True religion and religiosity cannot be the basis of hatred and division, he says
As leaders across the political spectrum paid glorious tributes to Swami Vivekananda on his 151st birth anniversary on Sunday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it was pointless celebrating his life and honouring his memory without imbibing the values he passionately advocated; particularly mutual respect and tolerance for all beliefs.
Dr. Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi used the closing ceremony of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations to highlight Vivekananda’s stand against sectarianism, bigotry and fanaticism in his celebrated address at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago on September 11, 1893.
“His truly great message for us, which is of great relevance to our country and our subcontinent, was that true religion and true religiosity cannot be the basis of hatred and division, but of mutual respect and tolerance for faiths and beliefs of all,” Dr. Singh said.
Urging fellow Indians to take a leaf out of Swami Vivekananda’s life, the Prime Minister stressed the need to learn from the world and be open to new ideas, opportunities and challenges. Earlier, Ms. Gandhi spelt out one such challenge.
She said India had a young population in comparison with other countries, and the aspirations of the youth had to be met urgently. The function marked the formal end of the year-long celebration organised by the Centre to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of a man regarded by some as India’s first cultural brand ambassador.