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April 21, 2022

India’s Birsa Agricultural University Presents Honorary Professorship

On April 21, 2022, Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) in India conferred an honorary professorship upon Soka University founder Daisaku Ikeda in recognition of his longstanding dedication to spreading a philosophy of peace, culture and education rooted in humanism throughout the world.  BAU Vice-Chancellor Dr. Onkar Nath Singh entrusted the award to Soka University’s advisor and former president Yoshihisa Baba, who received it on Mr. Ikeda’s behalf at a ceremony on the BAU campus. This was the 399th academic honor conferred on Mr. Ikeda.

On April 20, the delegation from Japan also met with BAU Chancellor Ramesh Bais, governor of Jharkhand, at his official residence.

Located in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand State in eastern India, BAU is one of the largest agricultural universities in the nation. It is named in honor of Bhagwan Birsa Munda, a seminal figure in the struggle against British colonial rule.

In the citation, BAU Registrar Dr. S. Chattopadhyay recognized Mr. Ikeda as “one of the world’s leading interpreters of Buddhism, bringing its timeless wisdom to bear on the many complex issues confronting humanity.”

Vice-Chancellor Singh remarked in his address:

“For years, Dr. Ikeda has been contributing through his ideas on agricultural policies and warning about the danger of taking agriculture lightly. In his view, thinking about agriculture involves thinking about all aspects of the future of humankind: culture, tradition, respect for life and environmental protection. . . . I can very proudly say that the honor conferred on him today is very special and significant for all of us.”

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s sentiment that “The farmers are the heroes of the world,” Mr. Ikeda, in his acceptance message, commended BAU for its efforts to support those engaged in the noble work of agriculture.

He recalled his dialogue with the renowned agronomist Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, saying,

“In our discussion, we agreed that the happiness of a nation depends upon the smiles on the faces of its farmers. Farmers are the very people who safeguard and nourish the population. A future in which the world’s farmers are living proudly with happy smiles on their faces is the very picture of a world in which respect for the dignity of life is upheld and enshrined. This is the vision to which we all aspire. . . . Amidst the pressing realities of the world today, BAU’s efforts under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor Dr. Singh to foster young researchers and carry out innovative research are a beacon of hope for humanity’s future.”

Commemorative photo at conferral of honorary professorship by Birsa Agriculture University upon Daisaku Ikeda
BAU Vice-Chancellor Singh (foreground, sixth from left) entrusts the citation for honorary professorship to Mr. Baba of Soka University (foreground, fifth from left)

[Adapted from an article in the April 25, 2022, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]

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