New Delhi: Noting that it is the “argumentative” Indian, not the “intolerant” Indian who has been celebrated in tradition, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said that the freedom to doubt, disagree and dispute intellectually must be protected.
Addressing the 77th session of Indian History Congress here, Mukherjee said that there has been an unfortunate tendency in the country from time to time to take umbrage at the expression of any view perceived to be hostile to social or cultural institutions, past or present.
“It is natural to love one’s country. But patriotism should not result in blinkered approaches to interpreting history or a compromise with truth in order to justify an argument of choice,” he said opining that objective pursuit of history requires an impartial mind of a judge and not the mind of an advocate.
“The freedom to doubt, disagree and dispute intellectually must be protected as an essential pillar of our democracy.
“Nothing should lie outside the realm of reason, and therefore of discussion and argument. Such freedom is vital for progress in any field,” he said.
Pointing to the “unfortunate tendency” in the country of taking umbrage to views perceived hostile, Mukherjee said the critical appraisals of the country’s heroes and national icons of the past have been met with “hostility and sometimes even violence”.
“We must keep our eyes open for unfamiliar ideas and be ready to consider a range of different inferences or assumptions. This necessarily bars intolerance of contrary opinions or judgements,” he said.
He also stressed on the need for being open to unfamiliar ideas and consider a range of different inferences or assumptions.
“This necessarily bars intolerance of contrary opinions or judgments,” he said.
“Our traditions have always celebrated the ‘argumentative’ Indian, not the ‘intolerant’ Indian. 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,” added Mukherjee. (Agencies)