NEW DELHI: Universities should be a platform for exchange of views and not become spaces for ideological conflict, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday.
He was addressing the inaugural session of a three-day international seminar on "Revisiting The Ideas of India from 'Swaraj' to 'New India' at the Delhi University.
Shah said that if a particular ideology is a cause for strife, it is "not an ideology and definitely not India's ideology".
"Universities should become a platform for exchange of views and not become spaces for ideological conflict. An ideology progresses through ideas and discussions. No one remembers those who destroyed the universities of Nalanda and Taxila. It is said that the library of Nalanda University burnt for months. But the thoughts from those universities continue to live on even till now," he said addressing the students.
He also advised the youths to understand their duties towards the country and spoke about India's defence policy.
India did not have a defence policy before Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power and even if it existed, it was a "shadow" of the foreign policy, Shah said.
Referring to the anti-terror surgical strikes and airstrike, the minister said that these actions showed the meaning of India's defence policy. "Before Prime Minister Modi, India did not have a defence policy. Even if it existed, it was a shadow of foreign policy. Earlier, terrorists would be sent to attack us and there were similar attempts to do so with the Uri and Pulwama attacks. But with the surgical strikes and airstrikes, we showed what the defence policy meant," he said.
The home minister also stressed that India "worships peace", "wants peace" and has cordial relations with every country in the world. "India is a geo-cultural country and the people will not understand the idea of India until they understand this," he said.
"Some people call India a country of problems, but we believe that our country has the potential to solve millions of problems. From 2014 to 2022 under PM Modi, India achieved several things and crores of poor people started considering themselves as part of the country," he said.
Shah said that some people talk about the human rights of those involved in terror attacks, but those who die due to such acts also have human rights.
Talking about the scrapping of of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, he said that Prime Minister Modi abrogated Article 370 and Article 35A with the snap of a finger on August 5, 2019.
"Those who had said that there would be a bloodbath (khoon ki nadiyaan bahengi) could not even indulge in stone-pelting. PM Modi has shown how change comes if someone keeps the nation as a priority. Our idea of India also revolves around 'surkashit (safe) Bharat'," he said.
The home minister praised the New Education Policy and said that it is the first such initiative that has been "welcomed by all" and has been "unopposed".
Talking about the "5+3+3+4 scheme" outlined in NEP, he said that it is very important that children are taught their mother tongue in the first five years.
"One should learn French, various Chinese languages, but if I don't study Gujarati, Hindi, I won't be able to connect with my roots," he added.
Noting that DU has been a witness to various struggles and how they reached their logical conclusion, he hoped that the university would continue to do so. "For me, it is a matter of pride that DU has invited me to present my views. I was in a dilemma for a couple of minutes about whether I should go or not, but then I decided that I have to go and I should talk to people. It's a big achievement that you have managed to retain your relevance even after 100 years. From Hari Singh Gour (the first VC of DU) to Yogesh Singh I congratulate them all," he said.