Nobel laureate Professor David Jonathan Gross today said ignorance of other cultures promotes fanatical nationalism and the students have the responsibility to be forces for enlightment in such an atmosphere.
"The ignorance of other culture promotes fanatical nationalism and as future citizens you have the responsibility to be forces for enlightenment in such a situation," Gross, recipient of 2004 Nobel prize in Physics, said in his address at the 52nd Convocation of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) here.
"While all of humanity had originated from a single mother few thousand years ago how can we forget that and tolerate racism and religious bigotry ... My generation left for you to deal with massive inequalities which still exist among nations, the persistent useless war and violence and danger and fanaticism and terror," he said.
Asking the younger generation to "tackle and confront" problems facing the nation, Gross said, "You actually live better than queens and kings did only a few hundred of years ago.
"You are fortunate to have been freed of the disease of hunger that plagued much of humanity years back ... With all these privileges you should work towards improving the lot of the less fortunate in your country, around the world," he said.
He said his advice for the students is to follow their hearts. "You may face many difficult choices but find out what you truly love to do and if possible do that. Aim high and dare to fail."
Continuing, he said "Because if you try you might succceed. Take chance to make a difference in all aspects of life, dare to follow your most ambitious plans and pursue most outlandish ideas."
Later Gross told reporters that institutes like the ISI and IITs in India are excellent "But much too few."
He said there are lots of investments in India now. "Your country has more potential."
ISI Director Professor Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay said the ISI students were following the legacy of its founder P C Mahalanabis.
"The world requires premier statisticians, mathematicians, researchers, economists and computer scientists and our students are in top institutions of excellence all over the world," she said.
Padma Bhusan awardee Prof S R S Varadhan was also present.
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