Nagpur: Pranab Mukherjee’s ‘controversial’ and much anticipated speech in Nagpur just ended.
His speech began with the definitions of ‘Nationalism’ and Patriotism.
He defined a nation as a large group of people sharing same culture, religion or history.
Patriotism he defined as support and devotion to one’s motherland.
Then he went into a long description of India’s history beginning with periods going back to B.C. And then ending with struggle for independence.
He talked about pluralism, multi ethnicity the 7 religions and 3 ethnic groups that makes Indians. And hundreds of languages.
He quoted from Tagore, Dr. Radhakrishna and Pundit Nehru’s book ‘Discovery of India’. He praised Sardar Patel in his role of formation of India.
More interesting was what he did not talk about
Pranab Mukherjee did not talk about or quote any RSS Sarsanghchalak including Hegdewar whom he had earlier called a ‘great son of India’.
Wonder if it was deliberate omission or inadvertent slip, in the diverse religions of India, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and even Buddhism was mentioned but not Christianity!
Was that quip meant for Modi?
Towards the end of his speech, Pranab praised the Economic progress India has been making in the world of nations, but he asked – Why aren’t we happy as a nation?
In the happiness index, why are we ranked 133 among 150? At the very bottom, he asked.
And then he quoted a Sanskrit couplet that says –
“In the happiness of the people,lies the King’s happiness,
He must pursue that which makes people happy not seek his own happiness.”
Pluralism and Unity in Diversity was talked of by both Bhagwat and Mukherjee
In many ways, the speeches of the two were similar in praising India’s diversity.
“No one in India is an outsider” stressed Bhagwat, RSS Sarsanghchalak.
Mukherjee shied away from making any mention of the criticism he has faced for accepting RSS invite.
But Bhagwat did mention it and ridiculed all the controversy generated around it.
“This is a regular RSS 3 years graduation function; we do invite well known dignitaries; if they can, they accept. Pranab Muherjee ‘saw the affection in our hearts’ and accepted. This is RSS as usual, this is Mukherjee as he has been, nothing is new.”
(One wonders, was there an oblique reference to Mukherjee’s rigid stand against RSS in the past, when he was party to having it banned too, when he said ‘ he understood our affection towards him?’)
Mukherjee did not openly or even obliquely criticise RSS or BJP for their views/ attitude on Minorities, but he did stress that India’s constitution was prime and showed the ONLY way for India to be happy and prosperous.
He also spoke briefly, very briefly about brutality of Rape and the misery of Marginalized and poor.