NEW DELHI: Amidst debates on nationalism from JNU to Srinagar NIIT and controversies ranging from chanting of Bharat Mata Ki Jai to eating beef, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday once again gave lessons of pluralism and tolerance, saying these principles cannot be turned into fiction due to the whims and caprices of a few individuals. Without referring to anyone, the President called for remaining alert to communal tensions rearing its ugly head, adding the rule of law must form the sole basis for dealing with any challenging situation.
Delivering Arjun Singh Memorial Lecture here, Mukherjee stressed that in a pluralistic democracy, values of tolerance, respect for contrary views and patience are inculcated amongst the citizens particularly the youth.
“Pluralism and tolerance is a core philosophy that must continue undeterred. India is a multi-faceted nation of 1.3 billion people, 122 languages, 1,600 dialects and 7 religions. This cannot be turned into fiction due to the whims and caprices of a few individuals,” he said.
“Plurality of our society has come about through assimilation of ideas over centuries. The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. We derive our strength from tolerance. It has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries,” he added. He said by denying the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion, a fundamental character of country’s thought process will wither away.
Without mentioning the functioning of Parliament and stuck legislations, the President also said democracy is not all about numbers but also calls for consensus building. “While we must wield no space to anarchy, efficient democratic machinery must have the means and wherewithal to absorb public opinion for formulation of sound policies,” he said.