Saturday, October 31, 2020
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Good-bye Pranab Mukherjee

The person who used to preside over Union Cabinet meetings in absence of Prime minister Indira Gandhi was unceremoniously shown the door promptly after her demise instead of elevating him to the Prime ministerial chair! He was made to miss the Prime ministerial bus in 2004 and 2009 as well. Yet through his efficient handling of high profile ministries coupled with immense personality, stature, knowledge, international recognition and acceptability; it has got proved that Pranab Mukherjee was indeed the best Prime minister India never had!
As Indian President; far from acting as a ‘rubber stamp’ of the Union government or dancing to it’s tune, Mukherjee had never hesitated to call a spade a spade and sternly used to advice the Union Government to resist the menace of intolerance and communalism. India had been fortunate to have such an illustrious personality as a President.
Mukherjee needs to be also thanked for playing the role of conscience of the nation even after completion of his glorious innings in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The nation can never forget his enlightening speech revolving idea of India right on the platform of RSS in Nagpur(resembling bearding the lion in its own den). By standing erect right in the den of an unit believing in ”ONE LANGUAGE ONE RELIGION ONE PEOPLE”, Mukherjee had stressed on the importance of diversity equality and tolerance towards all beliefs and faith. Instead of denigrating the Muslim invaders as “aliens”, he had invoked Rabindranath Tagore’s epic poem ‘Bharat Tirtha’ to welcome the incoming flow to India and to be proud of our assimilated history.
While indirectly condemning the current dominant force practicing intolerance and hatred in crudest manner possible with sole emphasis on a particular religion, Mukherjee boldly batted for pluralism and secularism.
Repeatedly had he pointed out that ensuring happiness and welfare of people should be the first priority of any ideal State. Common Indians need food shelter education medical care justice and peace. Sooner the concerned authorities, obsessed with statues-Moon exploration-flags-Gomata-mass Yoga-Bullet trains-Ramayana Museum-Saraswati river “discovery” project, learn a bit from Mukherjee; better will be for the future of the country.
In a seminar in Rajasthan Assembly, Mukherjee had asked those in power or Governance to respect even those who have not voted in favour of the ruling party or front. Very rightly Mukherjee had emphasised the much forgotten or cleverly forgotten basic fact that though each and every party holds full right to ask for votes in favour of them prior to polls; but as soon as the winning party or combination forms the Government, immediately they turn accountable to each and every citizen of the country or concerned states irrespective of whether he/she has voted in favour of them or against! The power in governance will have to remain accountable to even those who have not exercised their franchise at all or never care to go to the polling booth.
Unfortunately this very basic fact is not practically adhered to almost anywhere in the country. The attitude of the winning party leaders and supporters suggest(often it gets scandalously advertised also in verbal terms) that a Government of a particular religious/ caste/linguistic group/political group of population has got firmly established! In this pathetic perspective, it is natural that the concerned Government would shamelessly work for the benefits of its core supporters only and in favour of the dominant demographic group.
So Mukherjee had rightly pointed out this anomaly. Indeed irrespective of the ruling front garnering 31% or 91% of the votes cast, the incumbent Government should work for all treating every political and demographic group in an absolutely equal platform.
If we really try to imbibe the thoughts as propagated by Mukherjee raising his voice against intolerance violence hatred and communalism; perhaps the society will learn to tolerate the cultural and religious diversities and make this country a peaceful one, thereby unifying it through the bond of humanity only.
Ending with a tweet posted by Mukherjee after receiving the Bharat Ratna — “The Bharat Ratna for me is also indeed an acknowledgement of the millions who strive everyday to make Bharat —- the diverse plural compassionate and inclusive idea that it is”. And of course he signed off as “Citizen Mukherjee”!
I bow my head to this man of impeccable humility and sense of responsibility towards the nation.
In this dark age of intolerance and hatred, message and values of Pranab Mukherjee will continue to serve as that rarest of rare beacon of light.

Kajal Chatterjee

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