Kolkata: With recent incidents of brutal sexual assaults on women and children clearly weighing heavily on his mind, President Pranab Mukherjee on on Sunday said there was a need to reset the "moral compass" of the nation.
Mukherjee was addressing a gathering at the Jadavpur University where he launched the Bichitra Tagore Online Variorum, a digital collection of the works of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in English and Bengali.
The website has been developed as part of the celebrations to commemorate the 150 birth anniversary of Tagore.
Mukherjee wondered where he would have been had he access to such facilities as a student.
"When I look I try to find where is our moral compass from the days of the dawn of civilisation we learn that mothers are to be respected by all," he said.
Observing that dignity of a woman inviolable, Mukherjee asked the audience, "can we raise our head high when we look around ourselves?"
"It is high time for us .... Let us have the high moral ground, and as Tagore said, `Let us reset our moral compass,`" Mukherjee said.
The course of civilisation has never been determined by any mighty emperor, by sword and gun, it has been determined by persons of ideas, vision, love, and compassion, he said.
"The course of contemporary history is not going to be determined by brown shirt of Hitler, black shirt of Mussolini and red shirt of Stalin, but by a man with no shirt -- Mahatma Gandhi," Mukherjee said.