Suri, Birbhum : Durga puja celebrations took the President of India Pranab Mukherjee to his village Mirati, where the President attended a felicitation ceremony and expressed his views on culture, tradition, tolerance and plurality – the edifice of Indian democracy. President’s comments are getting interpreted as a concern on the ongoing political debates akin to Dadri ans award giveupsas well as political positioning on certain provocative issues.
For the second time in a short duration of almost a month, a deeply concerned President spoke out for tolerance and importance of protecting diversity in the country. Mukherjee emphasised – Pluralism is key to our civilization and culture. Pluralism and tolerance have held together for ages this civilization of many languages, races, religions, with diverse anthropological features. He ssid that India is bound by the threads of tolerance and the need of the hour rested in respecting other religions and giving space for other view points. President spoke for about ten minutes, but conveyed his concern over the rising unrest over sentimental issues which had been provoking minds of public in general and politicians in particular.
Mukherjee said – Tolerance is not a political cliche. We celebrate diversity, we are ready to accept other views. We have heard about some untoward incidents recently. Some of these are being discussed in the media. They sometimes create confusion and uncertainty. A question comes to our mind – Are we on the right track ? Our collective strength must be harnessed to resist evil powers in society.
Mukherjee, who was present in Durga poja celebrations on the sixth day, the Shashthi, stated in Bengali, implying – The drums are playing, but we should keep in mind certain things. Some such questions on unrest bother our country also. We believe in Ramakrishna’s saying ‘jata mat, tata path’ (ways are many, as are opinions). It is our inheritance. Rabindranath Tagore had said ‘sabar upor manush sotto, tahar upore nai’ (humans are the ultimate, there’s none above him). Our civilization won’t have lasted for 5,000 years without tolerance… The Indian civilization has always accepted dissent and differences. Hope Mahamaya, the combination of all positive forces would eliminate the Asuras or divisive forces. We have a constitution that accommodates all these differences.