India Education Diary, May 02, 2024

Speaking at the 12th lecture in the series of 40th-anniversary lectures of CUTS International at New Delhi, Nripendra Misra, chairperson of the executive council of the Prime Ministers Memorial Museum and Library and chairman, Temple Construction Committee of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust delivered a lecture on The Message from Shri Ram Lalla Temple in Ayodhya.

He said that the importance of Shri Ram Lalla Temple needs to be understood in a civilisational context. He underscored that the rise of Shri Ram Lalla as the civilisational icon will be beneficial not only for all communities in India but also for the world at large.

Misra explained the architectural details of the ongoing construction of the temple including aspects such as providing the required foundational strength, non-use of iron, use of various types of stones, carvings, etc. He further elucidated on how the Shri Ram Lalla Temple is being meticulously built for the next one thousand years and how has emerged as an indigenous architectural marvel, notably with the contribution of Indian research institutions like IITs and Central Building Research Institution.

Presiding the event, former Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and former Commerce Secretary of India, Shri Tejendra Khanna also resonated that India’s rise is benevolent for all. The country is undergoing a cultural awakening, which is good for our society as well as for resolving global problems that demand a consensus-based benevolent approach.

Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International spoke about the 40-year journey of CUTS and its consistent contributions from grassroots to global level. In this context, he fondly recollected the visionary leadership of Shri Tejendra Khanna as India’s Commerce Secretary when he promoted CUTS and other Indian NGOs to actively undertake high-quality research and participate in the policy process.

In that respect, Mehta recalled the observations of venerable trade economist Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati: “In a country like India where there is an excessive abundance of intellectuals who seem to think that virtue materialises just because you wish it so, and who therefore do harm rather than good, Pradeep has been one of the rare voices for advocating policies that achieve virtuous outcomes. CUTS is by far the most impressive non-governmental organisation today”.

He highlighted that the current global challenges from disbelief in the global trade order to armed conflicts demand a sobering influence to address them. He emphasised that while working on national, regional and global issues of our interest, we have not forgotten our societal obligations for ensuring fraternity, duty consciousness, value-based life and social justice.

Mehta informed that over the year, CUTS is organising events like this in different parts of the world where it has its footprints, starting with a fireside chat with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, DG, WTO on Challenges and Opportunities for the WTO in April last year in Geneva.

In this event, Dr Okonjo-Iweala said that “For a civil society organisation from a developing country to be able to last this long is something to be really proud of. I want to congratulate you personally and CUTS for the substantive work that you do”.

The event was attended by many thought leaders and policymakers such as Laxmi Puri, Sujan Chinoy, Sanjeev Sanyal, Raj Chengappa, Didar Singh, Ashok Chawla, Rajiv Bhatia, and General Arun Sahni.

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