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“Education must mould character”

Special Correspondent

Photo: M. SRINATH

BIG DAY: Students showering flowers standing from Sri Saraswathi Padasalai Girls Higher Secondary School in Kumbakonam on Friday. —

KUMBAKONAM: Education should mould the character of students and help them evolve into good human beings, said former Supreme Court Judge S. Mohan at Kumbakonam on Friday.

Delivering the keynote address at the centenary celebrations of Sri Saraswathi Padasalai Primary School and Sri Saraswathi Padasala Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Justice Mohan said that students must be taught love, humanism, and respect for parents and elders. Saraswathi schoolsare unique in giving importance to discipline and behaviour.

Tracing the history of the school, Mr. Mohan said that Annie Besant, who started the school in 1908, ignited the freedom spirit among Indians. Her home rule movement was famous.

She thought that women can be emancipated only by providing education. It is remarkable that she started the school when it was thought that education was not necessary for women who were confined to the kitchen.

Rukmini Devi Arundale, who took over from Besant, was another important lady in the cultural history of India. It was she who said that Bharatanatyam should not be confined to temples. “Everyone can learn it and popularise it,” Mr. Mohan said.

Mr. Mohan appealed to the students to learn Tamil which is the sweetest and richest literature.

He quoted Thiruvalluvar and Thirumoolar to drive home the point. For communication with other countries, students should learn English. They should give importance to general knowledge.

R. V. Ramani, vice-president, Besant Centenary Trust, which runs the school, unveiled the statue of Saraswathi.

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