Pranab Mukherjee speaks on nation, nationalism and patriotism at RSS event



Nagpur: Former President Pranab Mukherjee did not disappoint the nation. Presiding over an RSS event, he warned that any attempt to define India through “religion, dogma or intolerance” will only dilute the national identity. Also, he warned against narrow and parochial definitions of nationhood — such as religion and region.

As RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat played the benign host, the former president dwelt on the difference between the concept of “utopian nation-state” and Indian nationalism — which he said emanates from “universalism”. He also underscore that ‘‘our national identity has emerged from a long-drawn process of confluence, assimilation and co-existence,” Mukherjee said in Nagpur. It is this multiplicity “in culture, faith and language” that makes India special, he said. “We derive our strength from tolerance. We accept and respect our pluralism. We celebrate our diversity. They have been a part of our collective consciousness for centuries.”

Mukherjee did not once name the RSS but quoted from Nehru’s ‘Discovery of India’: “I am convinced that nationalism can only come out of the ideological fusion of Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and other groups in India.” He had a message for the nation and the RSS: “We must free our public discourse from all kinds of fear and violence.”


Before the former president spoke, Bhagwat said the debate over Mukherjee’s decision to attend the RSS event was “meaningless” and no one is an outsider for his organisation. Speaking ahead of Mukherjee’s speech, Bhagwat said Mukherjee will remain what he is and the Sangh will remain the Sangh, even after the event. Bhagwat also said his organisation wants to unify the entire society and no one was an outsider. People may have different views but they are all children of mother India, he said. Mukherjee’s decision to preside over the RSS event has already triggered a major political slugfest with several Congress leaders criticising his decision. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel expressed his disapproval in a tweet and said he did not expect this from him.

SANGH IS SANGH AND PRANAB IS PRANAB

GREAT SON OF INDIA

“Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India,” Pranab Mukherjee’s message in RSS visitor’s book.

DEFINING INDIA

Any attempt to define India through “religion, dogma or intolerance” will only dilute the national identity.

ON NATIONALISM

Indian nationalism emanates from “universalism”.

Nationalism can only come out of ideological fusion of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and other groups

ON CULT OF VIOLENCE

We must free our public discourse from all kinds of fear and violence.

BHAGWAT ON INDIAN TRADITION

‘‘Exchanging views is part of India’s tradition. Sangh invited Pranab da and he accepted. That is Indian tradition.”

ON NEEDLESS DEBATE

“The Sangh is the Sangh and Dr Pranab Mukherjee is and will remain Dr Pranab Mukherjee”

STATE’S RAJDHARMA

In the happiness of the people lies the happiness of the king, their welfare is his welfare.

CONSTITUTIONAL PATRIOTISM

From our Constitution flows our nationalism.

The construct of Indian nationalism is constitutional patriotism




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