Youth must take Vivekananda's ideas: Sonia

Youth must take Vivekananda's ideas: Sonia

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Sunday invoked Swami Vivekananda to warn people against religious fanaticism, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed that pluralist view of religion was among the greatest contribution of Hinduism.

"Swamiji's words are all the more weighty today as religious fanaticism of all hues threatens the peace of many nations and our region. His ideas must be taken into the hearts and minds of our new generation of young Indians who will and must battle against fanaticism," Sonia Gandhi said.

Gandhi was addressing a closing ceremony of year-long commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, organised by the Culture Ministry here. Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony and Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch were present on the occasion.

The Congress president underscored the relevance of Vivekananda’s teachings, especially for youth, saying he taught not to fall prey to “narrow mindedness and selfish motives”.

"All over the world populations are ageing. But the profile of our nation remains young. India of the 21st century is a known society with a young population. A population with high expectations and aspirations. They want to be educated better. They want to be governed better. They want to find employment that meets their aspirations. We should not and cannot fail them," she said.

Recalling Vivekananda’s address at the conference of world religions, Gandhi said his teachings laid stress on communal peace and harmony.

Addressing the function, the prime minister said Vivekananda’s syncretic and pluralistic view of religion was one of the “greatest” contributions of Hinduism and of the civilisations that took root in the “ancient land” of India.

“His truly great message for us, which is of great relevance to our country and our sub-continent, was that true religion and true religiosity cannot be the basis of hatred and division, but of mutual respect and tolerance for the faiths and beliefs of all,” he added.Singh described Vivekananda as a "citizen of the world".

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