Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday urged the people to contribute towards arresting the ‘disturbing trends’ of intolerance, communal polarisation and incidents of violent crimes that were being perpetrated by hate groups and mobs in the country. Addressing the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award function, the former prime minister said such “unsavoury” trends would only harm the nation’s interest and were an anathema to the promotion of peace and communal harmony.
Singh said the function was a celebration of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s outstanding contribution to the promotion of peace, national integration and communal harmony and also a solemn occasion to pay homage to the departed leader, whose memory shall be cherished. “Another cause for solemn reflection today is some disturbing trends that our country has been witnessing over the past few years,” PTI quoted Singh as saying.
“Those unsavoury trends of growing intolerance, communal polarisation, growing incidence of violent crimes propelled by hatred of certain groups and of mobs taking the law in their own hands can only harm the national interests of our country,” he said. “All of us need to pause and reflect on how we can work together and contribute to arresting these trends,” the former PM added.
The Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award was presented to former West Bengal Governor and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopal Krishan Gandhi. The award, given every year on the former prime minister’s birthday, was instituted to commemorate his contributions to promote peace, communal harmony and fight against violence.
Talking about the present climate in the country, Sonia Gandhi called for collectively expressing the resolve “to fight the forces of divisiveness, hate, and bigotry”.
Asserting that former prime minister and her husband Rajiv Gandhi’s ‘Sadbhavana’ had a great relevance and resonance in the current times, the Congress leader said, “Rajiv Gandhi was an unwavering believer that India’s unity was actually derived from and strengthened by her incredible diversity. That is what Sadbhavna meant to him — not just acceptance of, not just respect for, but most fundamentally a celebration of our society’s many diversities.”
The former recipients of this award include Mother Teresa, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, Sunil Dutt, Dilip Kumar and Swami Agnivesh amongst other