The former President Pranab Mukherjee stooped to conquer in his speech at an RSS event in Nagpur on Thursday upholding his liberal credentials , spoke about nationalism ,pluralism, and tolerance as the soul of Indian lives.
“ Multiplicity in culture ,faith and language is what makes India special. we derive our strength from tolerance” Mukherjee told the gathering at RSS in presence of the chief Mr Mohan Bhagwat .
“ the soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance—secularism and inclusion are a matter of faith for us” He continued undauntedly “ India’s nationhood is not one religion ,one language ,one enemy .It is the perennial universalism of 1.3billion people who use more than 1,600 dialects and 122 languages in their everyday lives ,practice 7major religions –live under one system ,one flag, and one identity being Bhartiya and have no enemies”
This speech was unprecedented and a stern reminder to those who would like to divide the people on religion caste creed hatred and intolerance.
E m p h a s is i n g that Constitution being the flowing bed for our nationalism and patriotism ,appreciation of our inherited unity in diversity , Pranab Mukherjee dwelt at length the Indian history from 6th century that covered the period from Mahajanapadas to different dynasties ,Muslim invaders , East India Company and finally British yoke.
Pranab Mukherjee Quoting from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s book The discovery of India , “Iam convinced that nationalism can only come out of the ideological fusion of Hindu, Muslim Sikh and other groups in India. That does not mean that extinction of any real culture of any group, but it does mean a common national outlook, to which other matters are subordinated.”
The RSS has been successful in showcasing itself as an organization that was not averse to invite illustrious Indian like Pranab Mukherjee, who does not essentially share its views , to its conclave.
Mr Mohan Bhagwatji ,RSS Chief in his speech espoused of diversity values and stressed upon the fact that RSS was working for the whole society ,implying it is not rigid in its policies to better the cultural and economic ethos of Indian people at large.
The invitation invited a heated debate in the corridors of the Congress Party.
Predictably the Congress leaders appealed to former President and veteran Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee to decline the invitation from an organization that stood apart from the tenants and principals of Congress Party. But Pranab Mukherjee had different ideas to deal with the predicament he was in.
He even chose to ignore the emotional and passionate appeal from his daughter sharmistra Mukherjee .She preferred to go public rather than speaking to her father in privacy. Because being an ardent congress leader in Delhi she stood to her independent stand and did not approve of his father’s decision to accept RSS invitation.
Pranab Mukherjee was determined to go his way and did not get bogged down by the appeals of his erstwhile political colleagues.
By doing so as a former President he has knowingly or unknowingly deviated from the convention of keeping away from the politics.
As a convention the Presidents keep away from the politics after laying off the august office.
His conviction worked and he proved all his detractors wrong.
His speech, a memorable one ,spoke of the importance of nationalism , nation, patriotism and pluralism to be proud of as guiding principles for a composite united India.
It spoke volumes of his statesmanship not as a former President or as a Citizen only but also as a staunch Congressman of long years ,thus standing true to his his words , deeds and principles of the Congress ideology.
Rss, on the other hand could console itself by seeking a stamp of legitimacy and approval of being a cultural organization working towards the welfare of Indians in the best of its interests.