BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad’s informal approach struck the right chord with students as he shared facets of his personal life with them while addressing the annual function of Utkal University Students’ Union here on Saturday.
Azad said how he was left red-faced at a function when he couldn’t differentiate between wine and whisky. However, it never deterred him from following Gandhian principle of not drinking alcohol. He also described how he weaned a popular Bollywood actress of yesteryear off tobacco-chewing habit.
“Right from my student days, I believed in Gandhian philosophy. I have always kept away from smoking and boozing for which I even had to face great embarrassment during my tenure as the CM of Jammu and Kashmir. During a dinner hosted in my honour by one of my friends in London, I was embarrassed when I could not differentiate between wine and whisky,” he said amid applause from students. He exhorted the students to follow the Gandhian principles to become true Indians. Azad, also president of Gandhi Global Family, related his experience of teaching Gandhian principles in Jammu and Kashmir and said youths in Odisha should also be exposed to teachings of Gandhiji.
Recalling his association with actress Vaijayantimala in 1985, Azad said he was instrumental in forcing the actress, in her 50s then, to quit chewing tobacco.
“We have been moving away from the principles that Gandhiji preached and this is the beginning of the destruction. If we do not correct ourselves, may be a time would come when we would not have a culture to call our own,” he said.
Odisha in-charge of Congress Jagdish Tytler said today opportunities in education sector are aplenty and students should cash in on them. ‘’This ain’t the situation in our days. Either you become a doctor or an engineer, but nothing beyond that,” Tytler told students.
Among others, University V-C P K Sahoo, PG Council Chairman P K Sarkar, advisor to students’ union Ranjan K Bal and president of the union Tanmaya Swain were present.