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Prez, Rajan bat for tolerance

Prez, Rajan bat for tolerance
Highlights

With growing clamour against recent incidents of intolerance across the country, President Pranab Mukherjee and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Saturday emphasised for tolerance to take the country forward. President Mukherjee said here that India has prospered due to its power to assimilate and tolerate.

New Delhi: With growing clamour against recent incidents of intolerance across the country, President Pranab Mukherjee and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Saturday emphasised for tolerance to take the country forward. President Mukherjee said here that India has prospered due to its power to assimilate and tolerate.

"Our country has thrived due to its power of assimilation and tolerance. Our pluralistic character has stood the test of time," Mukherjee said while speaking at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Delhi High Court at New Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan.

"India is a country of 1.3 billion people belonging to three ethnic groups - Caucasian, Dravidian and Mongoloid - speaking 122 languages and 1,600 dialects, and professing 7 faiths," he pointed out.

At another event here, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said that India has always protected debate and the right to hold different views. "Tolerance can take the offense out of a debate, and indeed instill respect. If I go berserk every time a particular button is pressed, rebels are tempted to press the button, while mischief-makers indeed do so," Rajan said while addressing the IIT-Delhi Convocation here.

"Fortunately, India has always protected debate and the right to have different views," Rajan said, a day after Moody's Analytics in a report said the belligerent provocation of various Indian minorities has raised ethnic tensions.

"But if I do not react predictably, and instead ask button pressers to explain their concerns, rebels are forced to do the hard work of marshalling arguments. So, rebels do not press the button frivolously, while the mischief makers who abound in every group are left without an easy trigger."

"After all, any ban, and certainly any vigilante acts to enforce it, may offend you as much, or more, than the offense to me. Excessive political correctness stifles progress as much as excessive license and disrespect."

"Tolerance means not being so insecure about one's ideas that one cannot subject them to challenge - it implies a degree of detachment that is absolutely necessary for mature debate," the RBI governor said. In the report titled `India Outlook: Searching for Potential', Moody's Analytics, a division of Moody's Corporation, on Friday warned of "a possible increase in violence".

Music maestro Zubin Mehta also spoke against "ostracising" writers and authors that would amount to cultural dictatorship. The 79-year-old Mumbai-born music conductor, who lives abroad and has just concluded a multi-city concert performance in India, batted for complete freedom of expression for the writers and filmmakers.

Reacting to his speech, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted "He (Rajan) should go to the RBI and do his job; He shouldn't speak like a grandfather." Swamy said he has made a mess of RBI and the Prime Minister should sack him. "Tolerance of what? Tolerance of terrorism," he asked.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram asked will the BJP say that Pranab Mukherjee's and Raghuram Rajan's speeches against intolerance are also "manufactured protest?"

BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said "we welcome his statement. There is tolerance and that is why we are rogressing."

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