THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today urged people to defeat any attempt to "poison and dilute" the idea of nationalism in the country, "which has evolved through diversity, secularism and democratic values".
In his address after unfurling the national flag at the Central Stadium here on the 71st Independence Day, he said nationalism does not mean hatred towards others' religion, language or "other" nations.
Beginning his speech on an emotional note by mentioning the deaths of children at a state-run hospital in Uttar Pradesh, Vijayan said though Independence Day is an occasion to celebrate, "who could be happy when children have died without getting oxygen?"
"That (deaths of the children) is an irreparable loss," he said paying tribute to the deceased children.
Vijayan said people joined hands irrespective of caste, religion, creed, language and culture for the country's struggle for Independence and the nationalism 'imposed' in the name of symbols or rituals would harm that unity among the citizens.
"The country's nationalism has evolved on the principles of democratic, secular values and diversity. Such nationalism should not be deviated to narrow religious-nationalism and hatred. Any attempt to poison and dilute the nationalism should be defeated," he said.
If anybody tried to eliminate country's diversity by imposing uniformity, it would result in the disintegration of nationalism, Vijayan cautioned. "A nationalism built on narrow-mindedness would pose a threat to the country and people."
Vijayan also referred to former Vice President Hamid Ansari's remark about "growing concerns and anxieties among minorities".
He said Ansari's statement was an "eye-opener" and it was unfortunate that even those holding responsible posts criticised him for this, he said.
The Chief Minister also emphasised the need to uphold the fundamental values of the Constitution which binds people and the nation together.
Apparently taking a dig at BJP's state unit over the recent corruption charges against some of its leaders, Vijayan said growing corruption is a major hurdle for the development of the country and it was undesirable that even some political parties were plunging into it.
He also listed out various development initiatives of the state government in economic, health, infrastructure and agriculture sectors.
State ministers unfurled the national flag at various district headquarters.