Hatred, intolerance will dilute India's existence: Pranab Mukherjee

Hatred, intolerance will dilute India's existence: Pranab Mukherjee

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

Connecting nation, nationalism and patriotism in context, former president Pranab Mukherjee, on Wednesday called for tolerance and enhanced dialogue among various sections of the Indian society.

“We all want India to be a happy nation,” Mukherjee said addressing RSS cadres in Nagpur at the valedictory session of third  Sangha Shiksha Varg.

Speaking in presence of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and the saffron outfit’s top brass, the former Congress leader said that prevalence of multiplicity of opinion needs to be maintained in the Indian society.

He dwelt on over 5,000 years of Indian history to the contemporary contest and how it has progressed as a society.

In his address, he seemed to give a clear message to the Indian political class including the BJP and the Congress. “Divergent stands in public discourse have to be recognised,” the 83-year-old politician said after he sat through a programme where RSS cadres displayed their discipline and skills.

Speaking from his experience of 50 years in public life as a politician, administrator and Parliamentarian, he said that the soul of India resided in pluralism and tolerance.

“The plurality of our society has come through assimilation of ideas over centuries. Secularism and inclusion are a matter of faith for us. It is our composite culture which makes us into one nation,” he said

There was severe criticism of Pranab by the Congress and other parties for choosing to address from the RSS platform. During his 45-minute address, Mukherjee spoke and quoted Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Rabindranath Tagore.

“It’s the perennial one universalism of 1.3 billion people who use more than 122 languages, 1,600 dialects in their every day lives, practise seven major religions, belong to three major ethnic groups... live under one system, one flag and one identity of being ‘Bharatiya’ and have no enemies. That is what makes India a diverse and united nation,” he said. Mukherjee made it clear that intolerance dilutes nationalism and hate is what is affecting us.

“Only a non-violent society can ensure participation of all sections of people in the democratic process, especially marginalised and dispossessed. We must move from violence, anger and conflict to peace, harmony and happiness. Our motherland is asking for that. Our motherland deserves that,” Mukherjee said.