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Pranab Mukherjee at RSS HQ LIVE: Indian Nationalism is Not One Nation, Language, Religion, Says Former Prez

News18.com | June 7, 2018, 9:55 PM IST
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Pranab Mukherjee addressed RSS cadres at the outfit’s headquarters in Nagpur, explaining to them the meaning of nationalism and patriotism. He told them that India derives its strength from tolerance, and any intolerance would only end up eroding our national identity. "Any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of dogmas and identities of religion, region, hatred and intolerance will only lead to dilution of our national identity," he said. India’s national identity emerged from a long-drawn process of confluence and co-existence, he said, adding that the concept of modern India was not bound by race or religion. He also urged the RSS trainees to strive for harmony. “Indian nationalism is not exclusive nor aggressive nor destructive. Every time a woman and child is hurt, the soul of India is wounded,” he said. His speech here had been a subject a much debate, giving rise to speculation whether it would be a rebuke to or an endorsement of the right wing outfit. Several Congress leaders, including his daughter, were dismayed by his decision to attend the event. But RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who gave a speech before the former President, said the controversy over the visit was meaningless. He said that the Sangh only wants to unite the entire society. "We embrace all, we are not just for one section. RSS believes in unity in diversity," he said. Mukherjee also made an impromptu stop at Sangh founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar’s birth place in the evening.

Stay tuned as Aditya Nair brings you live updates:
Jun 7, 2018 9:25 pm (IST)

"Shri Mukherjee also reminded the present Modi Government of following ‘Rajdharma’, founded upon our diversity, non-violence, multiculturalism and assimilation of ideas. He particularly reminded the Prime Minister that ‘Happiness of people is the happiness of ruler, their welfare is his welfare’. Indicating the unchecked exercise of authority and attack on institutions in the garb of a self-professed definition of ‘Pseudo Nationalism’, he reminded the RSS as also the Prime Minister that, ‘Indian Nationalism is Constitutional patriotism'," says Surjewala.

Jun 7, 2018 9:19 pm (IST)

The Congress is holding a press conference after former president and party leader Pranab Mukherjee's speech at an RSS event in Nagpur. "Pranab Mukherjee has shown a mirror of Indian pluralism's truth to the RSS. He has reminded the RSS of the history of India. He taught the RSS that India's beauty lies in its tolerance for different ideas, religions and languages. Is RSS ready to admit its mistakes and ready to adapt India's pluralism, secularism and diversity? Will RSS give up its prejudice towards women and marginalised? Will it give up its inherent character of subjugation and violence?," says Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

Jun 7, 2018 8:54 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | 'RSS for Dummies': Congress Tweet on Day of Pranab Mukherjee's Address to Sangh Cadre

In a tweet that carried a video titled 'RSS for Dummies', just when TV channels were telecasting the innauguration of RSS'

Jun 7, 2018 8:45 pm (IST)

"People are at the centre of all activities of the State and nothing should be done to divide them. The aim of the State should be to galvanise them to fight a concerted war against poverty, disease and deprivation. Only then can we create a nation where Nationalism flows automatically,” Pranab Mukherjee had said.

Jun 7, 2018 8:43 pm (IST)

In his speech, Pranab Mukherjee urged RSS trainees "who are young and disciplined, to please strive for harmony". “India is emerging as the fastest growing economy, but we lack far behind happiness index… Every time a woman & child is hurt, the soul of India is wounded,” the former president said.

Jun 7, 2018 8:41 pm (IST)

One of the paras from Pranab Mukherjee's speech at the RSS event in Nagpur:

Jun 7, 2018 8:40 pm (IST)

"Many languages and religion under come under one flag. Every day, we see increased violence around us. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence — physical or verbal. We must move away from anger and violence to peace, harmony and happiness. I am addressing the trainees, you are young and highly trained. Please pray for peace. Our motherland is asking for that and needs that. Every time a woman and child is hurt, the soul of India is wounded. While we have done well in many macro-economic areas. But we have not fared well in the World Happiness Index. We rank 133rd. When we go to Parliament, just above the lift in gate number 6, there is a quote by Kautilya, 'In the happiness of the people lies in the happiness of the king. Their welfare is the king's welfare.' Kautilya placed people at the Centre even before India's constitution was laid down. As Gandhi ji said, 'Indian nationalism was not exclusive, aggressive or destructive'," says Pranab Mukherjee as he ends his speech at the RSS Tritiya Varsh valedictory event in Nagpur.

