I remember one situation whereby i sat on the airport and as I sat there, I had my phone in my hands, though I was desiring to use it, i still could not get any network connection. And right next to me sat a lady, who was holding her old nokia phone, it was not one of these latest model phones, but as old as it was, she was talking endlessly on her phone. This made me realise that what was important in her case, was not the kind of phone she was using, or the kind of phone I was using, what was important was that the phone had the had an established network connection, which is what we need to ensure in our lives as well. We need to have the right forms of connectivity every single time.
So, in order to connect with you through my speech, I would like you to watch this video of a man who wakes up every single morning just like all of us, lives in a very small house, and lives a very simple life. This man never went to school, he never set on graduation chairs like you are sitting here today and he never had a degree in his hands. But he wakes up every single morning, and makes sure the water being wasted waters a plant, he wakes up every morning and helps an elderly lady cross the road, he goes on to wake up in the morning and helps the poor lady with all the money in his, and he goes on to keep bananas on the door of a lady with whom he has never spoken to. He wakes up every single morning and does all these things and gets a single “thank you”, in return for the work which he has done, and still wakes up the next morning and does it all over again.
The one lesson I would like each and every single graduating student sitting here today, to know and remember is that this man, even without sitting in a classroom for a single day, without graduating from any University and without any degree in his hands, this man stands as the most educated person in this world. So the question that follows is, WHAT IS TRULY EDUCATION?
So before we begin to answer this question, I would like to know, how many here believe that they are educated? You can show by raising your hands. So almost everyone has raised their hands today, which is very good, but today I would like to challenge your minds, to challenge your heart and challenge your education, with these very few words i will share with you which i hope will make you understand the true meaning of your education.
If you remember the very first day you sat in a classroom and you listened to the words of your teacher, That was not education!
If you remember the days you were given the examinations, and you would memorise all the answers (the night before the exam) I really hope that none of the students sitting here today only studied the night before the exam. And after writing the examination you got As and Bs on your mark-sheet, That was also not Education!
If you also remember the days you were given projects to write, and you did your research with the rest of your colleagues and presented your thesis, That was also not Education!
My dear students, all this was not Education, but all of this was the most fundamental part of the process called Education, the lectures, the examinations and the projects, these were the necessary tools which were designed to equip each and everyone of you with the Knowledge which you require to reach the final destination called education.
So today I would like all of you to congratulate yourselves, because your hardwork and commitment has made you acquire this knowledge….
But now, today your true test of Education begins. You see the classroom gave you knowledge, but the life you are getting into is going to provide you with the true meaning of education.
So Again What is Education?
In the most simplest words i could come up with which I deeply desire that each and everyone of you keeps within their minds is that “True Education occurs when the knowledge inside of you is given a purpose in your life and the lives of others”.
SO if you remember the story i showed you in the beginning, this man had only one knowledge, and the only thing he knew was that it is the duty of every single person in this world, whether you are from India, from Zimbabwe, from America or anywhere on this earth. It is all our duty to serve humanity, to serve the animals and to serve the environment.
The most important thing about this man is that he did not only stop by knowing this, just as each and every one of you sitting here today, should not just stop by knowing the theories of engineering, or the procedures of medicine, or the ideas of entrepreneurship, but you need to take the next step just as this man took the next step of giving his knowledge a purpose, and he began helping the poor, protecting the environment, and serving the elderly. He was able to see all the problems these people were having and he made their problems his purpose and this is what turned his knowledge into his education, making him the most educated man in this world.
The is my desire for each and every student sitting here today, that you also get to complete the cycle of your education, by attaching the knowledge which you gained here in Parul University, with a purpose in this world, and the more you put your knowledge into use, by serving your mother and father, the society you live in and above all the Nation of India, and the world at large, that is when you truly become Educated!
So the next important question, which you all need to ask yourselves at this point is that:
Do you know how to Identify your purpose?
And the answer to this is very simple. You see Whenever you look at the world and you see the problems which our world is suffering from, when you see families living in poverty, be the business student who works towards improving the economy of your nation.
When you see children dying from malnutrition, you need to become the medical doctor, or the nurse who has dedicated her life to providing healthcare to these children.
When you see the environment suffering from climate change, global warming, greenhouse effect, you need to be the engineer, be the scientist and be the agriculture expert who innovates solutions to reduce these environmental issues.
When you see justice not prevailing in the society, or women and children suffering from descrimition, you need to be the lawyers and social workers who will come up with the solutions which will put an end to all of this and ensure that justice prevails.
So to all the graduating students of 2019, the moment you dedicate your education and your knowledge to solving all the problems which exist in your society or in the nation you live in, i tell you that is the day when you would have truly found your purpose.
You may be wondering why it is important to serve others, let me answer you by asking you this question.
How many of you can breathe? I know its a very obvious question, because if you were not breathing then you would not be sitting here today. So we all can breathe right, and i want you to do a small exercise: Can you take a deep breathe inside, now breathe out. Now again i want you breathe in but this time keep breathing in. You see, you cannot breathe anymore, because there is a point of limitation to the air you can take in inside your lungs, so in order to breathe you need to breathe out
In the same way, my dear students, you have gone through your academic years, and all these years you have been taking in knowledge just like you were breathing in right now, and you cannot keep taking in which is why you need to take out some of that knowledge and use it to serve the people in your nation and in your society. And along this journey, you will discover that the more you give out, or the more you share, is the more you will grow to your fullest individual potential.
