November 21, 2019
India’s Jaipur National University Presents Honorary Doctorate
Foreground, from left to right: Vice Chancellor Verma, Exec. Director Bakshi, Soka Gakkai Sr. Vice President Ikeda and BSG Chair Vishesh Gupta
On November 21, 2019, Jaipur National University (JNU) in India conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa, upon Soka University founder and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, honoring his contributions as a peacebuilder, Buddhist philosopher, writer and educator. Mr. Ikeda is the first person to be conferred an honorary doctorate by the university. The ceremony, held at the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi, was attended by Dr. Preeti Bakshi, executive director of JNU, who was also representing her husband, JNU founder and chancellor, Dr. Sandeep Bakshi, JNU Vice Chancellor H. N. Verma, and Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) Chair Vishesh Gupta and BSG representatives. Soka Gakkai Senior Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda, Mr. Ikeda’s son, accepted the award on his father’s behalf.
JNU is a private university in Jaipur, the capital city of the northern state of Rajasthan. It was founded in 2007, growing out of two previously established institutes owned by Chancellor Bakshi. The university, which includes the JNU Hospital and Medical College, prides itself on its student-centered learning. It has over 7,000 students and has been ranked among the top 25 best private universities in India.
In his message, Chancellor Bakshi described Mr. Ikeda as a genuine leader who offers students of JNU a reminder of their potential to make extraordinary contributions. This, he said, was the vision of JNU—to unlock students’ “capacity to create a legacy and lead lives with honor, nobility, audacity and integrity.” Leadership, he said, “is about making a difference right where you are,” remarking that the world needed more leaders like Mr. Ikeda.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Ikeda expressed his deep appreciation for the honor, lauding JNU as an esteemed institution “that brilliantly illuminates our world and its future with the light of wisdom and hope that issues from eternal India.” Citing a Buddhist scripture that “the name will invariably invoke all the blessings of the thing itself,” he noted that the name “Jaipur” conveys the meaning of “victory.” In this regard, he shared three points he believes are important to a vision of victory. First, the power of victory arises from vigorous efforts to learn. Second, the light of victory is spread through our contributions to society. And third, victory arises from a fierce determination never to give up. He stated, “Where there is compassion, wisdom wells forth inexhaustibly. Where there is perseverance, the path to victory will invariably open. . . . It is my prayer and confident conviction that young people will go forth from the gates of JNU and from the land of India to bring the brilliant light of victory to humankind.”
[Adapted from articles in November 23, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]