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Hatred dilutes identity, soul of India resides in tolerance: Pranab Mukherjee at RSS event

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The soul of India resides in tolerance said former president of India Pranab Mukherjee. He was addressing RSS cadres at Nagpur and based his speech on nationalism and patriotism.

Pranab Mukherjee

The much awaited speech which lasted for a little over 25 minutes dwelled on various subjects which included historic India, nationalism, patriotism and also the happiness index in India.

Mukherjee said, a nation is defined as a large group of people.Nationalism is defined by one's identity. Patriotism is defined as devotion, he also said. Many ancient travellers came to India and gave their accounts. All have described India as having efficient administrative system and good infrastructure, he further added.

India was a state long before the concept of the European state. Their model was defined territory, common religion and common enemy. On the other hand, Indian nationalism emanated from universalism. We see the whole world as one family, and we derive our strength from tolerance, the former president also said. He also added that intolerance will only dilute our identity.

The concept of a modern Indian state, transcribed by thinkers and ideologies has provided India with a permanent edge. "A nation in the making" conceptualises the Indian state. Our national identity emerged from a long-drawn process of confluence and co-existence. The concept of modern India was articulated from various Indian leaders, it was not bound by race or religion, he further added.

Nationalism comprised all Indians. Nationalism was not bound to a caste, creed or race. Democracy became our most precious guide to peace. For us democracy is not a gift, but a sacred task, Pranab Mukherjee also said while adding that the soul of India resides in tolerance.

Happiness a fundamental right:

The soul of India resides in tolerance. This has come to us over centuries. Secularism and inclusion is a matter of faith for us. When I dream of India, I mesmerise how it is possible that so many people practise so many religions, speak so many languages and dialects. Under one system, one Constitution and one flag and identity, it is called Bharatiya. We do not identify any enemy Pranab Mukherjee also said.

A dialogue is necessary. Co-existence, compassion and harmony form the foundation. Every day we see increased violence around us. There is mistrust. We must free our discourse from hatred said Pranab Mukherjee. Let us move to harmony and happiness, he also added.

Our motherland is asking for peace and harmony. Happiness is fundamental right of our citizens. While we have done well in many areas, including growth, but we have not fared well in the happiness index. We rank 133 out of 156 countries.

Many languages and religion under come under one flag. Every day, we see increased violence around us. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence - physical or verbal. We must move away from anger and violence to peace, harmony and happiness. I am addressing the trainees, you are young and highly trained. Please pray for peace. Every time a woman and child is hurt, the soul of India is wounded, he further added.

Earlier the former president said, "If we have a quick look at the history, the emergence of Indian state can be traced back to the sixth century BC. For 600 years, there was Muslim rule in India, which was taken over by the East India company. A mercantile company took over the reigns of India. After the first war of Independence, India was transferred to the estate of the Queen. However, one thing needs to be kept in mind, even after so many rulers the 5000-year-old continuity of the civilisation remained."

Hatred leads to dilution of Nationalism. Intolerance will only dilute our national identity. Many dynasties, powerful kingdoms ruled India in Northern and Southern parts. Our national identity has emerged after a long drawn process of confluence and assimilation, the multiple cultures and faiths make us special and tolerant, he further added.

Pranab on Hedgewar:

Prior to this speech he had visited the birthplace of RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar. Pranab described him as a great son of mother India.

"Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India," Mukherjee wrote in a visitor's book at Hedgewar's birthplace.

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