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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 19.10.2015

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee today (October 19, 2015) expressed apprehension about whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane while addressing a gathering in Birbhum district of West Bengal during a function organized by Nayaprajanma, a local weekly newspaper and Suri Sabujer Abhijan, a cultural organization.

The President reminded the audience of the teachings of Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa ‘Jato Mat Tato Path’ "As there are a number of beliefs, there are a number of ways".He said humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstance. Assimilation through receiving is a characteristic of Indian society. Our collective strength must to be harnessed to resist evil powers in society.

The President said Indian civilization has survived for 5000 years because of its tolerance. It has always accepted dissent and differences. A large number of languages, 1600 dialects and 7 religions coexist in India. We have a Constitution that accommodates all these differences.

On the eve of the auspicious Durga Puja celebrations, the President greeted the people and expressed the hope that Mahamaya - the combination of all positive forces would eliminate the Asuras or divisive forces.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Kanchan Sarkar, Editor of Nayaprajanma appreciated the role of Shri Pranab Mukherjee in furthering basic values of the nation. Shri Jogen Chowdhury, Member of Parliament and noted artist recalled his days in Rashtrapati Bhavan and elaborated on the activities of the present incumbent, particularly, in expanding the horizons of art and culture in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Thousands of people, including many eminent personalities and different cross sections of society attended the felicitation ceremony.

This release issued at 1900 hrs.