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President Kalam lashes out at religious bigots

Times of India

Thursday 14 August 2003

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition du 14 ao?t 2003.

NEW DELHI: In his second Independence eve address to the nation, President Abdul Kalam hit out at advocates of religious bigotry and violence. He declared that the country would be better served by giving its children "a prosperous and safe India" rather than additional places of worship.

Kalam called for a "moratorium" on all issues "which are an impediment to the development of the nation".

Though he did not mention any specific controversy, the reference to contemporary India’s most diversionary political dispute was clear.

The President said future generations would not remember us for "how many churches, mosques, temples or gurudwaras our generation has added".

"We will be remembered only if we give our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with our civilisational heritage".

In down-to-earth and direct language replete with his trademark references to technology and children, Kalam spoke of his interactions with citizens across the country in the past year and said the country should "prioritise our thoughts on national development and make all other issues non-issues."

The President recited a poem he said he had written after a function in Srinagar where three students - one a Hindu, one a Muslim and one a Sikh - came up to him and said they wanted to "go on a mission to penetrate the minds of the extremists and bring about unity of minds".

The students’ questions engulfed me, said Kalam, "resulting in a poetic verse". One of the stanzas was: "Oh Almighty... Light the mind of the religious leaders to evolve a bridge among religions with compassion and love".

Referring to the country’s relations with neighbours, he said, "India has definitely taken a significant peace initiative with all its neighbours."

1 Message

  • Gilles Vernier lashes out at religious bigots 15 August 2003 16:35, by Your worst nightmare

    I think Kalam is an intolerant bigot himself for not repsecting people’s religious and political adherences. Who said that the one who says we all have to get along is not a bigot himself?

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