"Although maintenance of social peace and harmony is a function of the government, this responsibility cannot be de-linked from the duties of each and every individual citizen," he said while giving away the National Communal Harmony Awards 2011-12 here.
The president said harmony and tolerance were at the very foundation of Indian ethos, tradition and history.
"It is due to this legacy that India embraced and assimilated, as her own, the various religions, reform movements and waves of renaissance that have swept our consciousness over the centuries," he said.
Mukherjee said: "Our constitution lays down the fundamental duty of every citizen to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India, transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities."
The president lamented that despite this sacred mandate, despite the Directive Principles of State Policy and despite the safeguards that our laws provide, communalism was still present in Indian society.
"None of our institutions preaches hatred. No religion preaches discord. On the contrary, they prescribe that it is the moral duty of every individual and of society as a whole, to spread peace and amity," he said.
The strength and resilience of Indian society lies in its plurality and diversity.
This unique quality has not been imported from anywhere nor has it come into our society by accident, rather it has been consciously nurtured and nourished by the tolerance and wisdom of the Indian consciousness, he said.
The communal harmony awards were given to social activists Khamliana of Mizoram and Mohammad Abdul Bari of Odisha in the individual category, and the Foundation for Amity and National Solidarity, New Delhi, in the institutional category.
An eminent jury, headed by the vice president of India, selects the winners each year. The awards consist of a citation and cash amount of Rs.2 lakh each for an individual and Rs.5 lakh for an organisation.
--IANS (Posted on 20-09-2013)