24 July, New Delhi
President Pranab Mukherjee Monday said India’s soul resides in pluralism and tolerance and the nation derives strength from tolerance.
In his farewell address to the nation, the President said there are divergent strands in public discourse, but the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion cannot be denied.
Expressing concern over the increasing violence in society, he said public discourse should be free from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. He said only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of the people, especially the marginalized and the dispossessed, in the democratic process.
Mukherjee stressed on the importance of creating an inclusive society, saying that financial inclusion is at the core of an equitable society.
Stating that Mahatma Gandhi saw India as an inclusive nation where every section of the population lived in equality and enjoyed equal opportunity, Mukherjee said it must be ensured that fruits of government policies reach the poorest of the poor and the last person in the line.
Recalling his words on assuming the Office of the President, he said reordering of society is possible only through the transformative power of education for which higher institutions need to be upgraded to world-class levels. He said education system must accept disruption as a norm and prepare students to manage and build upon the disruptions.
He also said universities should not be a place for rote-memorizing but an
assembly of inquisitive minds.
Mukherjee pointed out that the quest for happiness is closely tied to the quest for sustainable development, which is the combination of human well-being, social inclusion and environmental stability.
He said eradication of poverty would provide a strong boost to happiness and a sustainable environment would prevent damage to the planetary resources. He said social inclusion would ensure access to the fruits of progress to all and good governance provide the ability to people to shape their own lives through transparent, accountable and participatory political institutions.
The President extended a warm welcome to his successor Ram Nath Kovind, and wished him success and happiness in the years to come.