Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Any attempt to define India through religion, intolerance will dilute its existence: Pranab Mukherjee

Nagpur, Jun 7 Former President and Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee today warned that any attempt to define India through “religion, dogma or intolerance” will only dilute the country’s existence, as he attended an RSS event amid criticism by several of his party leaders including his own daughter.

Mukherjee said intolerance will only dilute India’ national identity and Indian nationalism emanated from universalism, assimilation and co-existence.

“In India, we derive our strength from tolerance, and respect our pluralism. We celebrate our diversity,” he said.

“I am here to share my understanding on nation, nationalism and patriotism about our country which is ‘Bharat’,” said Mukherjee, who served as President of India between 2012 and 2017.

“We must free our public discourse from all kinds of fear and violence” he said.

Before the former president spoke, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said the debate over Mukherjee’s decision to attend the RSS event was “meaningless” and no one is an outsider for his organisation.

While the Sangh is often described as a Hindu right-wing organisation, it calls itself a nationalist and cultural organisation rather than a political or religious one. It was founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar , on September 27, 1925 on Vijayadashami day at his house here.

Mukherjee’s decision to attent the RSS event has already triggered a major political slugfest with several Congress leaders criticising his decision.

Also Read | Cong leaders request ex-Prez Pranab to withdraw from RSS event

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel today expressed his disapproval at former president Pranab Mukherjee visiting the RSS headquarters in Nagpur and said he did not expect this from him.

Mukherjee’s daughter and Congress leader Sharmistha had yesterday said her father was giving the BJP and the Sangh a handle to plant false stories with his decision to speak at the RSS event.

Speaking ahead of Mukherjee’s speech, Bhagwat said Mukherjee will remain what he is and the Sangh will remain the Sangh even after the event.

Bhagwat said his organisation wants to unify the entire society and no one was an outsider for it.

People may have different views but they are all children of mother India, he said.

Bhagwat said the Sangh has inviting prominent people to its event every year.

Those present at today’s event also included former prime minister Lal Bahadu Shastri’s son Sunil Shastri, as also Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s nephew Ardhendu Bose along with his wife and son.

The speech got bipartisan support with BJP general secretary Ram Madhav tweeting soon after: “Great address by Dr Pranab Mukharjee at Nagpur. His address and Dr Bhagwat’s address are in a way complementary to each other. Nation First is the core message of both.”

RSS spokesperson Arun Kumar dubbed Mukherjee’s speech as that of an “elder statesman”. “We welcome his speech and the points he raised on issues such as nationalism, patriotism, and the need to end all types of intolerance and violence.”

The Congress party maintained that it respected different shades of opinion and discussions. “As Indians and as Congressmen, we encourage and believe in the democratic dialogue and recognise the right and sanctity of dialogue across different thought processes,” Surjewala said. “But a dialogue is only possible in a democratic order with an open mind and willingness to change, accept and adapt to the other person’s point of view.”

with Agency Inputs

Adam Rizvi has a unique talent for publishing to marketing to managing projects, writers & assigning the task to correspondents. Edits an e-paper & cover the news. An activist, spend time with family & friends. His adorable daughters, Alizah & Anum are his lifeline. He spends his time by reading, swimming, hiking, cycling and watching with them their favorite TV shows, & fixing the Big Old House where he lives. Studied literature & management.Volunteer for non-profits. President of a Travel Agency. Publisher. Circulated the newspapers. Acted & Assisted in directing & production of the award-winning film & TV Serial. Scripted a little. Modelled. Emceed the live shows & judged competitions. A caring sibling and was an obedient son of his late doting parents whom he misses dearly.Adam uses his various positions & experiences in building the strong relationship with all. Appreciates his articles being read, commented, liked and shared. He can be reached at his personal email: mediaiss@gmail.com.

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