Disagree but don’t mock another’s dignity, says President Ram Nath Kovind in Republic Day eve speech

NEW DELHI: In his address to the nation on the eve of India’s 69th Republic Day on Thursday, President Ram Nath Kovind spoke about a “civic-minded nation” that disagrees with the views of others without impinging on their dignity.
“Where one can disagree with another viewpoint – or even with a historical context – without mocking a fellow citizen’s dignity and personal space. This is fraternity in action,” he said, in words that rang especially true in the context of the recent uproar over the release of the film ‘Padmaavat’.
He also spoke about respecting the “space, privacy and rights” of others.
President Kovind also reminded citizens that they are the country’s “pillars.”
“A Republic is its people. Citizens do not just make up and preserve a Republic; they are its ultimate stakeholders and in fact pillars. Each one of us is a pillar,” he said.
The President used the occasion to push for gender equality.
“A happy and equal-opportunity nation is built by happy and equal-opportunity families and communities – families where girls have the same rights and the same access to education and healthcare as boys,” he said.
He added that to create an atmosphere conducive to the government’s policies, society “must hear the voices of our daughters.”
The President appealed to the citizen body to remember the lessons from when India was still a young Republic, as they “continue to spur our nation building project.”
President Kovind looked to the country’s young population to build a “confident and forward-looking nation.”
He also outlined an education system that encourages children to “think” and “tinker”, not just rote.
“The highest stage of India’s nation building project is to contribute to building a better world – a composite and cohesive world, a world at peace with itself and at peace with nature. This is the ideal of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – of the world being one family,” he said.
“The principles of compassion, of assisting those in need, of building capacities of our neighbors, or even of those further away, underpin our society. These are the very principles that we bring to the international community,” he added.

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