SMVDU Katra: Dept. of Philosophy & Culture Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, upon conducting a survey on more than a thousand students, confirms the role of values in opening up and development of different faculties of human mind, its thinking and reflection ability. It may be noted that on the initiative of the Vice Chancellor Dr. Sanjeev Jain, a course on value education titled ‘Discourses on Human Virtue’ was floated last semester as compulsory 03 credit course for all students of the university across disciplines – B.Tech, M. Tech., B. Arch., MBA, M.Sc. Economics, and to the students of Humanities. More than 600 students attended the course last semester and around 900 in the current semester. A survey about the impact the course was conducted through online questionnaire, personal feedback and interviews in classrooms and through informal interactions.
In response to the question what the students, in their own views, learned from the course, they counted that they learnt to be mindful before action, how to understand oneself – self-exploration, knowing the strength and weaknesses, one’s role as moral agent, what is the dharma at different levels, the difference between the need of the body and that of the mind etc. How confusion between both types of human need, one carries a misconception throughout life that material gains can bring about happiness in life. Happiness is a property of mind and cannot be brought about material acquisition. Some quoted very significantly that the course helps them in understanding the problems on their life. If one is a little introspective, a little oriented to self-examination, one can be self-critical and find the real solutions to problems of life and minimize one’s role in accelerating them. One pertinently quoted that ‘the program tells us that life is not just about ‘I, me and myself’, it opens vision for others, and thereby generate helpfulness, sensitivity and compassion.
Values help in making of a person; it also helps in becoming virtuous internally which is quite different from external personality refinement and grooming. The discourses help in understanding the importance of virtues like humility, care, non-aggression, gratefulness, justice and service to society. These are the basics of peaceful co-existence. If these tenets are not brought to the curriculum or made part of teaching, certain mental faculties would not open up. That is a clear indication how values impact thinking and help overall personality development. A detailed report and findings of the study will also be sent to the Chancellor Sh. N. N. Vohra, as the study was conducted upon his instruction in particular, in the last Executive Council meeting.