Vice-President’s address at 12th Convocation of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram

The Vice-President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar and Dr. Sudesh Dhankhar planting a Mangosteen sapling at the premises of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology at Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala on July 06, 2024.
The Vice-President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar and Dr. Sudesh Dhankhar in a group photograph with students and faculty members during the 12th Convocation of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology at Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala on July 06, 2024.
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Vice-President’s address at 12th Convocation of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram

By PIB Delhi

I know it is a memorable moment to be cherished. I am grateful to all of you for that.

The institute alumni have brought honour to their alma mater through their achievements and contributions in diverse fields, and our engagement with them is growing.

I congratulate the alumni. Alumni of every institute constitute a think tank, and that think tank can create wonders. This needs to be exemplified and emulated by alumni of other prestigious institutions.

I have long believed in the idea that we must have a confederation of alumni associations. If there is a confederation of alumni associations of prestigious institutions like yours, like IIT, IIM, JNU, and many more, trust me, it will be a global think tank, and it can contribute to our policy-making. A beginning has to be made somewhere; no place is better than this.

It is the people who serve as the true building blocks of an institution. They are what make an institution what it is.

Infrastructure is vital but not the spirit, not the essence. Therefore, it is the human resource, the strength of the faculty that determines the spinal strength of an institution. You are blessed to have such remarkable and capable faculties.

Hon’ble President, Chancellor, distinguished faculty members, dear students, their family members, their friends, the staff, and every part of the human resource associated with this institution, my greetings, my salutations.

It is an unusual pleasure for me. I have imparted convocation addresses and not imparted on some occasions. As Governor of the state of West Bengal, I was Chancellor for about three dozen universities and visited 11 universities. This occasion is very different because the institute is very different. Its mandate is different, its vision is different, and its vision is relatable to the ground reality of our growth structure. I am, therefore, grateful to the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) for affording me this valuable opportunity to interact with young minds that will shape the destiny of this nation.

Many things related to space and science is abstract. We are unable to know the dimensions of it, but what is enigmatic and abstract for others is in your heart and mind to make it tangible and ensure it adds to the betterment of the lives of a billion people in our country or more. This institute can take pride in being Asia’s first space university, and I have no doubt over the decades it will be the most prestigious global university, the way it is going.

It has been designed with a comprehensive vision; IIST provides an integrated educational experience spanning undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral, and post-doctoral programs in a very distinguished category of knowledge and learning.

I am firmly committed to our belief that education is the most impactful transformational mechanism of change. It fosters equality, antidotes inequities. Its mechanism of positive change enables our youth to embrace challenges and avail opportunities that are aplenty in our times.

Friends, this day marks the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. You must have tested the wrath of your teachers; they have been very strong on occasions, but every such wrath imparted will be nectar for you, and that realization you will have every moment of your life once you step outside.

 As rightly indicated by the Chancellor, don’t think this is the end of learning. Learning never stops. As long as you live, you will have to continue learning. Once you stop learning, your downward slide will be expedited.

Even to maintain a static position, you will have to learn, and when you are in an upsurge mode, you have to learn even more. Learning is a part of our life; it never stops.

This institute is indeed privileged to be shaped by minds that are globally recognized. Each of the minds that contributed to the beginning and growth of this institute has made a mark for the growth of the nation.

What a distinction this institute has! Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, was the first Chancellor of IIST. This institution has been privileged to receive outstanding support from numerous distinguished personalities like the former President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and Prof. U. R. Rao.

The Vice-President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar and Dr. Sudesh Dhankhar planting a Mangosteen sapling at the premises of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology at Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala on July 06, 2024.
The Vice-President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar and Dr. Sudesh Dhankhar planting a Mangosteen sapling at the premises of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology at Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala on July 06, 2024.

The tone set then is on an incremental trajectory. It is the only institute of its kind in India that offers a BTech degree in Space Technology and subjects exclusive to the arena of space science and technology. This is amply reflected in our scientific upsurge.

Friends, India has traversed significantly in the last decade. And during this decade, there were global challenges and a pandemic. Bharat has been a shining star, and there has been global recognition, a favourite place for opportunity and destination on the global platform.

