Pranab Mukherjee at RSS HQ updates: Ex-president showed the mirror to Sangh, says Congress after speech

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Pranab Mukherjee at RSS HQ updates: Ex-president showed the mirror to Sangh, says Congress after speech
  • 22:10 (IST)

    Hope RSS listes to Pranab Mukherjee, says Congress' Anand Sharma 

  • 22:02 (IST)

    Perhaps the Congress jumped the gun in criticising Pranab Mukherjee for his visit to RSS HQ | FirstCut by Manjul Toons

  • 21:46 (IST)

    Pranab's comment a reminder to Narendra Modi governemnt: Congress of ex-president's speech

    "Shri Mukherjee also reminded the present Modi Government of following Rajdharma, founded upon our diversity, non-violence, multiculturalism and assimilation of ideas. He particularly reminded the Prime Minister that 'Happiness of people is the happiness of ruler, their welfare is his welfare'. Indicating the unchecked exercise of authority and attack on institutions in the garb of a self-professed definition of 'Pseudo Nationalism', he reminded the RSS as also the Prime Minister that, 'Indian Nationalism is Constitutional patriotism," Surjewala said. 

  • 21:43 (IST)

    Congress dismisses Pranab's comments on Hedgewar, says focus on speech not formalities

    "As a guest what Pranab Mukherjee ji said should be discussed and highlighted, not unwarranted formalities," Surjewala said on Mukherjee hailing KB Hedgewar as 'great son of Mother India'. 

  • 21:36 (IST)

    Pranab Mukherjee showed mirror to RSS, Congress after ex-president's speech 

    "Shri Pranab Mukherjee has reminded the RSS of the history of India. He taught the RSS that India's beauty lies in its tolerance for difference ideas, religions and languages. Is RSS ready to listen?," Randeep Singh Surjewala asked at a press conference convened after the former president's speech. 

    "Today Pranab Mukherjee has shown the mirror to RSS at their HQ. He talked of plurality, tolerance and multiculturalism," he added. 

  • Pranab Mukherjee speech should remind Congress too, the meaning of nationalism 

    Pranab Mukherjee’s thrust was on virtues of plurality, social and cultural diversity, divergent opinions, inclusiveness, secularism and democracy. Crores of people of varied faith, language, social practices were bought together as one nation by one flag and one constitution. This would have been taken as a criticism of RSS but thankfully for Sangh their chief Mohan Bhagwat had broadly outlined his speech on same pattern. While the former president gave a lesson or two when he talked about his concerns for increased violence, but that is applicable for all and not just for the RSS. 

    What also needs to be noted that Pranab ended his speech on a friendly note by requesting sarsnghchalakMohan Bhagwat to excuse him if he exceeded his time. The pictures, still and moving, would ever be witness of bonhomie between Bhagwat and Mukherjee and the latter standing while RSS flag was unfurled at the beginning of program and when it was brought down on its conclusion. There was also a lesson or two for Congress. The party would do well to remember that what Pranab quoted from Jawaharlal Nehru's Discovery of India is what nationalism truly meant. 

  • 20:56 (IST)

    People should be at the centre of all activities, says Pranab Mukherjee 

    "People are at the centre of all activities of the State and nothing should be done to divide them.The aim of the State should be to galvanise them to fight a concerted war against poverty,disease and deprivation.Only then can we create a nation where Nationalism flows automatically," Mukherjee said. 

  • 20:49 (IST)

    Hatred, intolerance dilute national identity, says Pranab Mukherjee

    "Many languages and religion under come under one flag. Every day, we see increased violence around us. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence — physical or verbal. We must move away from anger and violence to peace, harmony and happiness. I am addressing the trainees, you are young and highly trained. Please pray for peace. Our motherland is asking for that and needs that. Every time a woman and child is hurt, the soul of India is wounded. While we have done well in many macro-economic areas. But we have not fared well in the World Happiness Index. We rank 133rd. When we go to Parliament, just above the lift in gate number 6, there is a quote by Kautilya, 'In the happiness of the people lies in the happiness of the king. Their welfare is the king's welfare.' Kautilya placed people at the Centre even before India's constitution was laid down. As Gandhi ji said, 'Indian nationalism was not exclusive, aggressive or destructive'," says Pranab Mukherjee as he ended his speech at the RSS Tritiya Varsh valedictory event in Nagpur.

