prof Narasimhulu , the VC of the RSU, may not be among the all time greats. But at least a couple of graduates who received the degrees may reach the pinnacle and become another Dr Sarvepalli or Prakasam or Dr C R Reddy or Visvanatha or Sri Sri or Suri Bhagavantham.

Narasimhan's absence from the convocation of the RSU and from any other such ceremonial and memorable occasions is a self-denial of opportunity. Of course, there were only three universities in 1946. Now there are about 30. Can he not spare thirty days in a year? Further the programme was arranged well in advance with his consent and concurrence. Hope in future, the Governor will bestow as much attention on the temples of learning as on the temples of the Vaishnavaite deities.

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