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President invokes Nalanda, Taxila to bat for free atmosphere on campuses

Amid the raging debate over freedom of speech, President Pranab Mukherjee today invoked Nalanda and Taxila, the ancient centres of learning, to pitch for an atmosphere free of prejudice and violence on the university campuses.

"If there cannot be free atmosphere in a university, in an academic institution, then what type of lessons we can give to our students? An atmosphere must be free from prejudice, anger, violence, doctrines. It must be conducive to free flow intellectual persuasions," he said.

Mukherjee, who was delivering the valedictory address at the 'International Buddhists Conference' here, underlined that education means development of mind and constant interaction with teachers and fellow students.

Referring to the ancient learning centres in Nalanda, Taxila and Vikramshila, he said these attracted great minds in the form of students and teachers from all over the world.

"These were not merely places of learning, but were a confluence of four civilizations -- Indian, Persian, Greek and Chinese.. The essence of these universities was open mind, free discussions. The acharyas and upadhyays encouraged students to pose questions, before a proposition was to be accepted and followed by them."

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