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HOUSE OF THE WEEK

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

"When Protests Become Endemic, We Are Flirting With Chaos":President Pranab Mukherjee

NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee today in his first public speech today warned that there will be chaos in the country if street protests become endemic.

In a veiled attack at anti-corruption movements of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, he said, "Anger against the bitter pandemic of corruption is legitimate, as is the protest against this plague that is eroding the capability and potential of our nation."

"There are time when people lose their patience but it cannot become an excuse for an assault on our democratic institutions," he added.

In a speech with distinct political overtones, the president said that constitutional institutions should not be derailed.

"Our institutions may have suffered from the weariness of time; the answer is not to destroy what has been built, but to re-engineer them so that they become stronger than before."

Mukherjee, who while in the cabinet dealt with both Team Anna and yoga guru Ramdev, went on: "When authority becomes authoritarian, democracy suffers; but when protests become endemic, we are flirting with chaos. Democracy is a shared process."

"We all win or lose together. Democratic temper calls for dignity of behaviour and tolerance of contrary views," he said in the nationally televised speech.

Mukherjee, who became India's 13th president in July, added he was not making these comments "in a spirit of admonition but as plea for greater understanding of the existential issues that lurk behind the mask of the mundane".

He also went on to say that the nation needs a second freedom struggle to ensure that India is free forever from hunger, disease and poverty.

"We need a second freedom struggle; this time to ensure that India is free forever from hunger, disease and poverty," the president said in his Independence Day eve address.

He said while education is the seed, economy is the fruit and if education is provided, hunger, disease and poverty will recede.

"We are a nation that is becoming younger both in age and spirit, this is an opportunity as well as a challenge. The young thirst for knowledge that will lift their skills; and for opportunity that will put India on the fast track to the first world. They have the character, they need the chance," he added.

Here is the text of President Pranab Mukherjee's speech on India's 66th Independence Day-eve:

My fellow citizens:

It is a great privilege to address, for the first time, my fellow Indians living within our country and in a hundred corners across the globe, on the 65th anniversary of our independence. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to the people and their representatives for the honour of this high office, even as I am deeply conscious of the fact that the highest honour in our democracy does not lie in any office, but in being a citizen of India, our motherland. We are all equal children before our mother; and India asks each one of us, in whatsoever role we play in the complex drama of nation-building, to do our duty with integrity, commitment and unflinching loyalty to the values enshrined in our Constitution.

It is important to remember, on Independence Day, that in the age of empires freedom was never given; it was taken. It was won by a generation of giants, led by a mighty man of destiny, Mahatma Gandhi, who fought with selfless, unflinching conviction against the mightiest power in history, with a moral force that transformed political thought and whose reverberations echo in great events all around us today. 

If the rise of European colonisation began in 18th century India, then the rallying cry of "Jai Hind!" also signalled its end in 1947. The final call to victory, "Jai Hind!" was given by Subhas Chandra Bose, fondly known to every Indian as "Netaji". Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu and many others charted the roadmap of independent India. These extraordinary men and women sacrificed their todays for our tomorrows. That tomorrow has come, and there is a question we must ask ourselves: have we honoured the great vision of these stalwarts, as a nation and as a society.


Edited By Cen Fox Post Team
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