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Bharat becomes a Vishwa Guru, should be aim of all: Guj Guv
Governor of Gujarat, Acharya Devvrat in a free wheeling conversation with Editor-In-Chief of First India, Jagdeesh Chandra, talks about various
issues including his journey from Gurukuls to Raj Bhavan and how Bharat is fortunate to have a hardworking PM in Narendra Modi and more...
Jagdeesh Chandra: When you started life in Gurukul around 20-25 years ago, did you ever imagine becoming a Governor?
Acharya Devvrat: You have asked an excellent question. Without any doubt, the Kurukshetra Gurukul, which I started looking after in 1981 as the principal, was near closure as people did not send children there.
Children from very poor families, who could not even pay fee, studied there. I used to teach them during the day and in the night visited villages to collect food for them by begging and arranged for their studies. And I did this for 22 years.
Now, the children from 1,519 regions study there. They get selected in IIT, PMT and NDA every year. Every year around 9,000 children attempt entrance exam for the Gurukul, which requires only about 250 students. So, I requested some of my friends to expand the tradition of Gurukul.
Here, the children are raised through Vedic methods. They wake up at 4 am and practice yog, hawan, and moral teaching. The CBSE pattern in English medium is also taught.
I heard PM Modi’s speech on Beti Bachao Beti Padao and set up a Chaman Vatika in Ambala where about 800 girls are pursuing residential study. At present, there are 4 Gurukuls, all residential, and about 4,000 boys and girls study there.
\Our Gurukuls have bagged 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions for the last two years in the ranking of Education World, a global organisation that issues ranking.
After working so much in Gurukuls, now you are in Raj Bhavan. Do not you miss the Gurukul?
I remain in touch and we try to expand the activities. And whatever I did in Gurukul, I replicated in Himachal too and working on those points in Gujarat now.
There is a general opinion in politics that Raj Bhavan assignment is like a Civil jail. So, how did you feel in 5 years, at Shimla and here?
Certainly, there is such an opinion.
But I kept myself so busy in works that it did not leave any time for me to be alone. I pushed organic agriculture trend in Himachal Pradesh and at present at least 1.5 lakh farmers are producing poisonless crops there.
A report suggested that the income of farmers there has increased 27% and 56% expenses have come down. Income of farmers has increased and natural crops will lead to disease free society. In Gujarat, 2 lakh farmers have started this farming.
Gujarat government has even started giving Rs900 per month for rearing indigenous cows and using their dung and urine for natural farming. We have declared Dang area as complete natural area where urea, chemical based fertilisers etc. are banned.
You are doing great work but politically speaking you must be the 1st Governor, in present scenario, who does not have RSS-BJP background. How this nomination then?
I consider the thought process of PM Modi and Central leadership as incomparable. For instance, there was an era when Padma Shri and other awards were given on face value. But now people who have worked at ground level in various sectors and who did not have any wish for rewards are being rewarded.
I myself did not have any such wish or even expect to get such a post. Swachhta Abhiyan is one such example of leading the county ahead. I dedicate a day in a month to carry out cleanliness drives.
So, PM Modi is your inspiration. When did you first meet Narendra bhai?
I never met him before joining this post. I only watched him on TV. I was never in touch with Amit Shah, not even the President of India. But I wonder how did he reocognise my work in the field, this only he knows.
As a citizen, how do you rate Narendra Modi as country’s PM?
As a citizen, I consider it luck of Bharat to get such a hardworking PM. We and the youth should take inspiration that how much he works. He sleeps only 3-4 hours and the rest of his time is dedicated to the nation.
There is no area, the depth of which he does not understand. I got a chance to be with him during his Gujarat tours and saw his style of working. Statue of Unity is his gift.
Talking of Narendra Modi without mentioning Amit Shah remains incomplete. How do you assess him as an administrator?
I have felt that he also goes to the depth of the subject and worries about every person. We carried out various social works during Covid and Amit Shah came to give appreciation letters to the volunteers.
Instead of closing the campaign, he asked to keep that going on and also gave an additional task of handling and dispelling rumours about vaccination.
The second task was to supply ration announced by the Centre to every needy family. He cares about people so much and also directed the officials to look after the people.
We held a fashion show in Srinagar and everything was normal. I think the 370 experiment of Modi-Shah has been superhit there. What do you think?
See the confidence among the people. There were rumours that bloodshed will happen and law and order will derail after removal of Article 370. But now all kinds of development works have started there. ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, aur Sabka Vishwas’ this slogan is living up to its name in country now.
Back to Gujarat, during corona time how do you rate Vijay Rupani as an administrator?
The state government and the entire system held task force meeting every day and details of every hospital were discussed every day about oxygen, medicine etc.
The works done at Central govt level to the state are appreciable. It seems PM Modi had connected the whole world with him as oxygen started supplying via air, trains and from factories.
Covid fight is just one thing. The country producing two vaccines is first time in the history. Earlier, other countries used to get vaccine first and Bharat’s number came later. Now, the country even supplies vaccine to other countries.
Corona fight is on in Gujarat & new CM has come. How do you consider him?
He is a very simple person and has handled his work very fast. Our whole system is working with same zeal and sense of responsibility.
You administered oath to the new Cabinet. This is a new concept so how did you feel as a Governor?
Governor has a responsibility to administer oath so I fulfilled that.
During corona period, what was the role and assistance of Modi government?
I and the entire country felt that when Corona happened, the PM took very strong decisions. Had those decisions not been taken, even the experts feel that many deaths could have happened in India.