  • Pranab Mukherjee's comments on confluence of cultures, ancient Indian glory at RSS HQ

    Pranab Mukherjee beginning his speech with glory of India in ancient times was interesting. Those in Hindutava fold stress on the glorious period of India, which was eulogized by travelers from across the world. Chankaya, Chandragupta and whole lot of others came in for reference. He said that the trust in India as a country is eternal. It has rich cultural and civilisational tradition. Indian nationalism had evolved through ages but at the centre of it was the thought of universal brotherhood, `Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’. Mukherjee with his famed knowledge of politics, history and tradition would come to new RSS recruits, those gathered there and watching him on TV as a learned professor who gave them a memorable lecture.

  • 20:34 (IST)

    'From our Constitution flows our nationalism,' Pranab schools RSS cadres on patriotism

    Democracy is not a gift to us but a sacred task. And our Constitution is a magna carta of socio economic transformation of India. It represents the aspiration of millions of Indian. And from our Constitution, flows our Nationalism," Pranab summed up. 

  • 20:31 (IST)

    Our nationalism not bound by race or religion, says Pranab Mukherjee

    "The concept of a modern Indian state, transcribed by thinkers and ideologies has provided India with a permanent edge. "A nation in the making" conceptualises the Indian state. Our national identity emerged from a long-drawn process of confluence and co-existence. The concept of modern India was articulated from various Indian leaders, it was not bound by race or religion," says Pranab Mukherjee.

  • 20:29 (IST)

    The confluence of cultures do not mean extinction of another, Pranab Mukherjee at RSS HQ

    "India does not mean one religion, one entity or one culture. It is the confluence and assimilation of all these cultures that makes us unique. It is important to remember that the confluence of cultures do not mean extinction of another. Our nation is neither bound by religion nor race. In fact our Bharat is made up of its diversity," Pranab said. 

  • 20:24 (IST)

    Nationalism, national identity derives strength from our diversity, Pranab's message to Sangh

    "A particular thing needs to be kept in mind. Of the 2500 years of conquerers and rulers, the 5000 year old civilization remains constant. Each conquerer has been assimilated and absorbed. This is what makes us special," Pranab said. He went on to quote Rabindra Nath Tagore to say that the Bharat, as he understands, is an assimilation of various "indominiable waves" that came and assimilated into the Indian society.   

  • 20:18 (IST)

    Pranab Mukherjee praises ancient Indian wisdom, says nationalism helps identify with own nation

    "Nationalism is identification with one's own nation. It is devotion to and for one’s own country. India was an open society and globally connected along the Silk Route. Merchants and conqurers came to India. Many ancient travellers came to India and gave their account. Various foreign travellers, who came to India centuries ago, said India had an efficient administration and great education system," Mukherjee said. 

  • 20:16 (IST)

    Any attempt to divide society will dilute national identity, says Pranab Mukherjee

    "Our national identity has emerged through a long drawn process of confluence and assimilation. The multiplicity and pluralism separates us from others. Any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of dogma, religion... will only result in dilution of our national identity," says Pranab Mukherjee

  • 20:13 (IST)

    Pranab Mukherjee hails ancient Indian wisdom at RSS event

  • 20:12 (IST)

    Pranab Mukherjee says, here to share my understanding of Bharat with you

    "The concepts of nationalism and patriotism are so deeply intertwined that it is very difficult to separate them and discuss. I am here to share my understanding of of these concepts and my understanding of Bharat," Mukherjee said. 

  • Mohan Bhagwat strikes right notes, making use of grand opportunity 

    Mohan Bhagwat knows it well that he never has had a platform when crores of Indians would be watching him, hearing every word that he is saying. Thanks to the controversy around Pranab Mukherjee landing at RSS headquarters, the nation is hooked to TV sets and watching his speech live. To his credit he is not letting this opportunity go.