Recognition has come from bodies like the IMF, World Bank, and the like. This creates for you a soothing ecosystem where you can fully exploit your talent and realise your aspirations and dreams.

I appeal to you: look around at the vistas and opportunities you have. Break the silos because, undoubtedly, at the global level, India is a country of hope and possibility, and the world recognizes it.

My young friends, you are the largest stakeholders in governance. When we talk of Viksit Bharat, we talk of your involvement in 2047. Many of us may not be here, but you will be in the driver’s seat, you will be in the pilot’s seat, you will be controlling who shall be in those positions. Your role is very significant. Therefore, always keep in mind you have to bring about the change—a change good for the nation, a change you have dreamt of.

Therefore always keep in mind you have to bring about a change which is good for the nation, a change of which you have dreamt.

I invite your attention to Heraclitus, he was a pre Socrates era philosopher. It was he who said “the only constant in life is the change” and he brought it about in his Court very rationally. What he said in Court “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not it the same river lent and he is not the same man”.

So every moment things are changing but that change should not sweep you off your feets. You have to be in command of the change and the only way to be in the command of the change is to take the command of the technology, to be in innovative mode, to think out of the box.

This premier institution symbolizes India’s growing prowess in space, and you are poised to be a vital part of this exciting journey. Your projects in combustion analysis, climate studies, AI applications, satellite imagery, and battery technology exemplify India’s innovation prowess. I urge you to keep pushing boundaries and inspiring future generations to achieve new milestones in science and technology.

Let us aspire for times that will compete with ourselves and we don’t compete with others. When I say India must complete with itself and not with others because we have to be best on the planet and this is not asking for the moon, we enjoy this status thousands of years ago, to the recognition of the entire world and India alone has the potential and knowledge and wisdom repository to bring about such a climaxing that will be soothing not only for the nation but for the entire world because this country believe in Vasudev Kutumbakam.

Offering a unique blend of academics and applied research, IIST has a curriculum designed in collaboration with ISRO. This partnership ensures cutting-edge knowledge of space research and development with practical skills for the 21st-century space industry and this industry has a very significant fiscal dimension. यह दोस्ती IIST और ISRO में क्या गुल खिलाएगी अब देखते रह जाएंगे. इसका असर भारत पर ही नहीं भारत के बाहर भी पड़ेगा और दुनिया इस दोस्ती का कमाल देख रही है.

India’s journey in space exploration has been defined by its ambitious missions, groundbreaking discoveries, and steadfast commitment to scientific advancement.

In the field of space our recent accomplishments have earned global accolades.  In the year 2023, all seven launches of ISRO including Chandrayaan-3, and Aditya L-1, were successful. A total of 5 Indian satellites, 46 foreign satellites, and 8 rocket bodies (including POEM-2) were placed in their intended orbits. All this just in one year.

It is because of ISRO only, that Bharat can proudly boast of being the world’s first country to successfully land Chandrayaan 3 on the south pole of Moon.

चांद पर इसरो ने शिव शक्ति पॉइंट और तिरंगा etch  कर दिया. The moment will ever be etched in history and deeply embedded in our proud pleasant thoughts.

One of the noteworthy accomplishments is India’s successful launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan), making it the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit and the first in the world to do so in its maiden attempt. My heart fails when sometimes knowledgeable people for parties and purposes run down our growth which is being clapped and applauded by everyone on the planet. I feel to those people, play or politics, have your parties in specs, look through the prism in a partition manner but not when it comes to the interest of the Bharat when it comes to the growth history of this country when it comes to the reputation of this country.

India has made significant strides in the realm of Space Science and Technology, carving a niche for itself in the global arena.

I have the opportunity to visit ISRO facilities and interact with the chairman. Trust me I was inspired, motivated and energized. What is being done by people is amazing. They are so passionate in mission mode. For whom? 1.4 million people. My salutations to them!

Be it India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1 or upcoming ambitious human spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan, each milestone has propelled India onto the global stage of space exploration.
Additionally, the Chandrayaan missions have significantly contributed to lunar exploration, unveiling new facets of the Moon’s surface.

These achievements underscore India’s technical prowess and determination to explore the uncharted territories of space.

