Secularism has unalterable place in India: President

Thursday, December 9, 2010

MANGALORE - President Pratibha Patil Thursday said secularism has an “unalterable place” in India and all must work to build a nation where all citizens have an opportunity to grow and prosper.

“Secularism, our constitutionally chosen path, entails respect for all religions. Its place in our national life is unalterable,” she said addressing the ‘Vishwa Konkani Ekta Divas” (World Konkanis Unity Day) in this coastal town, about 350 kms from Bangalore.

The Ekta Divas was held as part of the 25-day first World Konkani Cultural Convention.

The Konkan region along the western coastline of India is spread over Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala, and its five million population speaks Konkani. Thursday was the 15th day of the convention.

Patil stressed on inclusive growth to ensure prosperity for all.

“Pursuing a growth path that is inclusive is essential to bring overall progress and prosperity in the country,” she said.

Praising the Konkanis for the importance they give to education, she said it was “the most potent instrument for empowering a population”.

“The role of education in today’s knowledge-based and technology-driven world has immensely increased and, therefore, education must continue to receive high priority to meet the challenges of the future,” she said.

Patil said India’s achievements and experiences have brought the nation to a stage, “where the promise of a bright future as a developed and progressive nation is for us to claim, as we all work together with conviction and commitment”.

She urged the Konkani people “to take steps to continue to forge cohesiveness and unity within the community, so that its language and culture can flourish and prosper”.

“Towards this goal, the First World Konkani Cultural Convention is a great step,” she said.

Karnataka and Uttarkhand Governors H.R.Bhardwaj and Margaret Alva respectively and state Higher Education Minister V. S. Acharya were present at the event.

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