How to preserve India’s ‘soul of pluralism’:Pranab gives lessons to RSS

Nagpur, June 7 : Addressing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh cadres in Nagpur, former President Pranab Mukherjee reminded the RSS of the history of India by preaching that the “soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance”.

This 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.

 

Sharing his ‘understanding of the concepts of nation, nationalism and patriotism in the context of India’  Pranab said, “Let the objective of spreading Peace, Harmony and Happiness inform the formulation of our public policy and guide all the actions of our state and citizens in their everyday life.This and only this will be able to create a happy nation, where Nationalism flows automatically.

“This 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 one nation. India’s nationhood is not one language, one religion, one enemy. It is the perennial universalism of 1.3 billion people who use more than 122 languages and 1,600 dialects in their everyday lives, practice seven major religion, belong to three major ethnic groups — Aryans, Mongoloids and Dravidians —live under one system, one flag, and one identity of being Bharatiya and have no enemies,” Mukherjee said.

Calling for a dialogue to balance competing interests and reconcile them, he made it clear that hatred dilutes nationalism and intolerance will dilute national identity. “Divergent stands in public discourse have to be recognised.”

Sharing “some truths that I have internalized during my 50 year long public life” as a parliamentarian and administrator, he said the soul of India resided in “pluralism and tolerance”.

“People are at the centre of all activities of the state and nothing should be done to divide the peopleand create animosity amongst them. The aim of the state should be to galvanise them to fight a concerted war against poverty, disease and deprivation and to convert economic growth into real development,” Mukherjee said in a 41-minute address at the valedictory programme of RSS volunteers’ 25-day training camp at the Reshimbagh campus.

The Former President defined Indian nationalism as “universalism”, which was distinct from the one based on a defined territory,
a single language, shared religion, and a common enemy. He also quoted from Nehru’s ‘Discovery of India’, saying “nationalism can
only come out of the ideological fusion of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and other groups in India”.

Invoking the vision of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, Mukherhjee said India’s nationhood was not one language, one religion or one enemy.

Pranab said As Gandhi ji has explained, “Indian nationalism was not exclusive nor aggressive nor destructive”

Showing the mirror to Sangh, Pranab said , “Nationalism is all about inclusivity  and hatred and intolerance will only lead to dilution of our national identity

India resides in pluralism and tolerance. This plurality came with assimilation of ideas over centuries. Secularism is a matter of faith for usOur constitution represents the hopes and aspirations of billion-plus people of India

 

Our national identity has emerged after a long drawn process of confluence and assimilation, the multiple cultures and faiths make us special and tolerant

“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, practice 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, speaking in English and peppering his speech with some words and phrases from his mother tongue Bengali.

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