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Intolerant India-PM bats for tolerant Indian polity

Posted by :) on December 7, 2008


Sun, Dec 7 02:33 AM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday called for building a tolerant Indian polity. In his first public meeting after the Mumbai terror attack and on the 16th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, the prime minister said: “Our society seems more divided, more angry and tragically, more violent.”

The prime minister has chosen Rabindranath Tagore’s abode of peace, Santiniketan, to declare a war against communalism and religious fanaticism.

“Today we are witnessing an unprecedented rise in intolerance. It is the fundamental right of all to follow their religion, practise their culture and hold onto their views. It is nobody’s right to deny anyone these rights, or to dictate faith and opinions to others,” Singhsaid.

The PM on Saturday arrived at Santiniketan to open the 37th convocation of Visva-Bharati. He was accompanied by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and Congress leader in charge of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, Ambika Soni.

In his address, Singh stressed on the expansion of liberal education system, but opposed the current phenomenon of job-oriented education.

“Too much of our higher education fails to understand this, and puts emphasis on mainly preparing young men and women for the job market. And, even in the persuit of this limited endeavour, sadly, we see many shortcomings,” rued the Prime Minister.

Citing Tagore’s legacy, the PM stressed that varsities should have a curriculum that broadens the mind, build character and give its scholars and students a ‘holistic perspective in life.’

“We know that we have a long way to go and that we have much work to do in raising standards and improving curriculums,’ he stated.

In a meeting with the PM, the varsity authorities have placed a six-point charter of demands which includes infrastructural developments, upgradation of the publication department, improvement of its own healthcare system and consider the entire varsity arena to be declared as a notified area

Earlier, the PM announced a package of Rs 95 crore for the expansion of its facilities. He said as a follow up of a high-level committee under the chairmanship of the West Bengal governor, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the Archeological Survey of India has completed the conservation work in the heritage buildings at the Ashram.

“A committee has been set up in August 2008 to advise on restoration of art works and other building-related issues in Visva-Bharati University. All these initiatives will help the university to excel further,”Singh said.

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