New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee Sunday said political discourse that “cuts and wounds” people’s hearts was “abhorrent” to India’s traditional ethos.
In his customary address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day, Mukherjee said: “The freedom inherent in democracy sometimes generates an unhappy by-product when political discourse becomes a competition in hysteria that is abhorrent to our traditional ethos.”
“The violence of the tongue cuts and wounds people’s hearts,” he added.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said: “Religion is a force for unity; we cannot make it a cause of conflict.”
Mukherjee once again objected to government enacting laws without discussion, saying that it impacts the law-making role of the parliament and breaches the trust reposed in it by the people.
“This is neither good for the democracy nor for the policies relating to those laws.”
Recently the president had raised strong objections to a string of ordinances – executive orders – passed by the union cabinet, including the one on the land acquisition act.
While acknowledging that the constitution provided for promulgation of ordinance in extraordinary situation, Mukherjee had said this route cannot and should not be taken for normal legislation.
In his address, the president also stressed on the importance of the parliamentary process in making laws saying there can be no governance without a functioning legislature.
“The legislature reflects the will of the people. It is the platform where progressive legislation using civilized dialogue must create delivery mechanisms for realizing the aspirations of the people. It calls for reconciling the differences amongst stakeholders and building a consensus for the law to be enacted,” he said in his address that was aired in Doordarshan, the national broadcaster.
The aspect of women’s security also found mention in the president’s speech Sunday.
Mukherjee said: “…it pains me to see that Mother India is not respected by her own children when it comes to the safety of women.
“Atrocities of rape, murders, harassment on the roads, kidnapping and dowry deaths have made women fearful even in their own homes,” the president said, adding every Indian must take a pledge to protect the honour of women from violence of any kind.
Commenting on terrorism, the president said “violence is seeping across our borders”.
“While peace, non-violence and good neighbourly intentions should remain the fundamentals of our foreign policy, we cannot afford to be complacent about adversaries who will stop at nothing to disrupt our progress towards a prosperous and equitable India,” he added.
India has the strength, confidence and determination to defeat architects of this war against its people, he said.
“Repeated violations of the ceasefire along the Line of Control and terrorist attacks must get an integrated response through incisive diplomacy and impregnable security mechanisms. The world must join India in fighting the menace of terrorism,” he said.
The president also said that the results of last year’s general elections have been remarkable as people have voted a single party to power after three decades.
“The voter has played her part; it is now up to those who have been elected to honour this trust. It was a vote for clean, efficient, effective, gender-sensitive, transparent, accountable and citizen-friendly governance,” he added.