Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh
New Delhi: In his address to the nation on the eve of 68th Independence Day, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said intolerance and violence is a betrayal of the letter and spirit of democracy and slammed those who believe in the "poison drip of inflammatory provocation".
He referred to bigotry and noted that an increasingly turbulent international environment has sparked off rising dangers "in our region and beyond" and said, “Though an ancient civilisation, India is a modern nation with modern dreams. Intolerance and violence is a betrayal of the letter and spirit of democracy.”
“Those who believe in the poison drip of inflammatory provocation do not understand India`s values or even its present political impulses. Indians know that progress, economic or social, is difficult without peace," Mukherjee added, PTI reported.
The President noted that across parts of Asia and Africa, attempts are being made by radical militias to redraw the maps of nations to create a geography for theocratic ideology.
"India will feel the heat of blowback, particularly as it represents the values that reject extremism in all its manifestations. India is a beacon of democracy, equilibrium, inter-and-intra faith harmony,” he said.
"We must defend our secular fabric with vigour. Our security and foreign policies must combine the steel of strength with the velvet of diplomacy even as we persuade the like-minded as well as the hesitant to recognise the substantial dangers that breed within indifference", as per Mukherjee.
He also touched the issue of poverty saying the decisive challenge of our times is to end the curse of poverty.
Following are the highlights of President`s speech:
`Sidhir Bhavati Karmaja`, means, `success is born of action`. Now is the time for action.
India is a very young nation at 68. India has the will, energy, intellect, values and unity to claim the 21st century.
Should not Parliament again become the great hall of sombre thought and well-debated legislation?
Has our democracy become too noisy? Have we lost the art of contemplating and silent thinking?
Is it not time to restore grandeur and glory of our institutions that have sustained and nourished our beautiful democracy?
While some new institutions might become necessary, the real solution lies in re-inventing and restoring the existing ones to serve the purpose of effective government.
With the passage of time and changes in the eco-system, distortions do appear making some institutions dysfunctional. When one institution does not function in the manner expected of it, phenomenon of overreach sets in.
Every road, path, office, home, hut, river, stream and every particle in air can be kept clean, if we but cared just a little.
Clean environment breeds clean thoughts. The PM`s call to make clean India by 2019 for 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhis commendable. We must nurture nature so it continues to nurture us.
It is the duty of education institutions to provide quality education and inculcate core civilizational values of love for motherland.
By the end of the Twelfth Five Year Plan, we would have achieved a literacy rate of eighty percent.
Sound education system is the bedrock of a enlightened society.
Education should inculcate love for all, respect for women. Would we be able to say that we have provided quality education and skills to our children to be good citizens and successful professionals?
It is essential to ensure the availability of adequate resources for equitable development.
The stage is now set for our economy to move to a high growth trajectory of 7 to 8 percent.
Though growth rate was subdued at below 5 percent during the last two years, I sense renewed vigour and optimism in the air.
Employment has increased by an average of about 4 percent per year in the last decade. Manufacturing sector is on the rebound.
Food prices are still matter of concern. Record food grains production last year helped agriculture sector to grow at healthy 4.7 percent.
The decisive challenge is to end poverty. We have to move towards poverty alleviation to elimination of poverty.
Poverty is not a mere statistic, it is a face that becomes unbearable.
In last six decades, the poverty ratio has declined from over 60 percent to less than 30 percent. Even then, nearly one-third of our population still lives below the poverty line.
India will feel the heat of blow-back, particularly as it represents the values that reject extremism in all its manifestations. India is a beacon of democracy, equilibrium, inter-and-intra faith harmony. Must defend secular fabric with vigour.
Attempts are being made by militias to create theocratic nations.
Those who believe in the poison drip of inflammatory provocation do not understand India`s values or even its present political impulses. Indians know that progress, economic or social, is difficult without peace.
Though an ancient civilisation, India is a modern nation with modern dreams. Intolerance and violence is a betrayal of the letter and spirit of democracy.
Compassion for all and self-restraint is imperative.
A country as diverse as ours calls for culture specific governance. It calls for constructive partnership between state and people.
Good governance is dependent on rule of law, participatory decision-making, transparency, accountability, equity and inclusiveness.
The people come first.
India demands creative thinking in development.
The nation has to be placed before parties and differences.
After three decades, a clear majority to a single party and increase in voter turnout shows the vitality of our democracy.
Freedom is a celebration, Independence is a challenge.
With PTI inputs