statesman news service
New delhi, 21 Sept: The President, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, today described inter-religion and communal violence as “insanity” and made an anguished appeal for collective efforts to spread the message of peace, harmony and non-violence.
The President was speaking during the launch of an “All India Ahimsa Parmo Dharma Awareness Campaign” on the occasion of International Peace Day at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of leaders belonging to various religions.
He said the all-India, all-faith campaign, aimed at creating a violence-free society, was opportune and appropriate. Non-violence and peace were primary teachings of Indian civilization. No religion preaches violence, he said.
“Every religion speaks of love, compassion and service. India is a five thousand old civilization where Lord Buddha and Bhagwan Mahavira preached non-violence. India has always accommodated all faiths, beliefs, religious practices and customs. A country which cannot protect and honour its mothers, sisters and daughters cannot consider itself civilised. Inter-religious and communal violence is insanity manifested, and we must urgently bring sanity back into our midst,” the President said.
Expressing his emotion at evil raising its head again, the President said, “It is high time we re-set our moral compass. With every act of violence, we are crucifying Jesus Christ again and again. With each act of violence, we are repeating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. A few individuals alone cannot be blamed for the violence in our society. Our general apathy and tolerance of violence is an equal culprit. Our inaction has created an atmosphere where violence begets violence.” History, he said, remembers advocates of peace and non-violence more than conquerors and rulers. Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha changed the course of civilization. Their teachings were followed by millions of people for centuries. Timurlane, Ghenghiz Khan and Nazis have been only footnotes of history, he said.
Drawing attention to what distinguished the Indian way of life, he said “Ashoka&’s period in our history has been described as the brightest interlude in the troubled history of mankind because he turned from Chanda Ashoka to Dhamma Ashoka. Let us not forget the teachings of history. Nothing can be achieved by violence. Everything can be gained through love and compassion. No religion condones violence. It is a complete perversion to spread violence in the name of religion.”
The President, who let go his feelings on several painful occasions in the past, too, including at the inhuman rape of a Delhi paramedic, said, without referring to the recent Muzaffarnagar violence directly, that time had come to say ‘enough is enough.’ “Humanity cannot tolerate this any more. We must save humanity and civilization. This cannot be done by Parliament or law enforcement machinery alone. It has to be achieved through a collective effort of society at large,” he said.
Praising the inter-faith initiative, the President thanked the Braham Kumaris and their partner organisations for coming together in an exemplary fashion. He said as they take up a series of programmes and activities, he had no doubt that they would motivate others to join them in spreading the message of ahimsa.
Religious leaders who spoke on the occasion included Dadi Janki, the 97-year-old Chief of the Brahma Kumaris; Dr. A.K. Merchant, National Trustee, Baha’I Community of India; Father Dominic Emmanuel, Director (Communications), Delhi Catholic Archdiocese; Rev. Ejaz Ahmed Aslam, Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind; Ven. R. Sumiththananda Thero, Bhikku-in-Charge, Maha Bodhi Society of India; Vrajendra Nandan Das, Vice President, ISKCON and Rev. E. Issac Malekar, Head Priest (Rabbi), Judah Hyam Synagogue. All the leaders called for harmony amongst different communities and reiterated that all religions stand for peace and non-violence.