Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said that contradictions in India must be removed at the earliest or else those suffering from inequality will blow up the structure of democracy.
Despite India’s outstanding constitution, a plethora of sound laws and policies will count for nothing if implementation is lacking in form and spirit, he added while speaking on “Towards an Era of Human Rights: Building a People’s Movement” at the Chinmaya Mission Auditorium here.
Quoting the Constitution’s Drafting Committee Chairman B.R. Ambedkar, he said that ” … we must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment; else, those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of democracy which this Constituent Assembly has so laboriously built up.”
“How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril,” Mukherjee said to loud applause.
In a talk that combined global nationalism — Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi — and human rights, Mukherjee laid out his vision of human rights.
He said that human rights are fundamental to the very existence of mankind and not merely for the benefit of one class or one section of society.
The right to life and personal liberty is available to all people within its territory and not just its citizens, he said.
Citing a statement of peace philosopher Daisaku Ikeda, Mukherjee said that “being able to contribute in some ways to the happiness of others and the world, be it through work or in some other capacity, brings one joy and fulfilment in life.”
He said that Ikeda’s words echo the desire to contribute to the welfare of society and reflect.
The symposium was also attended by eminent dancer and Padma Shri awardee Shovana Narayan and Institute of Social Sciences Chairman George Mathew.