President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday called upon the youth to celebrate the country’s culture of diversity and that people should not try to “remove” diversity.
Mukherjee said this while delivering a guest lecture at Bapu Gujarat Knowledge Village, a group of institutions run by a trust headed by Leader of Opposition in Assembly Shankersinh Vaghela.
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Regretting that no Indian university was among the top 200 universities of the world, the President said the main objective of education for students should be contribution towards advancement of society.
He said a great task was awaiting the young generation. Citing example of Indian economy, he said: “Indian economy is growing fast. It is not an accident. It is not one- or two-year achievement… One-and-a half decade ago, average Indian GDP growth had been more than 7.5 per cent. For acouple of years, we had 8.5 per cent (GDP growth). Yes, we have left behind the days when one of the most dominant economies jokingly told ‘growth of Indian GDP is Hindu growth rate…”
Mukherjee said, “Today, we have 1.28 billion people, in the land having 1,800 dialects, having 200 languages used in everyday life, having seven (major) religions, three major ethnic groups, all diversities in life, food, culture and dress, yet we are under one flag, under one constitution, one nationhood and one system. How we have been able to converge these diversities into acceptable university?”
“It is possible because of our cultural liberalisation, it is because of our spirit that we must celebrate diversity. We must not try to remove diversity..,” he added.
Mukherjee also cited an instance when “some skeptics expressed doubts over experiment of Indian constitutional methods — ‘That you are a poor country. Almost illiterate…How a very highly sophisticated parliamentary constitutional mechanism would be established there?’”
He noted one of Jawaharlal Nehru’s friends who later became Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Frank Anthony Eden, wrote to Nehru that his idealism would never succeed. “But after two successful general elections, he gave compliments to people of India that their constitution is just not a legal enactment of governance, it is the most magnificent magna carta of socio-economic transformation,” Mukherjee said.
“We have undertaken this socio-economic transformation and this responsibility lies on you, my dear young students,” he added.
He concluded his speech saying, “I do wish you all success in becoming a true man, the vision of a man Mahatma Gandhi dreamt, Swami Vivekanand dreamt, and Rabindranath Tagore dreamt.”