The panel consisted of 3 Speakers – Prof Malabika Sarkar, Former Vice Chancellor, Presidency University, Kolkata, Prof Sujit K. Basu, Former Vice Chancellor, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan and Justice Altamas Kabir—Former Chief Justice of India along with Mr. Indranath Chowdury, Director General, Bharat Soka Gakkai and Ms. Naveena Reddy, Head-External Relations and Honorary Deputy Chairperson – Bharat Soka Gakkai.
Prof Malabika Sarkar, Former Vice chancellor Presidency University, emphasized that one could not neglect the wisdom of the past if the aim was to establish a peaceful society today. Referring to the romantic mystic poet William Blake, she could trace the connection between the microcosm and the macrocosm, the Local and the Global as propounded by Dr Ikeda in his concept of “Value Creation.” She urged the necessity of making this wisdom a part of daily life so that Higher Education could make a difference in the Society.
Professor Sujit K Basu, Former Vice Chancellor Visva-Bharati, spoke about his interactions with Dr Ikeda, which led him to acknowledge the great influence of Rabindranath Tagore upon Ikeda’s thought and action. He mentioned that the proposal impressed him that how we can redirect the contents of the 21st century towards greater hope, solidarity and peace in order to construct a sustainable global society, one in which the dignity of each individual shines with its brilliance. Quoting from the peace proposal he mentioned that sustainable global society can be formed particularly through the youth, therefore education is important for youth to empower them to tackle the challenges faced by the society.
Delivering the keynote address Justice Altamas Kabir, former Chief Justice of India, pointed out that the values projected by Dr Ikeda for a sustainable Society were not difficult to understand as these values have already been instilled into us from our very childhood through basic school education, religious beliefs and practical training. He emphasized Dr Ikeda’s proposal was a call to revitalize these core values of tolerance and mutual respect. He discussed that the blue-print of the Constitution of India too elucidated the importance of values like fraternity, equality and liberty.
He chose to highlight the importance of the concept of “Resilience” as propounded in Dr Ikeda’s proposal. Resilience empowers a person to withstand adversities and replace helplessness with hope. In this context he gave the example, of those courageously recovering from natural disasters. And he made a special mention of Malala Yousafzai, a 15 year old who could bring about a revolution in women education in Pakistan, even after being fatally shot in the head. He concluded by celebrating the importance of the will, the language of the heart over the complexities of the mind.
The event was brought to a close with a vote of thanks by Ms. Naveena Reddy, Head-External Relations, Bharat Soka Gakkai.