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'Not Saying Everybody Should Support Govt': At National Film Awards, Venkaiah Naidu's Wise Words on Dissent

The vice president said cinema should also work towards promoting regional languages as Indian languages.


Updated:December 23, 2019, 7:25 PM IST
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'Not Saying Everybody Should Support Govt': At National Film Awards, Venkaiah Naidu's Wise Words on Dissent
File photo of Vice President Venakaiah Naidu. (PTI)

New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday described dissent as the essence of democracy and appealed to people to not be destructive or obstructive but think in terms of being constructive.

Addressing a gathering after presenting the National Film Awards here, Naidu said violence has no place in a democracy and the nation must rise as one to condemn and prevent atrocities such as rape. He also cautioned against "instant justice".

"People should not get into destruction or obstruction. Everybody should think in terms of construction. I am not saying everybody should support the government, no need. Dissent is the essence of democracy," he said.

Cinema could act as an instrument of social change and filmmakers should strive to make movies that reflect India's culture and ethos, he said. "Irrespective of caste, creed or religion, India is one. Simply saying 'Vande Mataram' or 'Jai Hind' or 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' will not suffice. It should be the 'Jai Ho' of every person living in India - forward or backward, Muslim or Christian or Hindu, believer or non-believer.

"They should feel they are equal partners in the development of the country in every sphere. That's real 'Jai Hind'... A slogan alone will not help."

Cinema has a great role in influencing the minds of the people, Naidu said while speaking on the issue of violence against women. "We are seeing unfortunate and atrocious things happening against women here and there. We have seen the Nirbhaya case also, unfortunately," he said, referring to the December 16, 2012 rape and murder of a physiotherapy intern in Delhi.

"The nation must rise in one voice to not only condemn such atrocities but also act with determination to prevent them. The mindset has to change," he added.

Parents, media and the movies have a huge role to play in inculcating the right values and attitude among children, he said. "Some people say that courts should do what happened in one of our states recently. You cannot give instant justice... Like every right-minded citizen, I was also disturbed by the incidents of rape in the country and also by the incidents of violence in some parts of the country," the vice president said.

On December 6, four men, arrested for allegedly raping and killing a woman by smothering her and later burning her body, were gunned down in a police 'encounter' near Hyderabad, an incident that grabbed headlines nationwide.

"Cinema should also help in strengthening family systems and promoting democratic governance. As a matter of fact, the cinema industry should not do anything that weakens the culture, traditions, values and ethos of Indian civilisation.

"Indian films carry an important message to audiences across the world. They convey an important glimpse of Indianness' or Bharatiyata' to the outside world. We need to be effective ambassadors in the world of cultural diplomacy," Naidu said.

Citing the recent spate of incidents of violence against women, he said women for centuries have been treated as a mother-figure. "It is not solely the government's responsibility but society's, including cinema, too to come forward to promote and depict women in a respectable manner."

Art, he said, speaks a universal language that reaches the hearts and minds of people, influencing behaviour and altering perceptions. "It can incite people and excite passions or calm ruffled nerves and provide solace to troubled minds. It can make us laugh wholeheartedly and shed tears copiously. Art doesn't merely copy what happens within society but also imagines the future and indirectly shapes a society," he added.

According to the vice president, films have the ability to bring about an attitudinal change in the society.

The vice president said cinema should also work towards promoting regional languages as Indian languages. "Our cultural richness is there in our regional languages. Nothing is regional. They all are Indian languages. That's why we have all these awards for different languages. Language and culture go together. Our mother tongue is like our eyesight and the other language is spectacles. It is the duty of the society, which includes cinema, that we must protect our regional languages."

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