Kirnahar, West Bengal: President Pranab Mukherjee has yet again come out with an appeal for practicing tolerance and to accept differences while respecting dissent, in remarks that come in the midst of growing intolerance in the country.
"Our civilisation teaches us to promote tolerance, to accept differences and to respect dissent. Therefore, that is the essence which has kept us together."
"Therefore, what I stated, that we should recognise this underlying message and convey it in our actions, day-to-day practices... whether it should be the part of our civilization and culture, in our behaviour, in our approach and attitude," the President told NDTV at his home in Kirnahar in West Bengal.
He was asked about his Monday's strong comments whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent was on the wane in the country and what were his concerns that made him make the statement.
The reason, he said, was that during his visit to the three West Asian countries last week, he was asked about the "chemistry" of India which has a very successful, multi-party parliamentary democracy in a country of so much diversity with various languages, races, religion, customs, beliefs and a huge multitude of people.
"Then I told them perhaps it is the very essence of our civilisation which has kept us around and which has bound us together and we celebrate diversity. It is a part of us. Our civilisation teaches us to promote tolerance, to accept differences and to respect dissent. Therefore, that is the essence which has kept us together," he said.
Greeting the people on the occasion of 'Durga Puja', he said, "let them enjoy the festival and at the same time carry the message of this festival in their day to day lives and practices."...