Controversy over the participation of former President of India and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee in the graduation ceremony of the RSS at its headquarters in Nagpur appears not to die down easily. Mukherjee was the chief guest at the function.

The RSS has praised the speech that was made by Mukherjee on the occasion. The speech was reminded one of the ‘glorious history’ of India, said RSS spokesperson Arun Kumar.

Kumar said; “Mukherjee’s address reminded the glorious history of the nation…5,000-year-old cultural heritage of the country. Our state system may have changed but our values remain the same. He also highlighted inclusiveness, pluralism and unity in diversity as foundation of Bharat.”

He added “We thank for him coming to the event and strengthening the conversation around the concept of nation, nationalism and patriotism.”

In his speech as the chief guest on the occasion of the RSS’ Sangh Shiksha Varg in Nagpur, Mukherjee conveyed a powerful speech for around 30 minutes on ‘Nation, Nationalism and Patriotism’.

He had said “Every time a child or woman is brutalised, the soul of India is wounded. Manifestations of rage are tearing our social fabric. Every day, we see increased violence around us. At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear, and mistrust. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal.”

Mukherjee said that it was necessary for Indians to “move from anger, violence and conflict” towards peace, harmony and happiness. He stressed on acceptance of India’s pluralism and the celebration of diversity in India. He had said that these values have been a part of India’s “collective consciousness” for centuries. The national identify of the country would get diluted by efforts at defining nationhood in terms of “dogmas and identities of religion, region, hatred and intolerance”, Mukherjee said.

Just after the Pranab’s speech got over, the Congress party was fast to present their reaction. The party, which had not welcome the acceptance by Mukherjee of the RSS event, claimed that Mukherjee’s speech had in fact shown a mirror of truth to the RSS “by reminding it of India’s tolerance, pluralism and inclusiveness”

Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress spokesperson said Mukherjee has reminded the BJP government of following ‘Rajdharma’. “Happiness of people is the happiness of ruler, their welfare is his welfare” he added.

Some of the senior leader of Congress were very surprised of the accepting of the invitation of the RSS by Mukherjee. But most praised Mukherjee on his speech.

While Congress leader Anand Sharma praised Mukherjee’s speech, the same Sharma had said that Pranab Mukherjee’s image of sharing stage with RSS irritated Congress workers across the country, before the RSS programme. Post the speech however, Sharma tweeted that he had no doubts about the clarity of Pranab Mukherjee’s speech and his “conviction and commitment about idea of India.”

P Chidambaram also shared the same sentiments as Anand Sharma. Chidambaram said Mukherjee presented the Congress’ principles at the RSS meet. He tweeted “Happy that Mr Pranab Mukherjee told the RSS what is right about Congress’ ideology. It was his way of saying what is wrong about RSS’ ideology.”

(Adapted from FinancialExpress.com)