Manipal, August 6, 2017: Speaking after inaugurating a national conference on ’Youths in Social Change’ organised by Volunteer Services Organization of Manipal University, Magsaysay award winner Dr Harish Hande said all individuals to accept responsibility to build the country and go forward.
Hande, managing director of Selco company, called upon the youths to take the responsibility and be the catalysts for change in all walks of life to take the country forward. He cited several instances about how the rural folk could be partners in finding solutions to several problems. Inclusivity is something that the future of 700 million people in the country is not only going to define the future of this country, but also the future of the world, he observed.
He urged the students not to block their future by joining corporate sector. The practical experience is most important than the classroom learning. Travel all over and understand the problem, he advised them.
With the focus being on youths and their role in social change, Hande said that first a change within an individual is of paramount importance, before setting out to change others. "We still have 300 million people without electricity. The highest maternal deaths is due to indoor air pollution. One million women and children die of indoor air pollution in the world and 75% of the deceased are Indians. How can we leave in peace when such a large proportion of people are dying? As long as this situation exists and poverty exists, we are all anti-nationals. What is the point in saying we are the largest economy in the world? The issue of clean water in Orissa and arsenic in West Bengal, basic education still looms high. The problem encountered in Latin American countries is the reflection of the problems suffered in India and India is a laboratory wherein the experiments are held for the solutions."
"We need to change the perspective of the country that we do not help the farmers.The poor have incredible resource of talent. The haves receive excellent education which is actually funded by the poor," he added.
"I would not have gotten into IIT, Kharagpur if all 300 million students wrote the entrance with me. Yes, system is at fault, but so are we." He went on to say that his education at IIT was subsidised because the government paid for it. "Where did the government get that money? From the poor and the taxpayers, obviously. In return, what are we doing for the poor?" he asked.
Speaking from experience, Hande posed yet another question. "If I have a PhD in farming, do I qualify to be an expert on the subject or is the one who spent 40 years in farming better qualified to speak on the subject? Here’s where we lack. The poor also happen to be experts in various fields, learn from them, try to engage their ideas as well," he said.
Manipal University Pro-Chancellor Dr H S Ballal said being "educated" is different from being "literate".
He urged the youths to be "educated" while being "literate."
Founder and CEO of Teach for India, Shaheen Mistri, said there are three golden numbers - 4% of Indian children never go to school, 42% dropout before completing primary school and 76% drop out before entering university. Be the change you dream.