President Pranab Mukherjee asks youngsters to practise tolerance
New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said that Indians should "collectively preserve" the country's core values of pluralism and secularism while youngsters should be imparted a "greater sense" of tolerance so that they may summarily reject any "divisive agenda".
"Each one of us must be mindful of the sensitivities of those around us and the effect of our words and actions on them. We must collectively preserve the core values of pluralism and secularism that have served, over the years, to safeguard the fabric of our society," Mukherjee told a group of young volunteers of the Bharat Scouts and Guides in New Delhi.
"The Bharat Scouts and Guides must infuse a greater sense of tolerance in young minds, whilst allowing them to summarily reject any divisive agenda," he added.
Mukherjee said that as the world becomes increasingly globalised, rampant social conflicts keep coming to the fore, which threaten the continued well-being of all citizens.
Stressing on the need for the country to be mindful of the aspirations of the youth, the President said, "Our nation is going through an unprecedented demographic transformation. In another five years' time, the average age of an Indian would be 29 years!
"The statistical fact is not only indicative of how important it is, for the country, to focus on the aspirations of our youth but, equally, for each one of my young friends here, and across the country, to strive and become the much-needed 'agents of change'," the President said.
Bharat Scouts and Guides -- a voluntary, non-political, educational movement for young people -- can be the perpetual platform to nurture leadership at the grassroots level, he said.
"Today, I am especially happy to note that your dedication and purposeful activities, at such a tender age, are paving the way for national integration as well as international harmony in equal measure," Mukherjee said. He was speaking after presenting the President's scout, guide, rover, ranger and adult leader awards and certificates for 2013 at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Lauding Bharat Scouts and Guides while referring to the Clean India Mission launched by the Narendra Modi government, Mukherjee said, "It is my firm belief that Bharat Scouts and Guides stands poised to inculcate the basic sense of self- confidence, self-reliance and passion for national duty in each and every one of you." He also praised the wide role played by the organisation's members in enhancing the country's reputation.
"The efforts and the events have encompassed humanitarian aid during natural calamities, social campaigns to combat disease and debilitative habits, community workshops for skill-development, joint activities related to Millennium Development Goals, and participation in international meets," he said.
He also made a reference to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan saying that "the pan-India movement is truly based on the dignity of labour, a value that was so dear to Mahatma Gandhi".