Straight from the Governor

Shri. O. P. Kohli

Shri. Om Prakash Kohli, the Governor of Gujarat, is a former member of the Rajya Sabha and has been the President of the Delhi unit of BJP, ABVP and the Delhi University Teacher’s Association. He was a lecturer at Hansraj College and Deshbandhu College for 37 years.  Apart from his exemplary work in the field of politics as well as education, he has authored three books in Hindi namely, ‘Rashtriya Suraksha Ke Morche Par’, ‘Shiksha Niti’, ‘Bhaktikal Ke Santo Ki Samajik Chetna’.

Team Connect got a chance to interview the Hon’ble Governor. Below are the excerpts from the interview:

  1. You have been to places of various cultures and topographies- Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and now Gujarat, how would you summarize your experience?

“India is a country of huge diversity. Physical diversity, cultural diversity, linguistic diversity, diversity of food and how people greet each other. I had the pleasure of travelling across the length and breadth of the country which has in a way given me the thorough knowledge of the rich culture that India has.”

2. How is working in Gujarat different from other places?

“Gujarat has its own ethos. People here in Gujarat are business minded. They are adventurous in the respect that they have been going to different countries, getting exposed to the world setting up business; they have this spirit of adventure. There is also a strong tradition of philanthropy. Gujarat is known for two things specifically, one for the ‘Panchayati system’, it is very deep rooted. Gujarat is also known for giving the nation the white revolution, known worldwide for Amul. The co-operative movement here is very strong. Gujarat is the pioneer for these things. But the state lacks depth in terms of education. Gujarat’s contribution towards the army is also very less, as people here are more oriented towards business. Gujarat has given the nation great leaders like Sardar Patel, KanaiyalalMunshi, Mahatma Gandhi etc. This is the place where the Zoroastrian community came and settled all the way from Iran and became a part of the rich Gujarati culture. These things make Gujarat distinct from the other places.”

3. Where do you see Gujarat after five years?

“Gujarat is a model and a developed state there’s absolutely no doubt regarding that. But it still lacks in some areas like the development of tribal people, malnutrition in children etc, lack of depth in education etc. For the overall development and a better Gujarat proper should be taken of these things.”

4. What are your views on the advancement in technology?

“One of the main advantages of technology is that it makes life easy to live. It has greatly helped to increase the production. But for that we need raw material, which has an adverse effect on nature. Technology has both negative as well as positive impacts. It has also made life very fast which in turn creates stress. Technology has led to the creation of individualistic life style. Even when sitting with the family, people are busy with their phones, computers; isolated from the rest of the family. Technology can also prove to be very destructive, just imagine how destructive the World War III would be!  Technology should be governed with conscience. Technology and religion, technology and morality, the combination of these things should control technology.”

5. As you know nowadays English is taking over Hindi, what is your take on that?

“Even after so many years of Independence, it’s really sad that we haven’t been able to free ourselves from the mental slavery. We still feel that the western principles are better and we suffer from the inferiority complex. We still try to emulate European nations and the United States. We have a very rich tradition, so if we take pride of being an Indian, we will definitely feel proud of our language and respect it. Instead of idolizing the western nations and aping them, we should be adapting them. There’s a big difference between adopting and adapting; adopting is blindly accepting everything while adapting is assimilating the good qualities from others. So adapt but not adopt.”

6. Sir you teach English to the children here in Raj Bhavan. Can you tell us more about it?

“Yes, I teach English to the kids of my officers, from 7 to 8 in the evening. I feel there is a lack of depth of education in Gujarat. So, I make them study in a non-conventional way. I put real life situations in front of them and tell them to solve it by interacting with each other. I try to make the learning experience creative for them.”

7. How has education, teachers, students changed between your time and the present time?

“Years back, during my time, getting a teaching post in a college or a University was a matter of great prestige. University teachers were respected a lot during that time. But now sadly the entire scenario has changed. There have been so many avenues, big pockets, luring away the talented and sincere people away from the education field, which results in a dearth of such talented people in the Universities. Another thing is the cut throat competitive nature for the intellectual positions. There has been a trend going on nowadays, where the professor, instead of concentrating on teaching the students, dedicates a large proportion of his time towards research. Instead of imparting knowledge, they are more inclined towards creating knowledge. Literature, humanities, social sciences, political sciences, etc. were considered to be productive. These subjects have now been overtaken by engineering, medical, management and other subjects.”

8. In the current scenario a student is judged by his performance in a 3 hour examination. But ideally that should not be the way of judging students because it does not show the true potential of the student. So according to you what changes should be bought in the current pattern?

“The purpose of the examination system is to judge the credibility of the students. Our examination system does judge the credibility of students, but still needs a lot of improvement which will make the students to study intensively instead of studying selectively. Considering the present scenario students do not have any extra knowledge outside their book. They study only a few selected topics from a particular book of their curriculum that too just for the sake of examinations. So, a few improvements need to be bought in the current system of education which forces the students to study intensively.”

9. What does your average workday consist of?

“Every day I meet visitors from 10:30 in the morning to 1.30 in the afternoon. After that I sit in my office and look over the files. When the legislative assembly is going on, I authorize the bills passed. I also attend social events like convocation of Universities, educational programmes, cultural and social programmes, here in Gujarat or Delhi. On an average I travel 4 days in a week. I even spend time interacting with different kinds of people- educationists, children, people following Gandhian principles etc.”

10. Sir you have had so much success in your life. What would be your advice to the youth for being successful?

“Self-confidence is the most important thing that is required for being successful. One should always dream big and never run away from challenges but face them. Selecting an ideal role model for you is also equally important. You should learn from people who did big things in life and came from a very humble background. Recognizing the turning points in your life, and not getting discouraged by them but taking them as challenges will surely make you successful. For example when Gandhiji was faced discrimination when travelling in a first class train in South Africa, he could’ve chosen to come back to India and practice law in his native country, but he took it as a challenge and fought against the discrimination taking place over there. That was the turning point of his life. So, we should study such turning points in the lives of great people and recognize our turning points and face them with confidence.”

11. What message would you like to give to our students and readers?

“Majority of India’s population consists of youth and currently development process is going on. But people are not satisfied with the pace of the development process, they demand a speedy transformation. For this the youth have to use their knowledge, latest technology and think something for the faster development of India.”

DDU Connect is grateful to the Hon’ble Governor for sparing his valuable time and sharing with us his inspiring thoughts.

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