Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In what can be seen as a possible jibe at the political chaos in Delhi, President Pranab Mukherjee in his address to the nation ahead of the Republic Day said that the country has descended into a `noisy democracy.`
In his address on Saturday, he said, “The government sometimes becomes a noisy democracy." But also added that a `populist anarchy cannot be a substitute for governance`.
He said the turbulent times were a resultant of the political rut the country finds itself in, and said, “Corruption is a cancer that erodes democracy. If Indians are enraged it is because they are witnessing waste of resources.”
Perhaps in a sense of foreboding in the election year, he warned the voters that a fractured government could be "catastrophic" for India as the nation (and the government) will then be held at ransom by "whimsical opportunists."
In a worried tone he said that the democracy was in a chaos, and laying emphasis on the elections ahead said there was a chance for every voter to guide into out of the negativity.
The President said he was not a cynic because he knew that democracy has a marvellous ability to self-correct.
"It is the physician that heals itself and 2014 must become a year of healing after the fractured and contentious politics of the last few years," he said.
The year 2014 was a "precipice moment" for the nation had the chance to re-discover a sense of national purpose and patriotism.
"1950 saw the birth of our Republic. I am sure that 2014 will be the year of resurgence."
He said the youth should be given jobs and they would raise villages and cities to 21st century standards.
"Give them a chance and you will marvel at the India they create. This chance will not come if India does not get a stable government.
"A fractured government, hostage to whimsical opportunists, is always an unhappy eventuality. In 2014, it could be catastrophic. Each one of us is a voter; each one of us has a deep responsibility; we cannot let India down. It is time for introspection and action," he warned.
"Each one of us is a voter; each one of us has a deep responsibility; we cannot let India down. It is time for introspection and action," the President said.
Talking about the turbulent situation in South Asia where terrorism and communal forces never cease to spare a chance to disturb region`s peace, but the said the nation`s armed forces are more than adept to crush any such ulterior motive.
"Communal forces and terrorists will still seek to destabilise the harmony of our people and the integrity of our state but they will never win.
"Our security and armed forces, backed by the steel of popular support, have proved that they can crush an enemy within; with as much felicity as they guard our frontiers. Mavericks who question the integrity of our armed services are irresponsible and should find no place in public life," the President said.
He said that the time was ripe for resurgence and reigniting our tradition of ideas exchange, philosophy, intellect, that has stagnated of late.
"Destiny has given us another opportunity to recover what we have lost; we will have no one to blame but ourselves if we falter," he said.
On democracy, Mukherjee said "some cynics may scoff at our commitment to democracy but our democracy has never been betrayed by the people; its fault-lines, where they exist, are the handiwork of those who have made power a gateway to greed.
"We do feel angry, and rightly so, when we see democratic institutions being weakened by complacency and incompetence. If we hear sometimes an anthem of despair from the street, it is because people feel that a sacred trust is being violated."
The President said that democratic rights were not a privilege but a necessity and anyone violating others` rights was committing a crime against the nation.
"...For those in power democracy is a sacred trust. Those who violate this trust commit sacrilege against the nation," he said.
Speaking about the economic health of the country, the President said the slowdown of economy in the last two years can be some cause of concern but none for despair.
"The green shoots of revival are already visible. The agricultural growth in the first half of this year has touched 3.6 per cent and rural economy is buoyant," he said.
He said that there was space for argument in a democratic set-up, but the country of late India has grown into a `sometimes noisy democracy.`
Arguments were necessary, he said, and added, "This is welcome, for we solve problems through discussion and consent, not force. But healthy differences of opinion must not lead to an unhealthy strife within our polity," he said.
Reflecting upon present times he said that the country must churn out answers from the questions that had emerged in the recent past.
"To do otherwise would be to condemn our nation to the misery of a stagnant mire. But we should not indulge in the easy option of mindless imitation, for that can lead us to a garden of weeds."
Mukherjee said India has now got to focus on enhancing the quality of education being imparted in its institutions and recalled ancient seats of learning and their excellence.
"We can be world leaders in education, if only we discover the will and leadership to take us to that pinnacle," he said.
He called for an educational revolution, and said "education is no longer just the privilege of the elite, but a universal right. It is the seed of a nation`s destiny."
(With PTI Inputs)