NEW DELHI: The country is passing through a difficult phase, when the headlines in the newspapers are about violence, anger and hatred, former president Pranab Mukherjee said here on Friday. He was speaking at the inauguration of a conference titled ‘Towards Peace, Harmony and Happiness: Transition to Transformation’ held by the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation and Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).
The country which lent the world the ethos of tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness is now in the news for increasing levels of intolerance, manifestation of rage and infringement of human rights, said Mukherjee.
There is need for smooth functioning of Parliament, the judiciary, the media, and the state, which have come under strain in the recent past, he said. These institutions, which reflect the national character, need to win back people’s trust to save democracy, the former president said.
“In the recent past, these institutions have come under severe strain and their credibility is being questioned. There is widespread cynicism and disillusionment with the governance and functioning of these institutions. To restore credibility, the correctives have to come from within.” There is also a need for leadership committed to the nation, he added.
He asked if the country was moving in the right direction in preserving the concept of unity in diversity. “Given the times we are living in, it is important to recall that we belong to the land which nourished souls like the Buddha, Guru Nanak and Kabir—all of whom gave the message of peace and oneness. It is the need of the hour to reiterate the messages of enlightened souls and imbibe them,” he said during the speech.
He said it was time to take a relook into the growth paradigm, and examine if the country was caught in a “rising economy, receding happiness” syndrome. Inclusive public policy with poor implementation would be of little value, he said, adding that policy formulation must be accompanied by monitoring of whether or not the benefits are reaching the beneficiaries.
The former president said it was time to examine if the country was caught in a “rising economy, receding happiness” syndrome.