    He began with by striking the right notes on several counts. Starting from explaining why Mukherjee was here at passing out parade of 750 new recruits, Bhagwat said, "Sangh will remain Sangh and Dr Mukherjee will remain Dr Mukherjee," despite the latters presence at an event hosted by an organisation which follows a different ideology

    He hailed Pranab Mukherjee’s credentials as a statesman and as a person. Secondly, he explained at lengh that RSS was not an organisation for Hindus but for all Indians. "How can one Indian be an alien to another Indian" and reminded that India has since time immemorial believed in 'unity in diversity'.

    He set the tone for right public narrative in his organization by saying that there has to divergence of views in a country as big as India but ultimately all were “sons of mother India” and thus have to work for advancement of India. 

  • 19:56 (IST)

    Despite differences, we must work for betterment of same country, says Mohan Bhagwat

    "Everybody has the right to have a political opinion but there is a limit to have opposing opinion. We should realise that we are working for the betterment of the same country. No matter what our language, ideology, religion, RSS believes in welfare of the society,"  Bhagwat said. 

  • 19:54 (IST)

    Government's can't do everything, citizens should also contribute, says Mohan Bhagwat 

    "Government alone cannot do everything. Citizens also have to contribute. Then only country can change. And the Sangh does not want to unite any particular section of the society but the entire society as such. And such consolidation does not happen by listening to a speech or reading some literature, albeit a constant effort is needed. And the Sangh is constantly working for this," Bhagwat said. 

  • 19:49 (IST)

    Differences in opinion should not divide us, Mohan Bhagwat on Pranab Mukherjee's presence at RSS event

    "There should be, and could be a lot of differences in opinions and ways. There are times when we have differences. But we are all sons of the same soil. We are all the same even in this diversity," Bhagwat said. 

  • 19:47 (IST)

    RSS wants to unite entire society, we celebrate diversity, says Mohan Bhagwat

    "The Sangh only wants to unite the entire society. We embrace all, we are not just for one section. RSS believes in unity in diversity. Every citizen born in India is an Indian. It is his right to worship our motherland. There have been many debates about Pranab Mukjherjee attending the event but we do not consider anyone different from ourselves. We Indian are all one and united," says Bhagwat 

  • 19:43 (IST)

    No Indian an alien for us, says Mohan Bhagwat on controversy around invite to Pranab Mukherjee 

    "RSS invites well known people from various walks of life. The Sangh remains the Sangh and Dr Pranab Mukherjee remains Dr Pranab Mukherjee. We do not discriminate between Indian citizens. No Indian citizen is an alien for us. RSS believes in unity in diversity. Every citizen born in India is an Indian. It is his/her right to worship our motherland, Bhagwat said. 

  • 19:38 (IST)

    Mohan Bhagwat gives opening note at event; welcomes ex-president

    "The RSS event takes place in the same way, year after year. We call important and respected dignitaries every year, those who can come grace the event with their presence. But all the discussion and opposition around who visits us and when, is meaningless," Bhagwat said. 

  • 19:37 (IST)

    RSS was founded by KB Hedgewar on 25 September 1925

    Rashtriya Swayam Sangh started at KB Hedgewar's home on the day of Vijayadashami on 25 September 1925. Hedgewar, along with 17 others, convened the first meeting of the RSS. The Sangh shakha was later started in Mohitewada, Nagpur. 

    The name ‘Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’ was selected for the organisation on April 17, 1926 from a list of four names — Jaripatka Mandal, Bharat Uddharak Mandal, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

  • 19:30 (IST)

    Former president Pranab Mukherjee at RSS event 

    Image courtesy: Screenshot from RSSOrg Facebook Live

  • 19:27 (IST)

    Family members of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose also present at event 


  • 19:19 (IST)

    InPictures: Pranab Mukherjee paid tribute to RSS ideologue Madhav Golwalkar

  • 19:15 (IST)

    Event modulator introduces former president Pranab Mukherje, welcomes him to event

    Image courtesy: Screengrab from RSSOrg Facebook Live

  • 19:12 (IST)

    Congress preaches tolerance, practice intolerance: Kiren Rijiju

  • 19:09 (IST)

    RSS flag unfurled at event; Pranab Mukherjee witnesses Sangh cadres' drill

    The RSS flag has been unfurled at RSS's Tritiya Varsh event and the former president along with RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat stood up on the occassion. The former president is seated on the stage and currently, around 700 RSS cadres who are 'passing out' at today's event are performing a drill. RSS mentioned in a tweet that 6 shikshaks (trainers), 39 Prant Pramukhs & 120 prabandhaks have "toiled day and night" to ensure that the camp runs smoothly. 707 swayamsevaks will be completing their varg this year. Of them, 191 are Post Graduates and 375 are graduates. 

