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(Adding reference to BJP in line 1)

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 26 (UNI) Former Deputy Prime Minister and BJP senior leader L K Advani has said India was a successful democracy with enough room for a pluralistic society where multiple ethnic groups flourished without fear or loss of faith.

''The reason for this has been our culture of acceptance of others' views and tolerance for other's viewpoints. This overview has the sanctity even in our faith. And with such traditions democracy in India was more than safe.'' The challenge actually before us is materialism and not a clash between two faiths or more, he added, speaking at the 3rd 'Chamanlalji Memorial Lecture' on 'What India Can Teach the West' last evening.

Noted journalist Mark Tully said India should not forget its 'culture of discussion' and 'accomodation of others views', if it was to be a role model for the world torn between materialism and consumerism.

Tully said nationalism could not be taken to be narrow beliefs of the self or misinterpreted as disaffection for the nation of lack of pride in the country.

But if taken in a parochial view which hurts getting across to others or prevents others to draw close to one self, it spells negative connotation. ''Experience of 20th century Europe was testimony to this.'' India's tradition of living together and the culture of discussion and debate should not be drowned in the noveau culture of diatribe and shouting down others in the guise of nationalism or cultural extravagance, he said.

''It is in this age-old and time-tested culture where stands a chance for a dialogue, of understanding of resolving conflicts that afflict us. India can bring openness to the West and the world.'' Instead of just looking at the bad in a religion or faith a glimpse at the good could offer a scope for accomodation and living in peace, he said.

''India could actually show to the world its own experience. And with its pluralistic tradition it was actually possible in India.'' Why India has not been able to put its culture abroad is because it has problem living with it, he maintained.

Stressing that what India needed was to purge itself of 'corruption' and 'ineffectiveness' and bring about administrative reforms as the system it adopted was not the 'British system' but 'British Colonial system' -- which was to rule India not serve it, Tully said India needed to relearn itself.

''Economic prosperity was not the panacea for a country like India. The aim should be towards best democracy than the largest democracy if India was to rise to the crest of its glory,'' he added.


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