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‘Unique’ Visva

Santiniketan, Dec. 7: President Pranab Mukherjee today stressed on the need for a distinct identity for Visva-Bharati, saying the university set up by Rabindranath Tagore should not become a replica of other central varsities.

“I am the visitor of 98 institutions, including 43 central institutes and three central universities. Is it necessary for Visva-Bharati to be (like) one of these institutes?” Mukherjee said while delivering the varsity’s 48th convocation address. “Please remember that Tagore did not visualise an ordinary institution.”

He urged the university administration and faculty members to come up with “pragmatic and realistic” solutions to problems affecting the “unique character” of Visva-Bharati.

Some of those present in the audience agreed, saying certain decisions in the past few years had changed the character of Visva-Bharati. The university, they said, has stopped holding open-air classes in most sections. Some teachers said the introduction of the semester system had also affected the uniqueness of Visva-Bharati.

Sabujkali Sen, the media interface committee chairman of Visva-Bharati said: “The number of students has increased. So it has become difficult to manage open-air classes…. We introduced the semester system to follow UGC guidelines. But I think there can always be discussions on these issues.”