BIRBHUM, Oct 19 - Amidst a wave of rising intolerance, President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed serious apprehension over whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane in the country.
�Humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstances. Assimilation through receiving is a characteristic of Indian society. Our collective strength must be harnessed to resist evil powers in society,� Mukherjee said.
Addressing a gathering organised by Nayaprajanma, a local Weekly newspaper here, he expressed apprehension about �whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane?�
He reminded the audience of the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Jato Mat Tato Path. �As there are a number of beliefs, there are a number of ways�.
�Indian civilisation has survived for 5,000 years because of its tolerance. It has always accepted dissent and differences. A large number of languages, 1,600 dialects and 7 religions coexist in India. We have a Constitution that accommodates all these differences,� the President said.
The President�s strong words on the need to maintain pluralism and dissent in the society comes against the backdrop of a series of hate incidents, including in Mumbai, where BJP ally Shiv Sena forced cancellation of a music concert by Pakistani legend Ghulam Ali and talks between Indian and Pakistani cricket board chiefs and blackened the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni. � PTI