In what presumably looks like his last address to the nation on Republic Day, President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said it was important to celebrate the ‘argumentative Indian’ over the ‘intolerant Indian’. “Our tradition has always celebrated the ‘argumentative’ Indian; not the ‘intolerant’ Indian,” said Mukherjee. “More than the unison of ideas, a healthy democracy calls for conformity to the values of tolerance, patience and respect for others.”
Wednesday’s speech was reminiscent of the President’s appeal for peace in the aftermath of the lynching of a Muslim man, Mohammad Akhlaq, in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh after his Hindu neighbours suspected him of consuming beef in September, 2015.“We should not allow the core values of our civilisation to wither away. Over the years, our civilisation has celebrated diversity, plurality and promoted and advocated tolerance. These values have kept us together over the centuries,” he said.