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India’s soul in pluralism, tolerance, says former president at Hindu nationalist group’s event

Published: June 8, 2018

STORY: Former Indian President and veteran leader of India’s main opposition Congress Party, Pranab Mukherjee, on Thursday (June 07) said that the country’s soul resides in pluralism and tolerance.

Mukherjee was addressing the members of a Hindu nationalist organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in India’s western Nagpur city of Maharashtra state, at the valedictory function of the ‘Sangh Shiksha Varg’, an event to mark the conclusion of a three-year training camp for RSS volunteers.

Apart from tolerance, Mukherjee also spoke about difference in opinions and ideologies, obvious to a diverse country like India. A dialogue is necessary not only to balance the competing interests but also to reconcile them, divergent strands in public discourse have to be recognized, said Mukherjee.

Earlier in the day, Mukherjee had also visited the birth place of the founding father of RSS, Sarsanghachalak Keshav Baliram Hedgewar.

Mukherjee’s decision to attend an event organised by the Hindu nationalist organisation, which is also the ideological parent of India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, had stirred the country’s political dais. Congress party leaders had also criticized their veteran leader’s decision to share stage with RSS members, including Mukherjee’s own daughter and Congress leader, Sharmistha Mukherjee.

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