Our space missions and achievements in the domain indeed “define our identity as a technology-creating nation striving to lead one of the most powerful and influential space programmes in the 21st century world.”These are not my words. These are ISRO Chairman’s words. I concur with him hundred percent and identity as a nation in the world of science is defined by these accomplishments.

The success of missions led by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has contributed significantly to India’s diplomatic soft power and enhanced the quality of life of millions.

As you embark on your professional journeys, remember that the space industry is undergoing a thrilling metamorphosis. New paradigms like reusable launch vehicles are taking flight, vast networks of satellites are blanketing the globe, and human spaceflight is redefining the landscape.

These vistas like space are never ending. You can exploit your talent to realise what is beyond contemplation of the people of my age. You can bring it to the ground reality.

The coming decades will witness an unprecedented surge in space exploration. India, with its robust space program and a growing pool of skilled professionals, is well-positioned to be a key player in this exciting journey.

Friends have it from me, this century belongs to Bharat. We have no doubt about it and our because Bharat is on rise as never before and the rise is Unstoppable, the Rise is incremental and the rise will be driven by you once we step out and get into the marathon March that is going to climax in 2047. You will be important stakeholders, the driving force of that March that will fructify in nothing but the success. Personally for me I think Bharat will be viksit Bharat ahead of 2047. I have no doubt about it.

I have been informed that the Lithium-ion battery technology developed by ISRO can be useful in the development of the electric vehicle ecosystem in the country. The Government of India has taken initiative with respect to certain minerals to put them in the private sector and why we are engaged with Lithium. Our next generation situation is also coming with sodium. so I have no doubt you will be abreast with Sodium at global level.

Dear friends, our position and geo-political strength will be determined not only by physical prowess but also by the intellectual and technological innovations emerging from our laboratories. A country investing in technological advancement ensures secure boundaries. Gone are the days of conventional warfare.

Friends, we have lived in an era where the mood was grim, the economic situation was painful, foreign exchange was dwindling, and gold had to be placed in physical form in Swiss banks. I am talking about a time when I was a member of parliament in 1989. I was a Union Minister. The size of the Indian economy was smaller than the city of London and Paris. Our Foreign Exchange was between 1 billion and two billion dollars and now we are 660 billion dollars foreign exchange. We have Traversed a journey from fragile 5 to the big file five global economy and on the way to becoming the third largest global economy. We must not hesitate this is on account of visionary leadership, a leadership that firmly gave policy to this country. When you have a political journey of that kind of nation that comprises 1.4 billion there are bound to be air pockets. and I have no doubt the Governance of this country during the next 5 years will put our country on a trajectory where we will have to look behind who is behind us and in this entire exercise you are a very important place.

Dear friends, today you have a corruption free enabling ecosystem. Supportive policies are fostering the growth of a vibrant space ecosystem, encouraging public-private partnerships that will propel India even further in the space race. Friends, nothing can happen unless you focus on research and development. There was a time when we used to wait for technology. Just imagine now there is hardly any technological gap between Bharat and the most developed Nations. Thanks to our scientific community. I urge from this platform to the corporate sector of the country to be extremely benign, Cognizant and extend Full support to research and development and what they should realise that this research and development will ultimately benefit. They will gain the most because when it has to be put into circulation for larger public welfare, they are the only catalyst of the energy which can put it round. So I appeal you need to do that.

Disruptive technologies- artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT), machine learning, blockchain and the like are both opportunities and challenges. These are the things you must be fully aware of.

Quantum computing machine. We are among the few countries in the world where allocation has been made for 6000 crores. You need more than anyone else. Quantum computing. Our Green hydrogen mission with a commitment of 80000 crore and it has a potential to generate 6 lakh jobs investment of 8 lakh crores. we have enough. One problem which I see is that our young Minds when it comes to opportunities are working in silos. They think their opportunity lies only in the respect of certain competitive examination results but not any longer. They then need to be informed that the best is outside the silos. You need to be fully Cognizant aware of the best avail. These opportunities are challenging but the gains will be geometric and I am sure you will take note of it. We are on a mission to regain its past glory that will be done only by people like you.

