Vice President Ansari said that tolerance was a pragmatic way to ensure the functioning of a conflict-free society.
“Tolerance is a pragmatic formula for the functioning of the society without conflict between different religions, political ideologies, nationalities, ethnic groups, or other us-versus-them divisions,” VP Ansari said while making a strong pitch for inter-faith dialogue in removing misunderstandings.
“We must not only tolerate other religions, but positively embrace them, as truth is the basis of all religions,” VP Ansari said while quoting Swami Vivekananda.
On the significance of dialogues within religions, he said, “Dialogue removes misunderstanding and promotes empathy and understanding. And in this crucial task, inter-faith dialogue plays an important role.”
He also stressed on how accepting and understanding of religions along with tolerance was necessary to build an inclusive and pluralistic society.
“…Tolerance alone is not a strong enough foundation for building an inclusive and pluralistic society. It must be coupled with acceptance and understanding,” the Vice President said while highlighting that both law and public life in India promotes and endorses religious tolerance.
Ansari said the institutions of the state are expected to ensure that the principle of secularism is observed in letter and spirit in public life.
“Our society has, for centuries, provided a unique social and intellectual environment in which many distinct religions have not only co-existed peacefully but have also enriched each other…The Constitution lays down that the conduct of the state shall be governed by the principle of secularism, that the state action must be determined by fairness, non-partisanship and impartiality…The state shall treat all religions in the country with equal respect, that it shall not privilege one religion or community over others,” the VP said while talking about how India is home to all great religions of the world.
In his address the Vice President also praised Kerala’s age old tradition of religious pluralism.
“It is a state that has the oldest traditions of Islam and Christianity in India and is known for the relative harmony that exists between the various religious groups,” the VP said in praise of Kerala.
This is not the first time that Vice President Ansari has spoken out about religious tolerance and plurality in India.
“Our commitment to plurality, to religious tolerance is self evident. It is written down in the Constitutional text as fundamental rights, it has been repeated again and again by the highest courts of the land,” VP Ansari had said while interacting with the press on board a special flight from Bali on November 6.
The conference in Malappuram was also attended by state ministers PK Kunhalikutty and MK Muneer. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is an MP from Kerala was also present at the event.
This is the second day of VP’s three-day visit to Kerala. On Monday, the VP Ansari inaugurated the KR Narayanan National Institute of Visual Sciences & Arts and also took part in the Toc H International Centenary events in Kochi.
(With inputs from PTI)