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Hearts and minds of Indians yet to be united: Hamid Ansari

Posted on Feb 08 2014 | IANS

Katra (Jammu and Kashmir), Feb 8 : Vice President Hamid Ansari said Saturday that the political integration of India was achieved after independence but the hearts and minds of the people are yet to be united to the desired extent.

Addressing the 4th convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Katra town of Reasi district, Ansari said it needed to be thought how this could be accomplished.

"How to accomplish this complicated balancing act? Especially the subsuming of sectional interests for the larger national cause and to inspire our citizens to rise above narrow identities and think and behave as Indians first for the greater good of the country?

"Managing narrow interests based on caste, religion, sect, language, ethnicity and region and integrating them, into what would constitute an overriding national interest, is amongst our foremost challenges.

"So is ensuring the separation of powers between the three pillars of government and between the constituent units of the federation. Reconciling the limits to government powers with individual rights and duties is also essential," he said.

Ansari noted that establishing a truly representative democracy was a major task in a multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic society of over 1.2 billion people, marked by severe socio-economic disparities, and compounded by immense geographical diversity.

"It is the constitution that provides a functioning framework for the attainment of this objective. It has been described as a document 'powerful in its vision and intricate in its formulation' on the basic purposes and aspirations of our society, including the common welfare of the people.

"If followed in letter and spirit, the constitution has answers to almost all the vexing questions confronting our nation today. Needless to say, this solution assumes the existence of an educated and enlightened citizenry, which could also hold its elected representatives in governments and parliament accountable.

"Creating a responsible citizenry is a task which cannot be left only to the government. It needs to begin at the school level. Education should reaffirm our commitment to the concept of equality amidst diversity. It must promote values that foster justice, peace, humaneness and tolerance in a multi-cultural society," he said.

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