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Preserving diversity a big challenge: Manmohan

Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday described as a major challenge preserving the country's diversity and multiculturalism nurtured through centuries.

“It is a major challenge for all of us, and especially for our intellectuals, to ensure that the richness of our diversity and our multiculturalism are preserved and nourished by pursuing the rich legacy of tolerance and brotherhood,” he said, speaking at a function organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) here.

Pointing out that the country was characterised by enormous diversity, multitude of languages and religions, the Prime Minister said: “We need to preserve this essential unity, this ‘Indianness' that has been strengthened and enriched by the various strands of thought that constitute the great Indian philosophical tradition.”

Quoting Jawaharlal Nehru from his Discovery of India where he says: “The tremendous and fundamental fact of India is her essential unity throughout the ages,” Dr. Singh said the kaleidoscope of coexisting identities made the country distinctively beautiful. “It makes our country a showcase of sustainable pluralism. Indeed, that is our strength.”

Describing philosophy as the mother of all languages, Dr. Singh said it should be pursued not merely as a separate discipline like economics or political science but as a trans-disciplinary subject taught along with others.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said the government was moving towards compatibility between equivalent fellowships awarded by the ICPR and the University Grants Commission. Pointing out that students opted for lucrative professional streams leading to societal distortion, Mr. Sibal said the “time was ripe to bring about a balance between the professional and applied disciplines, on the one hand, and basic ones on the other.” The Prime Minister felicitated philosophers D. P. Chattopadhyaya and Rajangam Balasubramanian with the ICPR's silver jubilee award for distinguished lifetime achievement in philosophy.

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