President Pranab Mukherjee once again pitched for safeguarding the core values that has defined the nation in its unity and diversity. Noting that the world is presently “struggling to deal with the worst impulses of intolerance”, President of the Union said it is time we reinforce the values that bind together the complex diversity of modern-day India and promote them throughout the globe. He was addressing a gathering at the inauguration of first-ever International Conference of Indologists in Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday.
“We are today witnessing events without precedent; when the world is struggling to deal with the worst impulses of intolerance and hatred that mankind has ever witnessed…. At such a time, there can be no better recourse than to remind ourselves of the high values, written and unwritten samskaras (tradition), duties and the way of life that is the essence of India,” President Mukhejee said.
He also cited Swami Vivekananda’s message that “the world has yet to learn from India, the idea not only of toleration, but of sympathy” while speaking at the occasion.
Ever since the horrifying incident of mob lynching in Dadri and subsequent events that had given rise to the debate on “rising intolerance” in the country, President Pranab Mukherjee has been appealing for tolerance and pluralism. Many author, multi-lingual writers, artists, film-makers and even a scientist have returned their awards protesting against the issue.
Lending out an appeal to the host of scholars attending the three-day meet to not excessively dwell on ancient times or merely fill the people with nostalgia about India’s grand past, the President stressed on the need to “highlight the manner in which pluralism and multi-culturalism are at the very core of the Indian psyche”.
“I am confident that your deliberations over the next three days will highlight the manner in which pluralism and multi-culturalism are at the very core of the Indian psyche. They will surely make an important contribution to our existing body of knowledge in the area of Indology,” the President of India added.
The President also gave away the first Distinguished Indologist Award to Prof Emeritus Heinrich Freiherr von Stietencron of Germany in recognition of his great work in Indology, or the study of India from the perspectives of history, culture, religion and languages, among others. The award, instituted by the External Affairs Ministry and Indian Council for Cultural Relations, includes USD 20,000 and a citation.
Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was also present at the function, which will be attended by 22 Indologists, including from China and Russia, and seven Indian scholars.
Speaking further at the conference, President Mukherjee also asked the younger generation across the world to study, practice and benefit from Ayurveda and other ancient Indian healing systems.
“The global popularisation of yoga will help to improve the lifestyle of those who adopt it and proactively safeguard their physical and mental well-being. I would like to encourage the younger generation of the world to study, practice and benefit from Ayurveda and other ancient Indian healing systems,” he added.
(With inputs from the PTI)