We have not been vigilant enough, says President Mukherjee
Referring to mob violence and lynching, President Pranab Mukherjee reminded editors, journalists and the media that they possibly have not been vigilant enough
Have we been vigilant enough, asked President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday while voicing his anguish at irrational and uncontrollable mob frenzy in lynching human beings. He was addressing a select gathering in the national capital after releasing National Herald’s publication to commemorate 70 years of India’s independence.
Departing from prepared text, the President recalled the Battle of Plassey in 1757 which paved the way for colonial rule. The battle, he reminded the audience, was lost because of ‘traitors’ within. While colonialism in its old form may not reappear, it is certain to take new forms if the media and intellectuals are not vigilant enough to keep forces of darkness at bay.
Addressing several editors and journalists in the audience, the President said that their responsibility to ensure civil rights could never end. Freedom first, freedom now and freedom forever, he declared, ought to be the goal while asserting people’s right to a dignified life. There is no escape because posterity would demand an explanation and ask what ‘we did’, he declared.
"I will appeal to the media persons that your duty, your job has never come to an end, and it will never come to an end," he added.
The President said that "our achievements in the last 70 years are not just about building dams or power plants. It is not just about economic independence or regional prosperity but our unity, which is our greatest strength," Mukherjee said.
That 1.3 billion people, speaking more than 200 languages in their daily lives, practising seven major religions and belonging to three different ethnic groups - Caucasians, Mongoloids and Dravidians, came together to constitute one India and one Constitution and live in peace and harmony,” is a spectacular achievement.
Earlier, Congress President Sonia Gandhi in her address said that the media today were being pressurised to applaud the Government, rather than question it. While National Herald was meant to fight against colonial rule, domestic misrule remains as great a challenge to the country and the media, she suggested.