Our Constitution accommodates differences: Pranab

Are tolerance and acceptance of dissent on the wane, asks President.

In the wake of growing instances of communal intolerance in the country, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday expressed his apprehension, asking if tolerance and acceptance of dissent are “on the wane.” The President said the Indian civilisation had survived for 5,000 years chiefly because of its tolerance and by accepting dissent and difference.

“A large number of languages, 1,600 dialects and seven religions coexist in India,” the President said and added: “We have a Constitution that accommodates all these differences.”

Mr. Mukherjee was addressing a programme organised by Nayaprajanma, a local weekly newspaper, and Suri Sabujer Abhijan, a cultural organisation, in Birbhum district of West Bengal.

Reminding the audience of the teachings of the 19th Century mystic of Bengal, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, ‘Jato Mat Tato Path’ (as many ways, as beliefs), the President said “humanism and pluralism should never be abandoned.” He pointed out that assimilation by receiving thoughts was one of the key characteristics of the Indian society and added that the “collective strength” of the people had to be harnessed to resist evil powers in the society, a release said.