I remember my student days. Scholarship gave me the opportunity to be in the Sainik School. Let me tell you I love to come to those states, Kerala being one of them where my teacher lives, my favourite teacher. She mentered me, she had held me is from Kerala, Miss Ratnavali Nayyar. Every time I come to this place I take it as no less than a pilgrimage to pay tribute. I have visited her house. We are in touch with her. I requested a very distinguished member of parliament PT Usha ji to see that my teacher visits where I live in Delhi, the new Parliament building so that we can feel blessed there and my message to you all doctor Kalam is being all over why? People see in him a teacher doctor S Radhakrishnan is not remembered as a philosopher, as vice president as president of India is remembered on 5 September as a teacher in the form of teacher’s day. Always have your teacher in mind, your parents in mind, they make you, they have made you and never disappoint.

 Dr. Kalam’s words resonate deeply with the ethos of IIST: “Dream, dream, dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in action.” This with Swami Vivekanand’s clarion call ‘awake, rise till goal” If two are coupled this space flight will land at any destination in this space that will be a glorious moment.  

This is an institution where dreams take wings as thoughts leading  into groundbreaking actions. So think out of the box. Never have tension, never have stres, never fear failure; Failure is just a further step to success. If you need any proof Chandrayaan 2 was not a failure, it was a stepping stone to success of Chandrayan 3. The day Chandrayaan 2 was to land on the moon, I was the governor of the state of West Bengal. It was midnight. me and my wife both have gone to Science City. We were in the company of 500 young boys and girls. We all were watching Chandrayaan 2 and came quite close but the landing was not soft and there was pin drop silence. came a message from the Prime Minister we have largely succeeded and success fructified with chandrayaan 3. Therefore never fear failure. For fear of failure if you put your entire mind to be a parking place for a great idea you are doing in justice not only to yourself but to humanity. So never stop trying.

Friends before concluding I must share my one concern which I faced this morning. I hope this has not taken place. when informed Minds knowingly lead astray, we need to be on gaurds. We have informed Minds on the dias and we have informed Minds in the faculty. if you say something different which you don’t believe in everyone will believe you because you are having the elevated position. So this morning when I read a paper an informed mind who has been the finance minister of this country, parliamentarian for long and a member of Rajya Sabha currently. He stuns me because I took great Pride that this Parliament has done a great thing. It has unshackled us from colonial legacy by giving three laws that are of epocal dimension.

From dand vidhan we have come to nyay Vidhan. Every member of parliamentary has the opportunity to contribute on the floor of the house. This gentleman of the Parliament with great background as finance minister and what he says “New laws but drafted by part timers” are we part timers in parliament. inexcuseable absurd to the wisdom of parliament. With heavy heart I am sharing with you the gentleman did not use his lung power he gave proper rest to his vocal chords while debate was going on. Not only he his distinguish colleagues from my legal fraternity did not come forward to help the nation they had an opportunity to make his point in Parliament.

It was failure on his part to perform is Constitutional duty and obligation and how can we countenance such a man speaking in high decibel, time to seek resonance on the people only to set mechanism. I am shocked beyond words and therefore please be aware of the minds who deliberately as a strategy by way of a narrative try to run down our nation, demean our institutions, our progress, don’t see the writing on the wall, they engage in criticism for the sake of the criticism. I do not have words strong enough to convey such a narrative being set afloat. A member of parliament being labelled as a part timer. Ultimately it is a parliament that is the last source of law formulation. Every section of the society is represented there. The entire country finds a place when it comes to expression. Failure of duty on your part and act of omission, Commission, dereliction of Duty which can never be explained you must hold yourself accountable. I am addressing the author of this that was made by the part timers to your conscience. I appeal to him from this platform these derogatory, defamatory, highly insulting observations to Members of Parliament. I hope he does it. 

I am confident that each of you will play a pivotal role in shaping ‘Viksit Bharat@2047’. Together, with absolute confidence and determination, we stride towards this shared vision. I extend my heartfelt wishes to all of you for a successful and fulfilling career ahead.

Thank you. Jai Hind!

About Post Author

Editor Desk

Antara Tripathy M.Sc., B.Ed. by qualification and bring 15 years of media reporting experience.. Coverred many illustarted events like, G20, ICC,MCCI,British High Commission, Bangladesh etc. She took over from the founder Editor of IBG NEWS Suman Munshi (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018 and October 2020 to 13 June 2023).
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