Jun 7, 2018 8:34 pm (IST)

When I close my eyes I dream of India from one end to another. From Tripura to Dwarka, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. It mesmerizes me. Countless religions, dialects, races and castes under one constitution. That is what makes Indian. 122 languages, 1600 dialects, 7 major religions, 3 major ethnic groups live under our system. Under one constitution, one identity that we call Bharatiya. This is what makes Bharat diverse. Dialogue is necessary in public discourse. We cannot deny the multiplicity of opinion. We can only solve complex problems through dialogue," says Pranab Mukherjee:

Jun 7, 2018 8:30 pm (IST)

I want to share my thoughts that I have perceived in the last 50 years. The soul of India lies in its pluralism. Secularism and our composite nature makes us India. Secularism is a matter of faith for me and should be for us. It is a composite culture that makes our country," says Pranab Mukherjee.

Jun 7, 2018 8:28 pm (IST)

"As Gandhi ji explained, Indian nationalism was not exclusive, was not destructive. Pandit Nehru said, Indian nationalism only comes from a congregation of Hindus, Muslims and all other religions. Indian nationalism was and is above political, religion and regional inclination. This was the case before Independence and remains to be the truth even today. For us democracy is not a gift but a sacred task. Our constitution is a responsibility. Thanks to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel helped merge princely states into India. Nationalism means fusion of all religions. Multiple cultures makes us a special nation," says Pranab Mukherjee.

Jun 7, 2018 8:25 pm (IST)

"The concept of a modern Indian state, transcribed by thinkers and ideologies has provided India with a permanent edge. "A nation in the making" conceptualises the Indian state. Our national identity emerged from a long-drawn process of confluence and co-existence. The concept of modern India was articulated from various Indian leaders, it was not bound by race or religion," says Pranab Mukherjee.

Jun 7, 2018 8:24 pm (IST)

The veteran Congress leader said that any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of identities or religion, region, hatred and intolerance will only lead to dilution of our identity. “We must celebrate our diversity,” Pranab asserted.

Jun 7, 2018 8:22 pm (IST)

"If we have a quick look at the history, the emergence of Indian state can be traced back to the sixth century BC. For 600 years, there was Muslim rule in India, which was taken over by the East India company. A mercantile company took over the reigns of India. After the first war of Independence, India was transferred to the estate of the Queen. However, one thing needs to be kept in mind, even after so many rulers the 5000-year-old continuity of the civilisation remained," says Pranab Mukherjee.

Jun 7, 2018 8:20 pm (IST)

"Hatred leads to dilution of Nationalism. Intolerance will only dilute our national identity. Many dynasties, powerful kingdoms ruled India in Northern and Southern parts. Our national identity has emerged after a long drawn process of confluence and assimilation, the multiple cultures and faiths make us special and tolerant," says Pranab Mukherjee.

Jun 7, 2018 8:17 pm (IST)

"For almost 1,800 years, several universities attracted students from all over the world. Indian nationalism emanated from universalism, we see the whole world as one family. India derives its strength from tolerance. We believe in collective conscience for centuries. Intolerance will only dilute our national identity. We celebrate our diversity. Any attempt to define our nation through religion, dogma or intolerance will only fade our existence," says Pranab Mukherjee.

Jun 7, 2018 8:14 pm (IST)

"Today, I am here to share my understanding of nationalism, patriotism in context of India. Nationalism is identification with one's own nation. It is devotion to and for one’s own country. India was an open society and globally connected along the Silk Route. Merchants and conqurers came to India. Many ancient travellers came to India and gave their account. Various foreign travellers, who came to India centuries ago, said India had an efficient administration and great education system," says Pranab Mukherjee.

Jun 7, 2018 8:11 pm (IST)

Former president Pranab Mukherjee begins his address at RSS' Tritiya Varsh valedictory event in Nagpur. He begins by saying that he is going to talk about Nationalism and patriotism in the context of India:

Jun 7, 2018 8:09 pm (IST)

"Everyone has a different view just like Upanishads and that is the way forward. Anyone can come to the Sangh and have their opinion. We have our ideology and invite like-minded people to come join the Sangh," says Mohan Bhagwat as he ends his speech.

