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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 21.09.2013

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee described inter-religions and communal violence as "insanity” and made an anguished and fervent appeal for collective efforts to spread the message of peace, harmony and non-violence.

The President was speaking during the launch of an "All India Ahimsa Parmo Dharma Awareness Campaign” on the occasion of International Peace Day (September 21, 2013), at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of leaders belonging to various religions.

The President said the all India, all faith campaign aimed at creating a violence-free society was opportune and appropriate. Non-violence and peace is a primary teaching of our civilization. No religion preaches violence. Every religion speaks of love, compassion and service. India is a five thousand old civilization where Lord Buddha and Bhagwan Mahavira preached non-violence. India has always accommodated all faiths, beliefs, religious practices and customs. A country which cannot protect and honour its mothers, sisters and daughters cannot consider itself civilized. Inter religious and communal violence is insanity manifested and we must urgently bring sanity back into our midst.

It is high time we re-set our moral compass. With every act of violence, we are crucifying Jesus Christ again and again. With each act of violence, we are repeating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. A few individuals alone cannot be blamed for the violence in our society. Our general apathy and tolerance of violence is an equal culprit. Our inaction has created an atmosphere where violence begets violence.

The President said history remembers advocates of peace and non violence more than conquerors and rulers. Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha changed the course of civilization. Their teachings have been followed by millions of people for centuries. Timurlane, Ghenghiz Khan and Nazis have been only footnotes of history. Ashoka’s period in our history has been described as the "brightest interlude in the troubled history of mankind” because he turned from Chanda Ashoka to Dhamma Ashoka. Let us not forget the teachings of history. Nothing can be achieved by violence. Everything can be gained through love and compassion. No religion condones violence. It is a complete perversion to spread violence in the name of religion.

The President said time has come to say enough is enough. Humanity cannot tolerate this any more. We must save humanity and civilization. This cannot be done by Parliament or law enforcement machinery alone. It has to be achieved through a collective effort of society at large.

Praising the inter-faith initiative, the President thanked the Braham Kumaris and their partner organizations for coming together in an exemplary fashion. He said as they take up a series of programmes and activities, he has no doubt that they will motivate others to join them in spreading the message of ahimsa.

Different religious leaders who spoke on the occasion included Dadi Janki, the 97 year old Chief of the Brahma Kumaris; Dr. A.K. Merchant, National Trustee, Baha’I Community of India; Father Dominic Emmanuel, Director (Communications), Delhi Catholic Archdiocese; Rev. Ejaz Ahmed Aslam, Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind; Ven. R. Sumiththananda Thero, Bhikku-in-Charge, Maha Bodhi Society of India; Shri Vrajendra Nandan Das, Vice President, ISKCON and Rev. E. Issac Malekar, Head Priest (Rabbi), Judah Hyam Synagogue. All the leaders called for harmony amongst different communities and reiterated that all religions stand for peace and non violence.

This release issued at 1455 hrs