Before we go any further I would like to take this time to welcome you to the 21st century:
A century where:
Our PHONES are now WIRELESS
Where COOKING is now FIRELESS
The CARS are now KEYLESS
Our FOOD is now TASTELESS
Where the TYRES are now TUBELESS
And the DRESSES are now SLEEVELESS
Where the YOUTH are JOBLESS
And the LEADERS are SHAMELESS
Where the WIVES are FEARLESS
And the FEELINGS are HEARTLESS
Where RELATIONSHIPS are MEANINGLESS
In fact all of this leaves me very SPEECHLESS
Even Though EVERYTHING in this century IS BECOMING LESS but the one thing i know is that our hopes for a better future will always be ENDLESS.
But in such a century where everything is focused on getting less, my students today I need to tell you that you need to be MORE. You need to always ensure that in everything that you do, you never limit the potential of greatness that lies within each and everyone of you. Robin Sharma once said, the greatest death in this world is not the one that ends your life, but it is the one that kills the unique value and creativity inside of you while you are still living.
But for you to be able to do More in life you also need to start by doing less. At this age it is very common that you all want to be entrepreneurs, that you all want to start the biggest companies, engineer the greatest technology, all this is not wrong, but the one thing you need to know is that “the tree with the largest branches and the most beautiful fruits began as a small seed”.
Jeff Bezos started Amazon in a garage on his own, with a single desk and a single computer. Steven Jobs, started Apple, in his friend’s garage, Dhurubai Ambani started off as teacher, and grew Reliance from only 50 000 Rupees and today all of these companies, stand at the top of the Fortune 500 of the world, and all of these great business people were patient enough to start small.
Now to all the graduating students of 2019, I urge you to start small, and this is how you do it.
Every day when you wake up in the morning, you need to make sure that you wake up early. I know there are some of you who don’t like waking up early so much that right now you are saying goodbye amazon, goodbye apple, goodbye business, because I am never waking up early. But what I need to tell you is that when you wake up early, you have to spread your bed, you need to take time to iron and arrange your clothes, and you have to clean your room. The secret behind this is that, everything begins small, and so many times we focus on the big business ideas and the big projects, that we forget to pay attention to the small things around us. So the moment you learn to do the small things in your life from the point you wake up in the morning, with perfection that is the moment you will move closer to achieving your future goals.
Today technology is all around us, Artificial Intelligence is becoming more real and less artificial, science fiction is becoming science fact and the internet of things is making our refrigerators, our washing machines, our cars, and even our homes wake up while we are sleeping. With technology and digitalisation growing at such rapid unprecedented speeds, my dear students you need to jump on the bullet train of digitisation before the world leaves you behind.
However, as you jump on this train, the one thing I deeply desire for each and every single one of you to know is that you should get on the train of technology not for you to be driven by technology but for you to be the driver of technology. What do I mean by this:
I remember one funny story of a student who had just written his final thesis project and he was just about to graduate, and at the end of his project he had written a list of all the people he was thanking for making his education a success, so he wrote the names of his father and his mother, the names of his professors and guides and in the end he just wrote GOOGLE”. If there is one thing every single student in this century loves more than anything, it is googling, i really think that on Guru Purnima students should also pay their respects to Google.
However, in today’s times we googling more and we are thinking less, we are sharing and liking more and we are creating less, we are uploading on social media more, and we downloading knowledge and understanding less. My dear students in such a generation where technology has taken over everything and everywhere, the one place where it can never take over, is your mind and your heart. So in other words, the unique creativity which lies deep within your minds is something that even the greatest artificial intelligence cannot understand. And above all the humanity, inside of you, your emotions and your feelings of love towards your brothers and sisters, your care for the poor and for the homeless, your kindness towards the sick and above all your respect for your fellow human beings, is something that even the greatest technology can never replace. So your mind and your heart are your most valuable resources, you need to use them for the greater good of your society and for the development of your nation.
As my final words, today I would like to change something you have heard for a very long time, maybe all throughout your academic journey. I am very sure that many of you have heard the words “education is the key to success”, these words are very true, because education is the vehicle and success is the destination. But the one thing these words do not tell you is how to reach the destination called success, so today I would like to change this statement and tell you that education is the key to growth, and your growth is what brings you the success you desire in your life.
As a teacher I am reminded of how many times I would give examinations and tests to my students and they would go home and only read and to cram up all the answers the night before the exams, and they would come and write, and pass with As. And then if you asked them a week later what they wrote in their exams, they would not remember anymore. I hope this is not the case for any of the students sitting, I am very sure many of you remember everything you studied from your first semester until today, if you don’t remember, it’s not too late, there is one teacher who will always remain with you forever as long as you have mobile data and his name is Google.
So what I mean to tell you today is that it is very easy for a person to achieve success in life, but it is not very easy to achieve growth. The students might have been successful in their exams, but they did not grow in their knowledge. So as you walk in this world, I need you to remember that being successful does not always mean you have grown, and many times in life you will grow even when you have been unsuccessful. The Vikram landing of Chandrayaan 2 might not have been successful, but the video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugging ISRO Chief K Sivan, restored hope into our hearts and showed to the whole world how India has grown, in respect, love, determination and dignity for our fellow brothers and sisters. So in everything you do, i need you to focus on your growth instead of your success. Your success is what people see on the outside, but your growth is what happens on the inside of you, it is the growth in your knowledge, the growth in your understanding of humanity the growth in your love, your patience, your values and your morality which matter more than any amount of money you can ever have. And I trust and believe that the moment you begin to focus on your growth, that is the moment you have begun your journey towards success in life.
So once again I would like to congratulate each and every single graduating student sitting here today, for you have not only succeeded in your academics, but you have grown in your knowledge and in life. I would like to conclude with a quote which says, “When you think about the last four years, you’ll probably remember that your greatest lessons came from outside the classroom. It’s a good reminder that learning doesn’t stop just because you have received a degree” so to all our 2019 Graduates, Remember keep learning, and never stop sharing. Thank you.