NEW DELHI: Amid the acrimonious political rhetoric in the ongoing election season, a voice of reason came from former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday, who harped on the need for preserving institutional integrity and for saner elements to come together so that peace and harmony in society is not disrupted.
Addressing a conference — ‘Towards Peace, Harmony and Happiness: Transition to Transformation’ — organised by the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation, Singh said use of religion and caste by political parties to polarise society in a bid to capture power could create an atmosphere of hate, fear and uncertainty. “...It is in this context that the saner elements in society need to unite and counter the evil designs of the forces that are bent upon disrupting the peace, harmony and happiness,” the former PM said.
Quoting Rabindra Nath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Guru Nanak and poet Allama Iqbal, he said they all wanted a nation which was free of communal unrest and without any division among people based on their caste, creed, colour or religion. “It should always be remembered that India is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country.
However, there are certain forces which are taking advantage of such diversity and posing a threat to the unity of the country. In a multi-religious society, communal harmony is very important for citizens to lead a life free from fear, anxiety and uncertainty,” he added.
The secular character of all the three pillars of our democracy — judiciary, executive and legislature — was a necessary pre-requisite for peace and harmony, Singh noted. A nation without well functioning institutions was bound to fail, he said. The integrity of major institutions is today facing challenges in the country, he said, cautioning that such deterioration adversely affects the functioning of state organs and erodes their credibility.