‘Youth Need to Imbibe the Values of Contentment and Humanism for Peace and Solidarity in Society’
Reflecting the very ethos of The Weekend Leader, Justice N Santosh Hegde, former Karnataka Lokayukta, called upon the youth of the country to imbibe two of the forgotten values that our forefathers cherished – contentment and humanism – to establish peace and solidarity in the society.
Addressing the students of VIT Vellore after presenting The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year (2018) award to Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, the former Supreme Court judge, said that greed has no limit and is the cause of all corruption in the country.
“If you don’t have contentment in life you get a disease called greed, which has no limitation,” he said. “However much you make, you are not satisfied, and you need more and more.”
Hegde listed the various scams in the country starting from the Jeep scam in the 1950s, which resulted in a loss of Rs 52 lakh to the exchequer, to the more recent scams of the current century.
Recalling the words of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during the mid-1980s that out of one rupee that the government spent on welfare programmes, only 15 paise reached the target, he said, “We are in 2019; greed has not come down, it has only increased.”
Known for his anti-corruption drive during his tenure as Karnataka Lokayukta between 2006 and 2010 when he exposed the largescale corruption in the mining operations in Karnataka, Hegde lamented at the falling moral standards in the society. “We live in a society today that respects money and power more than anything else. Consequently there is a mad race to earn as much money as possible at the cost of somebody else.
“I lived and grew up in a society that boycotted the corrupt and such like people. Today, my experience tells me that we live in a society where the people respect wealth and power; it doesn’t matter how you acquire that,” he said.
Talking about the disappearing value of humanism in society, Hegde said that about two and a half years ago, an youngster named Hairsh Nanjappa lost his life in a gruesome road accident on the outskirts of Bengaluru when a lorry ran over him and cut his body into two pieces.
“He was still alive, he was asking for water. But nobody gave him water. When the ambulance came, he still had life and he told the ambulance staff, please donate my eyes. (In this incident), you see both lack of humanism and presence of humanism,” he said.
Making a strong pitch for pluralism, Hegde emphasized that this country is not governed by one religion, one language or one culture. “We have multiple religions, multiple cultures and multiple languages,” he said.
Hegde concluded his speech to the loud applause of students when he said that he was addressing youngsters around the country so that the next generation cannot give the excuse of not being told how they should live.
In his acceptance speech after receiving The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year Award, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, founder, Sulabh International, shared his journey of building a national movement to restore the human rights and dignity of the manual scavengers.
Pathak said that Sulabh not only liberated the scavengers from the inhuman practice but also rehabilitated the people from the community by training the women and children in different skills.
“Sulabh established Nai Disha, a vocational centre in Alwar, Rajsthan, where the women earlier engaged in manual scavenging get stipend and are trained in tailoring, embroidery, beauty treatments and in preparing eatables like pickles and papad,” he said.
“In 2008, Sulabh flew three dozens of such trainees to New York to participate in a fashion show held at the United Nations headquarters to mark the International Year of Sanitation. I accompanied them during that trip and saw in their eyes the glitter of a new life,” he added.
VIT Registrar Dr. K Sathiyanarayanan, who presided over the function, presented the citation and cash prize of Rs 25,000 to Pathak.
P C Vinoj Kumar, Editor, The Weekend Leader, lauded Pathak for his role in ending the inhuman practice of manual scavenging and also rehabilitating them by providing them with jobs and educating their children.
“Few people have been responsible for creating social change of this magnitude in their lifetime. In Tamil Nadu, we had Periyar who started a movement that led to the political and socio-economic empowerment of millions of marginalized people,” he said.
Dr. N Jayasankaran, Adviser, VIT Business School, Dr. P Subhashree, Dean, VIT Business School, and Sam Rajappa, Consulting Editor, The Weekend Leader, also addressed the students and felicitated the awardee.
– TWL Bureau