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India is a pluralistic society: Vice President

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Amidst the ongoing debate back home on intolerance, Vice President Hamid Ansari today said India is a pluralistic society and there are constitutional guarantees to ensure diversity and a secular state that shows equal respect for all faiths and religions.

He also said that India is a country where every effort is made to allow all different versions of what constitutes Indian culture to prosper and express itself.

There is no attempt to “homogenise” culture, he told the students at Udayana University where he also unveiled a bust of Mahatama Gandhi.

“India is a pluralistic society. Plurality is a reality and we make sure that our state shall be secular or in other words, have equal respect for all faiths or religions.

“There are guarantees in the constitution which ensures that this is done in practice. This is the way we implement our diversity,” Ansari, currently on a visit to Indonesia, said.

He was replying to questions at an interactive session after his speech when he was asked how India managed its plurality.

Elaborating on plurality, the Vice President said that unlike most currency notes in the world, where the value is written in one or two languages, Indian currency notes mention it in 18 languages.

“That is how we practice diversity in our daily life,” he said.

Responding to a question by a student as to how India implemented Gandhian values in social life, Ansari said: “Gandhian teachings are a core value in all segments of our society. It is the unwritten subtext to our constitutional structure. Yet it would be foolhardy to say that we have succeeded doing it hundred per cent. We are committed to it.

“We aspire to implement it and it is work in progress and will continue. There is no such thing as perfection in social life.”

The Vice President also said that both India and Indonesia are pluralistic democracies with majority of young populations, shared values and the youth of both nations should connect and define a prosperous future.

In the speech, Ansari said that both Indian and Balinese civilisations share philosophy of peace and universal brotherhood and these values are also guided by Gandhi’s approach.