Need to ensure every Indian can live without fear, prejudice: President Pranab Mukherjee

Kolkata: Underlining the pluralistic nature of India, President Pranab Mukherjee today said that the social fabric of our country would remain strong if every individual can live without “fear and prejudice”.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the bicentenary celebrations of the diocese of Calcutta, Mukherjee said every religion preaches the fundamental values of humanity.

“Forbearance, restraint and acceptance of differentviews form some of our core principles. India prides itself on its pluralistic ideals,” he said.

The President said that in India, several major religions have thrived due to its assimilative capacity and it is that which has come to define our civilisation over the centuries.

“The fabric of our society would remain strong when every individual irrespective of caste, creed, region and religion can live and partake in progress without fear and prejudice,” he said.

In the wake of the Dadri lynching incident and amidst the debate over claims of rising intolerance, Mukherjee has been appealing for tolerance and pluralism in the country. He has also stressed that unity in diversity is part of India’s civilisational values.
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The President said it is the mosaic of being multi- religious that makes our nation an oasis of peaceful co-existence and communal harmony.

“It is here that the Christian community is looked upon with respect for their peaceful and humanitarian nature and for their magnanimous contribution to the process of nation building,” he said.

“It is a unique experience to live under one system, one administration, one Constitution, 130 crore people, 100 languages used in every day practice, 1600 dialects three major ethnic groups having substantial presence, Mongoloids in North Eastern India, Caucasians in North and Western India and Dravidians in whole of South India living under one system, one flag, one Constitution, one administration, one jurisprudence,” Mukherjee said.

“The inherent chemistry of this unity amidst diversity is acceptance and belief in pluralism,” Mukherjee said.

During the function, the St James Choir presented Rabindra Sangeet while Church song was presented by Diocesan Choir and Oxford Mission Orchestra.

An abridged version of documentary “Resonance of the Chronicle” on the activities and history of the Diocese was also shown.

Children of HIV positive people living in Arunima Hospice presented a small dance drama giving message of preventing discrimination against patients and their families.

Lauding the efforts of the Diocese, the President said its noble deeds have significantly impacted and transformed the lives of the citizens of Kolkata across many generations.