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'Freedom to doubt, disagree and dispute intellectually must be protected as an essential pillar of one democracy'
President Pranab Mukherjee, who is on his South India sojourn, inaugurating the 77th session of the Indian History Congress in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on Thursday, batted for respect to tolerance for diverse views and protection of freedom of expression even to the extent of having freedom to doubt, disagree and dispute. He was of the view that being disagreeing did not mean being intolerant.

"Whether we focus on regional or national history, what is needed the most in our approach to History is that we should be as objective as possible. This is of course true with respect to all subjects of enquiry and academic activities. Behind many professions of impartiality may lie deeply rooted sentiments of prejudice or an innate sense of superiority," President Mukherjee said.

Here are some important one-liners and excerpts from President Mukherjee's address as per a release.

  • Multiple views, thoughts and philosophies have competed with each other peacefully for centuries in our country and freedom of speech is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

  • Personal proclivities of scholars such as loyalties to nation, region, religion, etc. can influence their choice when evidence suggests not a single occurrence but a range of possibilities.

  • Patriotism should not result in blinkered approaches to interpreting history or a compromise with truth in order to justify an argument of choice.

  • Our (Indian) traditions have always celebrated the 'argumentative' Indian not the 'intolerant' Indian.

  • The freedom to doubt, disagree and dispute intellectually must be protected as an essential pillar of one democracy.

  • Nothing should lie outside the realm of reason, and therefore of discussion and argument.

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