New Delhi | Parliament has been converted into an arena of combat rather than debate, President Pranab Mukherjee said today observing that institutions of democracy are under stress and correctives must come from within. In comments that come against the backdrop of a washed out Monsoon session of Parliament, he said, if the institutions of democracy are under pressure, it is time for serious thinking by people and their parties.
Addressing the nation on the eve of 69th Independence Day, Mukherjee expressed concern over the apparent fractious politics and Parliament when he said the roots (of vibrant democracy) are deep but the leaves are beginning to wilt. It is time for renewal. If we do not act now, will our successors seven decades hence remember us with the respect and admiration we have for those who shaped the Indian dream in 1947? The answer may not be comfortable but the question has to be asked.
Asserting that the most precious gift of the Constitution is democracy, the President said, our instituitions are the infrastructure of this idealism. The finest inheritance needs constant care for preservation. Our institutions of democracy are under stress. The Parliament has been converted into an arena of combat rather than debate. Referring to social harmony, Mukherjee said Indian democracy is creative because it is plural but diversity must be nourished with tolerance and patience.
Vested interests chip away at social harmony, in an attempt to erode many centuries of secularism. In an age of instant communication through ever-improving technology, we must remain vigilant to ensure that the devious designs of a few never overcome the essential oneness of our people. He said the rule of law is sacrosanct for both government and people but society is also protected by something greater than law — humanity. He quoted Mahatma Gandhi you must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.