India is not just a
country, it's a philosophy that has been nourished by the collective wisdom of
different religions over thousands of years. As a people, we are guided by our
belief that all religions lead us to peace, harmony and universal brotherhood,
and that humanity is the highest religion. We stand out as a nation and command
global respect today because we have worked tirelessly to ensure that our
spirit, the spirit of 'Vasudaiva Kutumbakam' (the world is one family) does not die.
It was this spirit that
inspired the scripting of our Constitution, where secularism holds a central
place. Our commitment to religious acceptance is reflected not only in our
policies, but also in our popular culture. The people of our land are free to
follow their own religion, and our values of religious pluralism make their chosen
faiths even stronger.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
described our secular ideology thus: 'We talk about a secular state in India.
It is perhaps not very easy even to find a good word in Hindi for 'secular.'
Some people think it means something opposed to religion. That obviously is not
correct. What it means is that it is the state which honours all faiths equally
and gives them equal opportunities; that, as a state, it does not allow itself
to be attached to one faith or religion, which then becomes the state
Unfortunately, there continues
to be a Nathuram Godse lurking round the corner, preaching a philosophy of hate.
Godse represented a poisonous ideology that snatched away Mahatma Gandhi from
us. Advocates of that philosophy will not hesitate to bring down a masjid or a
church. They won't think twice before killing a Christian or a Muslim. They
will do all they can to divide us.
Our fight against
communalism and religious fanaticism is a tireless one. India's secular and
plural ethos has to be constantly defended from forces trying to spread hate
and assert the supremacy of one religion over another.
Our spirit is stronger than the forces of hate. Together, we can decisively defeat extremism, but only if we stand as one. Vasudaiva Kutumbakam ' the world is one family