President Pranab Mukherjee flays attacks on the weak, divisive politics

It was Mukherjee’s fifth address to the nation ahead of August 15, and his last unless he gets a second term.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:August 15, 2016 2:49 am
 pranab mukherjee, independence day, dalit, dalit thrashing, condition of dalits, president independence day, attack on weak,  attck on minority, terrorism in india, indian terrorism, terrorists in india, president address to the nation, pranab mukherjee speech, terrorism, dalits, communalism, indian express news, india news President Pranab Mukherjee. (File Photo)

IN HIS address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day, President Pranab Mukherjee expressed his concern over the rise of divisive forces “in the last four years” and said attacks on weaker sections of society should be dealt with firmly.

“In these four years, I… saw with, some disquiet, forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly,” he said.

At the same time, he expressed confidence that such forces will remain “marginalised” due to the “collective wisdom of our society and our polity”. “India’s remarkable growth story will continue uninterrupted,” the President said.

It was Mukherjee’s fifth address to the nation ahead of August 15, and his last unless he gets a second term.

Divisive agendas amount to subversion of the Constitution, the President said. “Democracy is more than a periodic exercise of choices to elect the government. The great tree of liberty requires constant nourishment through the institutions of democracy. Disruptions, obstructionism and un-mindful pursuit of a divisive political agenda by groups and individuals lead to nothing but institutional travesty and Constitutional subversion. Polarising debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse.”

He quoted former president Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan to make the point that democratic assemblies as mandated by the Constitution are the “safety valve” against standardised thinking and acting. The very essence of plurality, he said lies in cherishing the country’s diversity.

The President also talked about atrocities on women, saying, “The safety and security that we provide to our women and children determine the well-being of the State and society. Every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of civilisation. We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we fail in this duty.”

Amid tension between the Executive and the Judiciary, Mukherjee said the Constitution clearly defines the duties and responsibilities of every organ of the State. “It has established the ancient Indian ethos of ‘maryada’ as far as Authorities and Institutions of State power are concerned. The spirit of the Constitution has to be upheld by adherence to this ‘maryada’ by functionaries in discharge of their duties,” he said.

The President has routinely criticised parliamentary disruptions. With the recent Parliament session logging cent percent productivity after many years, Mukherjee hailed the passage of the GST Bill. The passage of the Bill “amidst non-partisan and quality parliamentary deliberations is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity”, he said.

Backed by strong political will, India must strive to create a future which will economically empower six hundred million youth, build a digital India, a start-up India, and a skilled India, the President said.

Full Text: President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech

India will grow only when all of India grows, he said. “The excluded ones have to be included in the development process. The hurt and the alienated have to be brought back into the mainstream.”

WATCH: President Pranab Mukherjee’s address on the eve of Independence Day

The President said India couldn’t rest on its laurels alone. “We should promote and reinforce a scientific temper by questioning our beliefs which are not compatible with the scientific way of thinking. We must learn to challenge the status quo and refuse to accept inefficiency and slipshod work. In a competitive environment, a sense of immediacy and some impatience are a necessary virtue… We often celebrate the achievements of our ancient past but it would be wrong to rest on our laurels. It is much more important to look to the future.”

Mukherjee also expressed his concern over terrorism. “The world has witnessed a spate of terror activities having their roots in radicalisation of people on the basis of religion. These forces apart from killing innocent people in the name of religion also threaten to disturb geopolitical divides, which could prove disastrous for world peace. The inhuman, mindless and barbaric modus operandi of such groups have been visible in France, Belgium, the United States, Nigeria, Kenya and, closer home, in Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently… The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice.”

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  1. R
    Raj Dhillon
    Aug 14, 2016 at 11:24 pm
    A well thought of presentation. Mr President, you have conducted yourself in the most exemplary manner during your term gone by. You have done the nation proud. You have endeavoured to bring our thoughts and ways into focus. I wish you would continue as our President for a second term
    Reply
  2. A
    ashok
    Aug 15, 2016 at 2:03 am
    Mr President if even after 69 years of Independence there are weaker sections then you have to blame yourself first being in the congress which ruled for the majority of years.Its easy to give speaches but what were you doing when you were the minister
    Reply
  3. J
    Joydeep
    Aug 15, 2016 at 1:27 am
    Great speech. And important when the country's people are getting divided on the kines of religion and caste.
    Reply
  4. M
    madan gupta
    Aug 15, 2016 at 12:33 am
    He is not India President, he is congress President, making ground for congress to win, so that he can get second term. His daughter a congress leader is hiding in President House, disclosing confidential information to Sonia. She has made it a Congress office, Congress leaders have a free excess to President house on the pretext of meeting her.
    Reply
  5. S
    SP
    Aug 14, 2016 at 11:29 pm
    We should move away from majority-minority, rich-poor and strong-weak narrative to equality of all people and treatment with dignity and respect for all. Social mobility, dignity of labour and moving away from vote bank politics to individual initiative is important.
    Reply
  6. G
    George
    Aug 15, 2016 at 2:44 am
    His party was bad but it did not support rioters and cow vigilantes and cultural police and Muslim bashers. The life expectancy of Indians at the time of Independence was 32 years; his party's rule saw it rise to 68 years today and in my state of Kerala it is 75 years. When Sri Lanka, stan, Bangladesh, Burma, Afghanistan and Nepal in the Indian subcontinent was gripped in one type of communalism or another, his govt saw to it that India remained secular and modern and free from obscurantists and rioters. But the right wing forces were working behind. The Congress became dynastic and corrupt. The obscurantists captured power. They want cows living like gods and people living in the cow sheds. The PM encouraged the obscurantists by stating that ancient India was the centre of plastic surgery and aeronautics.
    Reply
  7. V
    vkommi venkateswarlu
    Aug 15, 2016 at 3:22 am
    Fools remains in fools Paradise. Christian jokers have been enjoying all the benefits under Cong rule and more under Italy bar attender's UPA and can't tolerate majority elected BJP. U useless pig, go and beg in European countries or work as a bar attender in Italy
    Reply
  8. V
    vkommi venkateswarlu
    Aug 15, 2016 at 3:26 am
    Is he President or leader of opposition? Still majority of temple fund has been spent for Muslim haz travel and church improvements. Or not we tolerant? No point in talking such useless people
    Reply
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