Jun 7, 2018 8:05 pm (IST)

"We want to unite all ideologies together. We want the Republic of India to outshine all other nations. RSS is playing its part in making the citizens of India worth their country. This should be taken up by all citizens. RSS is not against different ideologies, we have no reservation co-existing with a different ideology. Power needs to be driven from ethics," says Mohan Bhagwat

Jun 7, 2018 8:04 pm (IST)

VVIP attendees of the RSS Tritiya Varsh valedictory event:

Jun 7, 2018 8:02 pm (IST)

"Education's role should be for welfare of people. Knowledge is the force which can unite India. RSS was founded in 1925 and grew despite so many obstacles. RSS is very popular, we get love and affection from the society. We are a large organisation today but we cannot stop here. We are not working for popularity. We are not doing this work for fame, we want to move forward at all times. We don't want to rest," says Mohan Bhagwat.

Jun 7, 2018 7:58 pm (IST)

"No matter what our ideology, language or religion, RSS believes in welfare of the society. We have no dearth of examples of good thoughts in India. However, we lack people who can sacrifice their life for the nation. Things are now improving, RSS' goal is to bridge that gap and it has taken up the responsibility to identify such people. One can only work when they have power, and that comes from staying united. There is strength only in unity," says Mohan Bhagwat.

Jun 7, 2018 7:53 pm (IST)

"All of us are the same. Some do not agree. Some realise and agree. However, there are some who agree but think that the country will be degraded if people associate with RSS. RSS founder KB Hedgewar also went to jail during the Congress' agitation during the freedom movement. We are all children of Mother India. We all have one ancestor. We must have a democratic mind," says Mohan Bhagwat:

Jun 7, 2018 7:48 pm (IST)

"Everybody has the right to a political opinion but there is a limit to an opposing view. We should realise that we are working for the betterment of the same country but some groups have more motives than just debating. Governments can do a lot but not everything. We need to take up the role individually as well. Only then can the nation change. Even before independence, everybody agreed that we need to work together for the nation. Political differences are now dividing us. The nation's future depends on common citizens. Only when citizens are willing to set aside their aspirations can a nation change for good," says Mohan Bhagwat.

Jun 7, 2018 7:47 pm (IST)

"India had great natural resources and so India never needed to fight anyone for living. India accommodated everyone from outside. Several great minds laid down their lives for this country. There are times when we had our differences but we are all sons of the same soil — India. Diversity should be accepted, it's good. We are all one, even in this diversity. Government alone cannot do everything, citizens also have to contribute. Only then can a country change," says Mohan Bhagwat.

Jun 7, 2018 7:44 pm (IST)

"The Sangh only wants to unite the entire society. We embrace all, we are not just for one section. RSS believes in unity in diversity. Every citizen born in India is an Indian. It is his right to worship our motherland. There have been many debates about Pranab Mukjherjee attending the event but we do not consider anyone different from ourselves. We Indians are one and united," says Mohan Bhagwat.

Jun 7, 2018 7:41 pm (IST)

"There has been a tradition that we invite well-known people from various walks of life for our Tritiya Varsh event. We are only following this tradition. There is no meaning to this discussion that has happened this time. Everyone in this country knows the personality of Pranab Mukherjee, we are grateful that we are able to learn something from him. How Pranab was called and how he is coming is not a matter of debate. Sangh in Sangh, Pranab is Pranab," says Mohan Bhagwat.

Jun 7, 2018 7:38 pm (IST)

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is addressing the cadre before former president Pranab Mukherjee is set to speak. In his opening statement, Bhagwat is talking about how the RSS has always called on eminent personalities for their 'graduation' ceremony. 

Jun 7, 2018 7:26 pm (IST)

The parade by RSS cadres is now over. An RSS official is now introducing the visitors and dignitaries present at the event. Former president Pranab Mukherjee, who is the chief guest at the event, is set to begin his address soon. 

Jun 7, 2018 7:24 pm (IST)

The Sangh, which describes itself as a nationalist and cultural organisation rather than a political or religious one, was founded by KB Hedgewar, known as Doctorji, on September 27, 1925, on Vijayadashami day at his house. The name 'Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh' was selected for the organisation on April 17, 1926, from a list of four names — Jaripatka Mandal, Bharat Uddharak Mandal, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

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