Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday cautioned the nation against growing intolerance and hatred, propelled by certain groups, and called for active effort to build social harmony in the country.
Speaking at an event on Rajiv Gandhi’s 75th birth anniversary, the former Prime Minister said: “Another cause for solemn reflection today is some disturbing trends that our country has been witnessing over the past few years. These unpleasant trends of growing intolerance, communal polarisation, growing incidence of violent crimes propelled by hatred of certain groups, and of mobs taking the law in their own hands, can only damage our polity.”
Without naming any outfit or individual, Singh said: “They are repugnant to the promotion of peace, national integration and communal harmony, which are cherished objectives enshrined in our Constitution. All of us need to reflect on how we can contribute to arresting these trends.”
Asking for adherence to the value system established by great leaders, Singh quoted Rajiv as having said: “Nothing is more important than the unity and integrity of our nation. India is indivisible. Secularism is the bedrock of our nationhood. It implies more than tolerance. It involves an active effort for harmony. No religion preaches hatred and intolerance. Vested interests, both external and internal, are inciting and exploiting communal passions and violence to divide India.”
Recalling the former Prime Minister’s vision for the 21st century, Singh said: “While we continue to mourn his untimely loss, we derive strength from his endeavours and his achievements in a short time. He was the one who truly set the direction for equipping our nation for entering the new millennium with a progressive, modern and scientific outlook.
“Major strides in communication and information technology, in strengthening democracy at the grassroots level, in education, in ending the decades-old insurgency movement in Mizoram, in opening a fresh dialogue with China, in launching the technology missions, and in many other areas, have been the direct results of his vision and efforts and have given us today a firm platform to launch further initiatives for growth and development.”
On Rajiv Gandhi’s 75th birth anniversary, the Congress is recalling the former Prime Minister’s contribution to the nation to counter the false narrative of the absence of any achievements till Narendra Modi arrived in power.
The party has organised events across the country to recall how Rajiv set the stage for next-level development by triggering the telecom revolution and introducing computers, apart from social reforms such as local self-governance and bringing down the voting age to 18.
Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra expressed different shades of emotion while remembering their father. Rahul tweeted: “Today we celebrate the 75th birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi ji, a patriot & a visionary, whose far sighted policies helped build India. To me, he was a loving father who taught me never to hate, to forgive & to love all beings.”
Priyanka wrote: “From my father, I learned how to listen to people’s stories and find a place in my heart for them no matter how contrary to mine they might be. From him, I learned how to keep smiling and keep walking no matter how difficult the path might be.”