NEW DELHI, Jan 25 � Asserting that religion cannot be made a cause of conflict, President Pranab Mukherjee today said �tolerance� and promotion of goodwill between diverse communities needs to be preserved with �utmost care and vigilance�, reports PTI.
In his address to the nation on the eve of the 66th Republic Day, the President quoted Mahatma Gandhi, �religion is a force for unity� and said, �we cannot make it a cause of conflict� as wisdom of India always teaches �unity is strength, dominance is weakness.�
He said the Constitution is the holy book of democracy and a �lodestar� for the socio-economic transformation of an India whose civilization has celebrated pluralism, advocated tolerance and promoted goodwill between diverse communities.
�These values, however, need to be preserved with utmost care and vigilance,� he said.
The comments of the President came at a time when some right wing parties have been sparking one controversy after another by raising issues like �ghar wapsi�, eulogising Nathuram Godse, pressing for having 10 kids for increasing Hindu population and some ministers making inappropriate comments about minorities.
The freedom inherent in democracy sometimes generates an unhappy by-product when political discourse becomes a �competition in hysteria that is abhorrent to our traditional ethos. The violence of the tongue cuts and wounds people�s hearts,� Mukherjee said.
On the issue of India being termed as a �soft power�, he said, �the most powerful example of India�s soft power, in an international environment where so many countries are sinking into the morass of theocratic violence, lies in our definition of the relationship between faith and polity.
�We have always reposed our trust in faith-equality where every faith is equal before the law and every culture blends into another to create a positive dynamic,� the President said.
Speaking about the menace of terrorism, Mukherjee made a veiled reference about Pakistan saying that the country�s �adversaries� will stop at nothing to disrupt India�s progress.