President Pranab Mukherjee, who is on a three-day visit to West Bengal, has underlined the need for respecting the sensitivities of the minorities. The President said that an effort should be made to maintain an atmosphere where every community finds a space in the national narrative.
“We must encourage a broad human outlook in all our citizens and educate them to rise above caste or communal loyalties. We must learn to respect the rights and sensitivities of minorities, both in letter and spirit,” the President said while delivering the Indira Gandhi Memorial Lecture at the Asiatic Society in Kolkata.
“We must strive to maintain an atmosphere where every community feels a part of the national narrative,” he said even as he called for a secular and democratic outlook to promote a way of life which is inclusive.
He also warned against regional interests overtaking commitment to national interest. According to him, national integration demands that every citizen recognize the primacy of national interest over group or individual interests.
“Sometimes, it does happen that regional interests overtake our commitment to the national interest. We have to guard against any such tendency,” the President said.
All Indian languages must receive encouragement and support but in a linguistically plural society, additional favour to the national imperatives must be made, said the President.
President Mukherjee also spoke about the role of the state. The state must do its best to reduce regional imbalances and provide a just, fair and good administration which would ensure equal treatment to every citizen irrespective of his caste, religion, race, colour, sex or place of birth, he said.
Focus should remain on raising the standard of living and reducing existing disparities in power, wealth, income, consumption and utilisation of social services like education or health, he explained while delivering the lecture at the Asiatic Society.
(With inputs from PTI)