New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, addressing the nation for the fifth time on the eve of Independence Day, said that in these four years, he has seen with some disquiet, forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against the national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly.
The divisive forces notwithstanding, the President went on to underscore that the “collective wisdom of the Indian society and polity gives him the confidence that such forces will remain marginalized and the country’s remarkable growth story will continue uninterrupted.
The President said that he has seen with some satisfaction a stable and progressive democracy in full play with peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, from one government to another, and from one generation to another. “Notwithstanding the different hues of political thought, I have seen the ruling party and the opposition coming together in pursuit of national agenda of development, unity, integrity and security of the nation” he said adding in the just-concluded session of Parliament, the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of GST amidst non-partisan and quality parliamentary deliberations is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity.
The safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society, Mukherjee went on to emphasise. He also opined that every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of the civilization. We cannot call ourselves a civilized society if we fail in this duty.
The President drew attention to the spate of terror activities in different parts of the world having their roots in radicalization of people on the basis of religion and said these forces apart from killing innocent people in the name of religion also threaten to disturb geopolitical divides, which could prove disastrous for world peace. The inhuman, mindless and barbaric modus operandi of such groups have been visible in France, Belgium, United States, Nigeria, Kenya and closer home in Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently. These forces now pose a danger to the entire comity of nations. The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice.
India through its unique civilizational contribution has repeatedly conveyed the message of peace and harmony to the trouble-torn world, Mukherjee pointed out. Pointing to the famous historian Arnold Toynbee, he said that in 1970 he had the following to say about India’s role in contemporary history. Quting him he said: “Today, we are still living in this transitional chapter of the world’s history, but it is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning, will have to have an Indian ending, if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race” (unquote). Toynbee further went on to say that at the cross roads of human history, the only way of salvation of mankind is the Indian way.
On this occasion, the President also extended his special greetings and gratitude to the members of the armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces who are at the forefront of guarding and preserving the Unity, Integrity and Security of India.