The system was not ready so standing like a wall before such an epidemic, this task the PM did. Through lockdown, he connected the people with him through various measures like beating thali, lighting diya etc.
He created an atmosphere and in the meantime started preparations against corona. The 1st wave they won through right thinking without a fight. But people forgot corona protocols and 2nd wave came.
There is a general perception that the role of a Governor is of a rubber stamp. But you have redefined that role during corona period. How did you do this?
As I have mentioned, a meeting was taken by PM, Vice President and Home Minister on April 14 in which they inspired the Governors to play their role in the epidemic.
I immediately met religious leaders and requested them to open their ashrams for setting up Covid centres, arrange food, water and medicine. They all participated zealously. Apart from that, I held meetings of NCC, NSS, and Red Cross and connected them with corona warriors and they all contributed.
After that both CM and me, connected all gram panchayats and raised teams in villages to raise awareness about corona protocol. We roped in teachers & universities.
So how much ‘Mera Gaon, Corona Mukt Gaon’ worked?
It was very successful and increased confidence and sense of fraternity among people. I had named it ‘Corona Seva Yagya’. We started scheme of distributing 1 litre edible oil during vaccination and it led to massive vaccination in villages.
During ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ events too, we focused on drugs free society, environment conservation, women empowerment, and natural farming. We prepared a brochure and connected all principals and universities and asked them to make teams of youth to raise awareness. It was also advised to make teams to work for vaccination awareness.
You talked of drug de addiction. NCB in a cracked down in Mumbai arrested many including son of a film star. How do you feel drug menace can be checked?
This is a worrisome issue and you have raised an excellent issue. Youth is the strongest capital of any nation and a nation can progress only if youth is strong and free from drugs. Bollywood events are watched by youth and they take inspiration from them. I request that they all should stand against all such substances for the sake of the youth. We should also hold events in educational institutions to raise awareness against drug usage. In all my events, I stress the youth to be saved from drugs. A drug addict is of no use to anyone and becomes a burden on the society.
You are chancellor of 27 universities. Please throw light on National Education Policy?
For permanent establishment of the British regime in India, Lord Macaulay was given the task of conducting survey. He visited villages and noticed that Gurukul system was very strong and unless that is broken, the British regime could not be established permanently.
So, first of all they stopped assistance to Gurukuls from kings and philanthropists. They broke Gurukul education policy and started their own policy.
The aim of their education policy was to change language, eating habits, dressing sense, and to prepare such people who assist in permanently establishing the British Raj in Bharat. And they succeeded also.
Will the new policy break that concept?
Even after Britishers left, their education policy was not changed much and same concept was being followed. The new policy focuses on connecting the youth to the Bharatiya value system.
It is also employment focused where any youth can display his talent. There was barriers of language in earlier policy but now the focus is also on local languages. The developed countries follow their own languages. The new policy will provide equal opportunities to children from rural and urban areas.
Will Sanskrit education get promoted?
That is also very necessary because for understanding Bharat, Sanskrit language has to be understood as entire Bharat literature is in Sanskrit language. It was unfortunate that in our education policy we could not introduce youth to the ancient Bharatiya sahitya.
You said that cow is spine of the economy. What is this concept?
Certainly, cow has been turned into a religious animal. But I see its scientific aspect. I got dung and urine of all indigenous cows of the Bharatiya species tested in the lab and only after that I joined the natural farming mission.
There is huge fertility in the dung of indigenous cow, which people abandoned in forests. We make a Jeevamrit in natural farming and we can do 30 acre farming with dung and urine of one cow.
Expenses of farmers will reduce and productivity of the soil will increase. I think this concept can be used to fulfil PM Modi’s mission to double farmers’ income by 2022.
Your name was different in childhood?
Yes, my name was Subhash Chandra but when I went to study in the Gurukul, my gurujans changed my name. I was very determined and stubborn in childhood as such they named me Devvrat after a character from Mahabharata.
Third wave of corona is expected. Has the Raj Bhavan and the government made arrangements?
The state government has made elaborate arrangements in view of the 3rd wave of corona. I have also visited many places where oxygen plants have been set up, beds have been increased.
Only experts know about occurrence of the 3rd wave but sine we are connected with this mission for last more than one year, I have noticed that the vaccination campaign and sero survey shows that immunity has developed among people. I think people should exercise restrain during festivals so as to ward off the 3rd wave.
The Ford company has left Gujarat. Government should be concerned that the
investors not leave the state?
Our government is very serious about this. The representatives of many countries have approached for investment in a few days and there is not a matter of worry. Out investment did not reduce even during the Corona period. People have faith in Bharat and economy is getting back on the track gradually.
Your tenure is almost over in Raj Bhavan. What is your wish – to return to Gurukul or to move to some other Raj Bhavan?
I have more faith on the God than on me. Raji hain hum usmein jismein teri raza hai, hum yohn bhi wah wah hain aur yohn bhi wah wah hain. I follow this philosophy and work on the land of Bhagwan Krishan–Kurukshetra. In the Gita, He gave lesson of doing our duties and not to think about the rewards.
I consider PM Modi as an idol, who carries divinity, and works so hard for the nation. Similarly, Amit Shah in Gujarat. The way they work is an inspiration.
Whatever responsibility, in whatever shape comes to me, the effort will be to take that work to fruition. Only then we will be able to give something to the next generation. Bharat becomes a Vishwa Guru, this should be aim of all.
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