Diversity should not be a pretext for conflict, but should be seen as a treasure, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said today, underlining that the language of pluralism is that of dialogue and debate.
She said India is perhaps the largest and most plural society in the world and the singular thing about Indian culture is that one can only speak of it in the plural.
“The language of pluralism is that of dialogue and debate, give and get, speaking and listening. Diversity should not be a pretext for conflict, but should be seen as a treasure that enriches us all,” a statement by the Lok Sabha Secretariat quoted Mahajan as saying.
Mahajan is leading an Indian parliamentary delegation to the 137th Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union at St Petersburg in Russia from October 14 to 18.
The theme of the assembly was ‘promoting cultural pluralism and peace through inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue’.
She emphasised that mutual tolerance and respect among religions and ethnic groups were absolutely essential for peace, harmony, proper decorum and social order.
“Referring to the concept of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ (the entire world is a family), she informed the delegates that Indian society is based on spiritualism, humanism and giving less importance to materialistic growth,” the statement said.
She added that Indians are socially, politically, culturally, religiously and spiritually democratic as a result of which a number of religions and religious ideas have taken birth and flourished in the country, and different languages, musical, dance and art forms have developed in India.
Observing that a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the soul of its people, Mahajan said that people in India celebrate their diversity and plurality which is also the virtue of India’s parliamentary democracy and Indian ethos.
She mentioned that the freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Constitution.