CHENNAI: Asserting that education is the real wealth that can't be stolen, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Tuesday called upon the youngsters to study well and prosper in their lives.
The education scenario, especially higher education, was far better now than during his college days, and the state government has not only created infrastructure but also extended financial assistance to enable the students to pursue higher education, he said.
"I have come here to greet and address you not only as Chief Minister but also as alumnus of this prestigious institution that was started 17 years before the Madras University came into existence," Stalin said after handing over degree certificates at the convocation ceremony of the Presidency College here facing the Marina Beach.
This was the first and foremost college in the then Madras Presidency, established in 1840, and is nicknamed "the mother of" Madras University, which was started 17 years later in 1857.
The college has produced several illustrious personalities including Sir Pitti Thiyagaraya, U Ve Swaminathan, C V Raman and Rajaji, he said.
Calling upon the students to study well and prosper in life, the Chief Minister said, "education is the real wealth that can't be stolen."
"They say education is like an ocean and this college is literally situated close to the sea. Hardly a few colleges have such unique landscape features," he said.
Recollecting his college days, Stalin said though he joined political science course in Presidency College on June 15, 1972, politics however had a greater influence on him donning upon him the responsibility to campaign for the DMK.
He couldn't continue his studies as he was detained under the Maintenance of Internal Security (MISA) Act during the Emergency (imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975).
"I couldn't continue my studies. Over 500 DMK members including myself were detained under the MISA and the DMK government which opposed Emergency was dismissed," he said. During his detention, he came to college with police protection and wrote the exam, Stalin said.
Indicating that the education scenario now was far better, the Chief Minister said his government has been taking measures to ensure higher education is accessible to all by providing education aid and improving infrastructure.
He announced that a mega auditorium with a seating capacity of 2,000 would be established in the name of former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi at the Presidency College and also a hostel would be built to accommodate over 300 differently-abled students pursuing education at this heritage institution.