President of India Pranab Mukherjee on Monday underlined the need for respecting the sensitivities of the minorities and said effort should be made to maintain an atmosphere where every community finds a space in the national narrative.
“We must encourage a broad human outlook in all our citizens and educate them to rise above caste or communal loyalties. We must learn to respect the rights and sensitivities of minorities, both in letter and spirit,” he said while delivering the Indira Gandhi Memorial Lecture of the Asiatic Society here.
“We must strive to maintain an atmosphere where every community feels a part of the national narrative,” he said and called for cultivation of a secular and democratic outlook and promote a way of life that was inclusive and did not interfere with civic duties and rights as well as responsibilities of individuals.
“Sometimes, it does happen that regional interests overtake our commitment to the national interest. We have to guard against any such tendency,” the President said.
He said that while all Indian languages must receive encouragement and support, in a linguistically plural society some accommodation in favour of the national imperatives would always be required.
Knowledge about different religions and great saints who took birth here should be part and parcel of everyone's education, he said, adding that focus should remain on raising the standard of living and reducing existing disparities in power, wealth, income, consumption and utilisation of social services like education or health.