Former President Pranab Mukherjee said that the country was going through turbulent times but it was a temporary phase as Indians will “tenaciously fight it in order to re-establish the country’s unique national identity — etched in our Constitution”. He was speaking at the Christmas gathering hosted by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in New Delhi on Thursday, December 13.
“Divisive tendencies, intolerance and prejudiced ‘fear of the other’ seem to be defining us in place of the composite and yet diverse nation that we emerged in over 5000 years of coexistence, acceptance, adaptation and assimilation. However, it is my considered belief that this, like in the past, is a temporary phase,” Mukherjee said in his Christmas message.
The former president said that there can be many conflicting visions of the idea of India, but India is a truly beautiful idea that very naturally encompasses all its conflicting visions. “Sooner than later, it is this idea of India which will prevail. Our history bears testimony to this,” he said.
Pranab Mukherjee also spoke about the growing communal intolerance and said that the only guiding ideology that we as a country should follow is the Constitution as it is important to the growth of the country
Pranab Mukherjee also spoke about the growing communal intolerance and said that the only guiding ideology that we as a country should follow is the Constitution as it is important to the growth of the country.
He said, “Our freedom to practice and propagate our religion, the freedom to set up educational institutions, to choose any occupation, all are important and they must be safeguarded. This is the bedrock of our democracy and the foundation for our strong growth… Constitutionalism, in its letter and spirit, should be our only guiding ideology.”
Mukherjee also highlighted the work carried out by the Church in India. “The most enduring image of the Catholic Church in India is the crores of Indians, who get educated in the schools and colleges set up by the Church and millions of patients who got treated in the Holy Family Hospitals.”
Other prominent guests included retired SC judge Kurian Joseph, Megalaya CM Conrad Sangma, Union minister for tourism KJ Alphons and CBCI president Cardinal Oswald Gracias among others.