Ansari highlights importance of pluralism, secularism in democracy

August 06, 2017 11:36 pm | Updated 11:36 pm IST - Bengaluru

Pluralism and secularism for their sustenance require a climate of opinion and a state practice that eschews intolerance, said Vice-President of India M. Hamid Ansari.

He was delivering the 25th annual convocation address at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) on the topic ‘Two obligatory isms: Why Pluralism and Secularism are essential for democracy’.

He said that the two concepts also “distance itself from extremist and illiberal nationalism, subscribes in word and deed to the Constitution and its preamble and ensures that citizenship irrespective of caste, creed or ideological affiliation is the sole determinant of Indianess.”

Quoting an article, Mr. Ansari said that the version of nationalism that places cultural commitments at its core is perceived as most illiberal and conservative form of nationalism. “It promotes intolerance and arrogant patriotism,” he said as he quoted an essay on liberal nationalism.

Earlier, during his convocation address, he also pointed out that citizenship does not imply national obligations. “It necessitates adherence to and affection for the nation in all it’s rich diversity. This is what nationalism means and should mean in a global community of nations,” he said.

R. Venkata Rao, Vice-Chancellor, NLSIU, said that institutions of excellence recognised by the Government of India are in engineering, medicine and management. He, however, pointed out that no law school has been identified in this category and requested the Vice-President to take the initiative and ensure that institutions of excellence in legal education too are recognised.

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