Pranab bats for Centre in R-Day address

Pranab bats for Centre in R-Day address

President Pranab Mukherjee batted for Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s plans to improve  the economy, including the decision to demonetise old currency notes and usher in a cashless system.

But he also sounded a strong note of caution on protecting India’s pluralistic culture. He was delivering his last address to the nation before he completes his term in July.

Mukherjee said, “Our tradition has always celebrated the ‘argumentative’ Indian and not the ‘intolerant’ Indian. Multiple views, thoughts and philosophies have competed with each other peacefully for centuries in our country. A wise and discerning mind is necessary for democracy to flourish.”

More than the unison of ideas, the President said a healthy democracy calls for conformity to the values of tolerance, patience and respect for others.

“We have to work harder because our pluralistic culture and tolerance are still being put to test by vested interests. Reason and moderation should be our guide in dealing with such situations,” said Mukherjee in what appeared to be an allusion to rise in hate speeches and attacks in recent years.

The President said India has had a noisy democracy. “Yet, we need more and not less of democracy... And yet, our legislators lose sessions to disruptions when they should be debating and legislating on issues of importance. Collective efforts must be made to bring the focus back to debate, discussion and decision-making.”

But, he said, it is the right time to acknowledge that systems are not perfect and those imperfections have to be recognised and rectified. “The settled complacencies have to be questioned. The edifice of trust has to be strengthened.”
DH News Service

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