New Delhi, Oct 7 (PTI) The core civilisational values of diversity, tolerance and plurality have kept India united for centuries and they cannot be wasted, President Pranab Mukherjee said today in remarks that come against the backdrop of the Dadri lynching over rumours of beef eating.
"I firmly believe that we cannot allow the core values of our civilisation to be wasted and the core values is what over the years the civilisation celebrated diversity, promoted and advocated tolerance, endurance and plurality.
"These core civilisation values keep us together over centuries. Many ancient civilisations have fallen. But despite aggression after aggression, long foreign rule, India's civilisation has survived because of its core civilisational values and adherence to them. We must keep that in mind. And if we keep those core values in mind, nothing can prevent our democracy from moving on," he said.
Mukherjee's remarks at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan after Home Minister Rajnath Singh had described the President as a symbol of Indianness and nationalism. He also reflects the broadmindedness of Indian culture, Singh said.
The President s statement comes in the wake of lynching of a 50-year-old man in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, by an enraged mob over rumours that he stored and consumed beef, which has sparked an outrage across the country.
At the function, the President was handed over a coffee-table book "The Nationalist President--Pranab Mukherjee" written by Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director of New Indian Express, which was released by Vice President Hamid Ansari.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and MPs were also present at the function.
In his brief 15-minute address, Mukherjee said being a political leader all along he felt shy speaking on such an occasion where a book on him was written.
He said the country has made tremendous progress in many sectors and there is no limit to doing more. "There is no limit. We will have to do much more," he said.
Mukherjee said that there is no end to work in the President's office which is considered strictly Constitutional and recalled how his colleagues had jokingly commented when he was elected that he would not have anything much to do in the post
"I, in my own way, am making my contribution to make the country more important... After three years of coming here, I recognise that much work is to be done. There is no end to working in the President's office, which is considered strictly Constitutional," he said.