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Your Excellency, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh and the Chancellor of the University, Vice Chancellor, Members of the Executive Council and other academic bodies of the University, faculty, staff, guests, students, families of graduating students and most importantly, the graduating students, I am indeed honoured to be invited to participate in the joyous function and to become an alumnus of this wonderful citadel of learning. Thank you very much for your kindness in awarding me the honorary doctorate. I congratulate you on your successful completion of this degree. You are among the most privileged students to have received your education from one of the highly respected educational institutions of India. Now is the time to use that education to make India a better country for every citizen. As I stand here, I see an extraordinary India. Never before in the last several hundred years did India receive respect from the world community like she does today. Never before did the world think India had something to contribute to the global community other than spices. Our economy is growing at more than 7 percent for the last three years, highest since 1947. around $300 billion. India has become the software development centre of the world. Our foreign exchange reserves are A recently published OECD report notes that India has created the maximum number of jobs among the emerging economies. Portfolio investments and foreign direct investment into India are healthy despite some concern among foreign investors. number of billionaires in Asia. All these look fine. However, we have another India steeped in deep poverty, illiteracy, ill-health and malnutrition, and without hope and confidence in the future, for no fault of hers. We have the largest mass of illiterates in the world. Bollywood dancing has become popular among western youth. According to the Forbes magazine, India has the highest

Three hundred and fifty million Indians cannot read or write. million Indians do not have access to safe drinking water.

More than 200

About 750 million

Indians do not have access to sanitation facilities that you and I are used to. We have created a political system with incentives for most of our politicians to keep our people poor, illiterate and helpless. We have consistently been among the lowly-ranked nations in the Human Development Index. Not surprisingly, we rank high on corruption. Our record in primary and higher education is pathetic. I can go on and on. Worst of all, we have created an environment where bright, idealistic and confident youngsters who are ready to take on the world in their twenties become despondent, diffident, self-seeking and unhappy individuals by the time they reach 40. My young friends, this is not how a great nation is built. Maintaining the idealism, confidence, hope, energy and enthusiasm of every Indians is mandatory if we have to make good on the dreams of the founders of this nation. Be that as it may, there is hope, today, for us to solve these problems. For the first time in 300 years, we have an economic environment that engenders confidence that we can indeed overcome our poverty and create a better future for every Indian. If we try hard, we can wipe the tears off the eyes of the poorest of poor child, as Mahatma Gandhi wanted. I do see significant changes around me that tell me that the youngsters of today will dispel the darkness around us and make this a better country for every one of us the urban and the rural, the rich and the poor, and the educated and the not-so-well-educated. I have the hope that, thirty years from now, this country will have a set of 40-60 year-olds who will be different from the current 60 and 65 year-olds like me. They will be full of confidence, hope and faith in the country. They will create a developed India, and India without problems of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and sicknesses. They will get respect wherever they go for their accomplishments and for the accomplishments of this country. At that time,

every nation would want to trade with us. Foreigners would come to study here. Let me warn you that such a transformation will not be an easy task. However, that rare opportunity has been given to you. opportunities when we were students in the 1960s. We were not given such

The recipe for such a success was most wonderfully conveyed by coach Kabir Khan and those wonderful women hockey players in the movie- Chak De India. The recipe is simple to enunciate but hard to follow. We have to identify as Indians first and rise above our affiliations with our states, religions and castes. We must accept meritocracy and enthusiastically play the role we are best suited to. We must embrace discipline to strictly follow every step required for success. Such adherence to discipline in following processes is what we lead to consistency in success. We have to put the interest of our nation ahead for our personal interests, subordinating our egos and biases. This is what will get the best out of every citizen. Finally, we have to put in tremendous hard work and make short term sacrifices for long term glory. Leading by examples is the most powerful advice you can give to anybody. I have immense faith and optimism in every one of you the youth of this country. I pray that God gives you the strength, resolve and most importantly, character, to make India succeed. The hope of this nation rests on you. It is unlikely that we will get such a fantastic opportunity any time in the foreseeable future again. Please seize it and succeed. Have fun. A happy mind will achieve great things. Thanking you.