“Our national identity has emerged through a long drawn process of confluence and assimilation and any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of dogma, religion will only result in dilution of our national identity,” former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee said while addressing an event held by Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, think tank of Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) in Nagpur.

He further said that “We must move away from anger and violence to peace, harmony and happiness. I am addressing the trainees, you are young and highly trained. Please pray for peace. Our motherland is asking for that and needs that.”

Mukherjee was addressing RSS Tritiya Varsh valedictory event in Nagpur, which happens to be the headquarters of RSS.

He began his speech by talking about the glorious past the country can boast of.  He gave the reference of leaders of Indian history like Chanakya and Chandragupta in his speech.

 

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“We must realise that we are working for the betterment of the same country, whatever be our language, ideology or religion. RSS believes in welfare of the society,”  RSS chief Mohan  Bhagwat said in his welcome speech on the occasion.

Bhagwat made it clear that the government alone cannot do everything and the citizens living in the country also have to contribute. “Then only country can change,” he said.

Talking about RSS, he said that the Sangh does not want to unite any particular section of the society but the entire society as such.

Emphasising on the need of unity in diversity in the country, Bhagwat said that there may be a lot of differences in opinions and ways. “Still, we are all the same even in this diversity,” Bhagwat said.

Meanwhile, Pranab Mukherjee’s accepting the invitation to address RSS event has been severely criticized by the Congress party.

Congress’ Hussain Dalwai criticised Pranab by saying that “I had a lot of respect for him but perhaps because of his age he thought he should do something wrong before making an exit.”

Pranab’s daughter, Sharmishta Mukherjee is alson very critical of his father’s accepting the invitation  by RSS to address its valedictory function. She not only disapproved her father’s controversial decision, but also cautioned him that he was giving the BJP and the Sangh a handle to plant false stories as his “speech will be forgotten” but “visuals will remain”.