September 23, 2019
India’s Manav Rachna University Presents Honorary Doctorate
MRU Chancellor Bhalla (3rd from left) entrusts the honorary doctorate certificate and a commemorative plaque to Soka Gakkai President Harada (4th from right)
On September 23, 2019, Manav Rachna University (MRU) in India conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa, upon Soka University founder and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in recognition of his lifelong contribution to peacebuilding, culture and education. The conferral ceremony, held at the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi, was attended by MRU Chancellor Prashant Bhalla, MRU Vice Chancellor I.K. Bhat, former and first female Ambassador to Japan Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa and some 600 MRU faculty members and students, along with representatives from Bharat (India) Soka Gakkai. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada accepted the award on behalf of Mr. Ikeda.
Manav Rachna can be translated as “developing human beings.” The founder of the university, educator and philanthropist Dr. O.P. Bhalla, began developing Manav Rachna Educational Institutions (MREI), including the Manav Rachna College of Engineering, a forerunner of the university, in the north Indian city of Faridabad with the vision of uplifting and revitalizing the local community. Until then, the city had lacked quality higher education institutions.
This passion for human development was inherited by Dr. O.P. Bhalla’s sons, MREI President and MRU Chancellor Prashant Bhalla and MREI Vice President Amit Bhalla. MRU continues to build on its strong ethos of nurturing human potential and placing students first.
Chancellor Bhalla remarked on a deep resonance between Mr. Ikeda’s educational philosophy and the aims of his university, which he described as being imbued with the spirit of his late father. “Dr. Ikeda’s mission of peace and sustainability has inspired many an endeavor at Manav Rachna University,” he said. “[Dr. Ikeda] embodies a vision and mission that Manav Rachna humbly stands for. Manav Rachna family extends its heartfelt gratitude to him for being an unmatchable inspiration for its students.”
In an acceptance speech read by Soka Gakkai President Harada, Mr. Ikeda expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the honor and lauded MRU’s commitment to creating better human beings, stating, “MRU’s philosophy is brimming with an affectionate attentiveness to people and their needs, a warm regard for life. I have always considered this kind of passion as the place from which education must depart and to which it must return. The ultimate goal of education is the happiness and growth of each individual. Our humanity can only be honed and polished through interactions with other people. Life can only be refined in contact with other lives.”
[Adapted from an article in the September 26, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]