The Mahatma’s grandson speaks in Mysore

Having shaken hands with Rajmohan Gandhi a few times, this much can be said for certain: there is something magical about seeing the kin of the Father of the Nation in flesh and blood.

It is difficult to explain why, but there is a tingling feeling.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the grandson of the Mahatma, and the Governor of West Bengal, was in Mysore today, to deliver the convocation address of the Karnataka State Open University, and needless to say, that tingling feeling came all over again, seeing him wear the Mysore ‘peta’ and walk the soil on which the Mahatma himself had trod 61 years ago.

In the English portion of his speech (he later also spoke in Hindi), Gopal Gandhi unveiled his tripitika for a good University.

Three things, he believes, every University must follow to become a good University. Here is his English speech, verbatim.


“A University, be it a conventional University or be it an open University, and we now have 12 such Universities in the country apart form IGNOU, must be able to say that its administration is sound, just as you and I say that our heart is strong, our heart is healthy. Because anything that obstructs the heart or arteries or blood vessels leads to an impediment of he flow of lifeblood. So, an administration should neither be obstructed nor be obstructionist. It should be easy flowing. It should relate to the leadership of the University and be able to translate the Universities ideas into reality.”


“The second thing is a University’s ethos. We are a democracy. Politics is the lifeblood of a democracy. And we are very proud of our democracy, and we should also take great pride in the political processes of democracy. But a University is an academic institution and should steer clear from politics. I will put it as an image. Politics and Universities should not mix just as in our food a pickle and a payasam should not mix. A pickle is delicious, a payasam is delicious. But keep them separately for two separate enjoyments. Do not mix them.”


“The third is a University’s standards. A University is our kind of society has to be socially inclusive. It must include those whom history ad society have excluded over centuries. It must bring them into the mainstream of University life. It should be socially inclusive. The disadvantaged and the underprivileged, whether for reasons of gender or caste or economic disabilities, who have been left out of the main Universities, should be brought into it. Just as there is social inclusiveness, there should be ‘viveka’ in academic maters, which means there should be no dilution of standards. Nobody should be able to say that a Universities, because it has included more people, has diluted its standards.”