President Pranab Mukherjee has once again spoken about cleansing minds from divisive thoughts, even as a debate on ‘intolerance’ rages on inside the Parliament.
“The real dirt of India lies not in our streets but in our minds and in our unwillingness to let go of views that divide society into ‘them’ and ‘us’, ‘pure’ and ‘impure’,” the President said while inaugurating the Archives and Research Centre at Sabarmati Ashram.
The President invoked Mahatma Gandhi and cited his vision of India as an inclusive nation where every section of population lived in equality and enjoyed equal opportunity.
Referring to the government’s cleanliness campaign, President Mukherjee said, “Swachh Bharat, according to Bapu, implied a clean mind, clean body and clean environment.”
“We must make a success of the laudable and welcome Swatch Bharat Mission. However, this also must be seen as just the beginning of a much larger and intense effort to cleanse minds and fulfil Gandhiji’s vision in all its aspects,” the President explained.
President Mukherjee, who is on a three-day maiden visit to Gujarat, also addressed the 62nd convocation of Gujarat Vidyapith where he said, “Gandhiji in life and in death struggled for communal harmony. Educating in peace and harmony is the key to contain and reorient the disruptive forces in society.”
This is not the first time President Mukherjee has chosen to speak on the issue of intolerance. In the past two months, with the rising debate on “intolerance” the President has made several observations, calling for unity and harmony, emphasizing on India’s diversity and liberal traditions.
While speaking on Ahimsa, the President said, “we must free our public discourse of all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. Only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of the people, especially the marginalised and the dispossessed in our democratic process.”
“Every day, we see unprecedented violence all around us. At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear and mistrust. While we invent new modes of combating this ever spiraling violence, we must not forget the power of non-violence, dialogue and reason,” President Mukherjee explained.
At the event, the President also spoke on a host of other issues like higher education, calling for India’s leadership role in the sector. Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Governor O P Kohli were also present at the ceremony at the ‘Archives and Research Centre’, which the President inaugurated.
(With inputs from PTI)