The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has called upon the National Integration Council (NIC) to find ways to fight against communalism, casteism, regionalism, linguism and other incipient threats to our national unity.
Inaugurating a meeting of the National Integration Council, which is meeting after a gap of 13 years, here today, Dr. Singh said, “We have to inculcate such liberalism in our people particularly, in the minds of our youth. Our educational system, our media, our popular culture must reinforce this civilisational commitment of India to pluralism and inclusiveness.”
Referring to communalism, Dr. Singh said, “our country and our society has been characterized by a spirit of tolerance…. Ours is a society which has rejoiced in its diversity; in its ability to shelter an incredible range of thoughts, ideas and beliefs; in its acceptance of criticism and debate not just in public life but in matters of philosophy, beliefs and thought processes.” The Prime Minister underscored the importance of protecting, preserving and nurturing this value for our future generations.
The Prime Minister said, “we must rejoice in this blossoming of these regional identities and lay emphasis on harmony rather than uniformity.” Stressing the need to eliminate regional economic imbalances, the Prime Minister pointed out that “an improvement in the lives and livelihoods of the rural poor is an important element of national integration.”
Emphasising the efficacy of democratic means, the Prime Minister said, “every political group that claims to represent the interests of any section of our people must test and demonstrate its popularity through the institutions of our democracy.” Extremism of any form, based on any divisive ideology, cannot be tolerated in any civilized and democratic society, he added.