Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022

Real dirt is not on our streets but in minds: President Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee has been speaking against intolerance after the Dadri lynching incident and subsequent events.

pranab mukherjee, pranab mukherjee in gujarat, pranab mukherjee in ahmedabad, intolerance, pranab mukherjee dadri lynching, pranab mukherjee speech President Pranab Mukherjee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delivering a message of inclusiveness at a time when Parliament is debating the Constitution and the issue of intolerance, President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday called for an “intense effort” within the country to “cleanse minds” of views that divide society.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the new archives and research centre at Sabarmati Ashram, a day after arriving in Gujarat on a three-day visit, Mukherjee said, “The real dirt of India lies not on our streets but in our minds and in our unwillingness to let go of views that divide society into them and us, pure and impure.”

 

 

The President also referred to the Swachh Bharat Mission, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Gandhi Jayanti last year, to reiterate the point. “We must make a success of the laudable and welcome Swachh Bharat Mission. However, this also must be seen as just the beginning of a much larger and intense effort to cleanse minds and fulfil Gandhiji’s vision in all its aspects,” he said.

The President went on to quote Gandhi to say that as long as untouchability or “the dehumanising practice of carrying night soil persists, we cannot have real Swachh Bharat”.

Emphasising that only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections in the democratic process, Mukherjee pointed out that there was “unprecedented violence all around us” at the heart of which was “darkness, fear and mistrust”.

”While we invent new modes of combating this ever spiralling violence, we must not forget the power of non-violence, dialogue and reason. We must free our public discourse of all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal,” he said.

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Mukherjee added that the world needs Gandhi more than ever now because he saw India as an “inclusive nation where every section of our population lived in equality and enjoyed equal opportunity”.

Later, while speaking at the 62nd convocation of the Gujarat Vidyapith, Mukherjee praised the students for cleaning the campus themselves, saying, “As a country, we have promised ourselves a Swachh Bharat by October 2, 2019, to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji… Swachh Bharat, according to Bapu, implied a clean mind, clean body and clean environment. Every citizen has a duty to rededicate themselves to create a clean external and internal environment of self and society to make Swachh Bharat possible.”

The President also highlighted the need for “skill development” initiatives on a massive scale based on various technologies. He spoke about how Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become a preferred mode of learning due to its merits of scale, speed and cost.

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However, he said, the dipping number of international students preferring India for studies was a “worrying sign”.

“The number of students from seven out of the top eight countries — US, Germany, France, South Korea, Australia, China and Singapore — have dipped 73 per cent in 2014. We must do all at our end to reverse this trend and make India emerge as a quality and affordable education destination for students outside,” he said.

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First published on: 03-12-2015 at 03:10:10 am
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