From spirituality, Prez quest takes her to temple of learning

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Pune, Oct 12 (UNI) After her quest for spirituality, President Pratibha Patil today came to a prestigious temple of learning in this city, called the Oxford of the East, and was conferred honorary degree of Doctors of Letters by Bharati Vidyapeeth on the occasion of the university's 10th convocation.

Yesterday, her quest for spirtuality had taken the President to shrines in the memory of 12th century Sant Gianeshwar and 14th century Sant Tukaram.

With terrorism weighing heavy on her mind, the President underlined the need to look at balanced life in which ''we live in harmony with each other.'' She said; ''The recent terrorist incidents and other incidents of violence against innocent people are an attack on our national ethos.'' Mrs Patil said, ''Terrorists only have an agenda of disruption and destruction. We cannot allow these misquided elements to pursue their divisive agenda.'' ''The violence of a few should not divert us from our path of growth and neither should it be allowed to dilute the basic tolerant character of our civilisational heritage,'' she added.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, the President said, ''You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean, if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.'' The President said, ''We have to change the mindsets of those harbouring the creed of violence and turn them towards the path of peace, amity and communal harmony.'' Urging for unity, she said, ''We must not forget that we are first and always Indians. Everyone of us should come together and jointly fight terrorism and see that communal harmony and unity amongst our people is kept intact.'' Stressing on the plural character of Indian democracy which has no place for violence, the President, reading from a prepared text, said, ''We have a duty to uphold the great traditions of the world's largest democratic nation, where all voices will be heard but violence will never be resorted to.'' MORE UNI SAA PK KP1428

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