New Delhi: Addressing the nation on the eve of 67th Republic Day of India, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said the country must guard itself against forces of violence, intolerance and unreason.
In remarks that come against the backdrop of debate on alleged "intolerance" in the country, he said reverence for the past is one of the essential ingredients of nationalism.
"Our finest inheritance, the institutions of democracy, ensure to all citizens justice, equality, and gender and economic equity.
"When grim instances of violence hit at these established values which are at the core of our nationhood, it is time to take note. We must guard ourselves against the forces of violence, intolerance and unreason," he said in his address to the nation on the eve of 67th Republic Day.
The President said there will be occasional doubters and baiters who will continue to complain, to demand, to rebel.
"This too is a virtue of democracy. But let us also applaud what our democracy has achieved. With investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, health, education, science and technology, we are positioning ourselves well for achieving a higher growth rate which will in the next ten to fifteen years help us eliminate poverty," he said.
The President said January 26, 1950, when the Republic was born and Constitution was adopted, it saw the culmination of heroic struggle of an extraordinary generation of leaders who overcame colonialism to establish the world's largest democracy.
"They pulled together India's amazing diversity to build national unity, which has brought us so far. The enduring democratic institutions they established have given us the gift of continuity on the path of progress," he said.