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Inculcate values of tolerance, respect for contrary views and patience amongst youth: President Mukherjee
President of India, Pranab Mukherjee while delivering a memorial lecture organized in New Delhi on April 9 by the Arjun Singh Sadbhavna Foundation and the Madhya Pradesh Foundation in the honour of Congress leader and former Union minister late Arjun Singh, said, "In a pluralistic democracy, it is important that the values of tolerance, respect for contrary views and patience are inculcated amongst the citizens particularly the youth."

He added, "Pluralism and tolerance have been the hallmark of our civilization. This is a core philosophy that must continue undeterred. For, India's strength lies in her diversity."

According to President Mukherjee, India is a multi-faceted nation of 1.3 billion people, 122 languages, 1600 dialects and 7 religions, which cannot be turned into fiction due to the whims and caprices of few individuals, otherwise, the fundamental character of our thought process will wither away. Quoting Gandhiji, he said "Religion is a force for unity; we cannot make it a cause of conflict".

He warned that at times, communal harmony would be put to test by vested interests, but there was a need to remain alert to communal tensions and insist on the rule of law must as the sole basis for dealing with any challenging situation.

"The harmony of faiths in India stands out as an important moral example in a world where several regions have been torn apart by sectarian conflicts. We must continue to lead by example. We must work towards maintaining the continuing goodwill amongst different communities," he stated while stressing the viewpoint that democracy was not all about numbers but also calls for consensus building.

Remembering and praising the contribution of Arjun Singh in the field of politics and education, President Mukherjee said, "The role of educational institutions goes beyond mere pedagogy and classrooms. It is incumbent on them to mould students into responsible human beings. They have to instill in the students the civilizational values of love for motherland; performance of duty; compassion for all; tolerance for pluralism; respect for women; honesty in life; self-restraint in conduct; responsibility in action; and discipline."

"Higher academic and research institutions must be the hotbeds of research activity. Building a sound research eco-system calls for a slew of measures like collaborative partnerships and better financial incentives for attracting and retaining research talent. To imbibe a scientific temper and a spirit of inquiry in students, research at the under-graduate level must be promoted," he opined.

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