Nationalism is the constitutional patriotism, says Pranab at RSS HQ
Nagpur: Sharing his understanding and concepts of nationalism, former President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said that nationalism is the constitutional patriotism.
Speaking at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh headquarters here, he asserted that hatred and intolerance leads to dilution of nationalism.
"Nation is defined as a large group of people sharing same language, heritage. Nationalism is defined as identifying oneself with one's own nation. Patriotism is defined as devotion to one's own country, said Pranab at RSS's Tritiya Varsh event.
After paying floral tributes to the RSS founder KB Hedgewar here, whom he called the great son of Bharat Mata, he said, "Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India."
Pranab Mukherjee said that any attempt to define our nation through religion, dogma or intolerance will only fade our existence.
Pranab Mukherjee gave a brief history of India till the East India Company's arrival in India and also spoke about how the company grew in India. "Each conqueror of India was absorbed to form a new unity in the country," Pranab quoted a passage by Rabindranath Tagore.
Thanking Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, he said that it was because of him princely states merged into India. Former President admitted that democracy is not a gift but a sacred task for us.
"We may argue, we may agree, we may not agree but we cannot deny the multiplicity of opinion. Only through dialogue can we get solutions to complex problems," said Pranab.
He said that Gandhi ji explained that Indian nationalism was not exclusive, was not destructive while Pandit Nehru said, Indian nationalism only comes from a congregation of Hindus, Muslims and all other religions.
What else Pranab Mukherjee said?
- I am here amidst you to share my understanding, the concepts of nationalism in the context of India.
- We see the whole world as one whole family and pray for the goodwill and happiness of all.
- India was a nation state long before the first European nation state.
- The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special.
- Hatred and intolerance leads to dilution of nationalism.
- We accept and respect our pluralism and celebrate our diversity.
- Pluralism must be celebrated.
- Everyday we see violence around us. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence. We must move from anger and violence, to peace and harmony.
- There is macroeconmic growth but India ranks low on happiness index.
Thanking Pranab Mukherjee's move of accepting RSS's invitation,A�Mohan Bhagwat said, "Sangh is honoured to get the guidance of Pranab".
Clearing the air, Bhagwat said that this is an annual event and debates around it why and how we invited Pranab Mukherjee are needless. He said that RSS founder participated in various activities, including Congress agitations during freedom movement.
Urging political parties to unite for change, he said, "even before independence, everyone agreed that we need to work together for the nation but political differences are now dividing us."
"Everybody has the right to have a political opinion but there is a limit to have opposing opinion. We should realise that we are working for the betterment of the same country," he added.
What else Mohan Bhagwat said?
- India has a history of tolerance.
- RSS is not limited to just Hindus and is for all Indians.
- Every Indian worships motherland.
- We want to unite all the societies.
- Citizens must unite for change.
- Pranab won't change after the event.
- Diversity is India's biggest strength.
- Hedgewar went to jail as Congress man.
- Congress workers also worked with us.
- Not everything can be blamed on government.
- Indians have common ancestors.
- RSS exists because of its democratic mindset.
- Strength comes from working together.
- We set an example with our conduct.
- RSS teaches how to serve India.
- Difference in opinion should not divide.
Mukherjee, who arrived in Nagpur on Wednesday, was the chief guest at the valedictory function of the RSS's third-year officers training camp at its headquarters in Reshimbagh.
His visit has raised many an eyebrow, including in his own party.
The RSS was banned on February 4, 1948 following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The ban was lifted on July 11, 1949 after then Sarsanghchalak M.S. Golwalkar gave an undertaking that the organisation would abide by the Indian Constitution.