  • 19:01 (IST)

    Ex-president at Sangh's dais; Congress says don't forget what they stand for 

  • 18:51 (IST)

    Pranab Mukherjee garlanded idol of KB Hedgewar 

  • 18:50 (IST)

    Congress' Hussain Dalwai criticisesPranab for praising Sangh founder

    "I had a lot of respect for him but perhaps because of his age he thought he should do something wrong before making an exit," Dalwai told ANI.

  • 18:42 (IST)

    Mohan Bhagwat to give welcome speech in Pranab Mukherjee's honour 

  • 18:40 (IST)

    RSS event begins with flag hoisting, traditional march-past; speech to begin shortly

  • 18:34 (IST)

    Pranab Mukherjee, flanked by Mohan Bhagwat, takes stage at RSS Tritiya Varsh event

  • RSS' invite to Pranab Mukherjee shows Sangh more liberal than Left, Congress

    Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to RSS headquarters has put 'secularist'-leftist-liberals on the defensive. Those who had been endlessly preaching on "tolerance" to Modi government and rest of the country are displaying maximum intolerance by taking on the former president for his decision to visit RSS headquarters. They have re-ignited the tolerance-intolerance debate, this time to their own loss. 

    In an article published in Firstpost, RSS’ all India prachar pramukh Manmohan Vaidya talked about intolerance of Left-liberals who would bracket anyone not agreeing with their world view as right winger. He and others in RSS argue that RSS had invited Mukherjee knowing fully well that his ideological grooming and world view had been different than their own.

    In fact, the RSS keeps on inviting people from other streams of life who don’t necessarily agree with the Hindutava organisation, which in turn goes on to portray RSS as a tolerant organisation which respects persons with contrarian views, as opposed to a Congress or a CPM. For once RSS appears to have stolen the thunder on public narrative from left liberals.

  • 18:20 (IST)

    'Dialogue possible with those willing to listen and change,' Anand Sharma on RSS' defense on inviting Pranab

    RSS, in its defense, had said that the exchange of views and ideas is intrinsic to the Bharatiya concept of dialogue. However, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha anand Sharma has a comeback for that. Sharma, tweeted that dialogue is possible only with those willing to change." He also said that Pranab Da's images at RSS headquarter have 'hurt' Congress workers. 

  • 18:15 (IST)

    Images of Pranab Da at RSS HQ have anguished millions of Congress workers, says Congress' Anand Sharma

  • Images of Pranab Mukherhjee at RSS HQ will hurt Rahul Gandhi

    The visuals coming from Nagpur would hurt Rahul Gandhi most. A signed statement in visitor book by Pranab Mukherjee at RSS founder Dr Hegdewar's memorial  — "Today I came here to pay my respectful homage to a great son of mother India" — will hurt him even more. The Congress' negative view on Hegdewar is well known. In one single stroke of pen, the former president has reversed that.

    There is no single public meeting of Rahul where he does not extensively talk of RSS, portraying it as an evil organisation which was out to destroy India and Indian-ness. Rahul is even facing a defamation case for calling RSS the 'killer of Mahatma Gandhi'. It would now become embarrassing for him if he as Congress president continues to talk in the same vein, while Pranab who has for long been taken as political Guru for Rahul, has a signed a comment like that.

    Pranab indeed was somebody, the Congress president could turn to in times of crisis. Rahul may in due course reconcile losing a guru but the problem for Congress president is far greater, that of losing face.

  • Should Ahmed Patel's tweet on Pranab Mukherjee be read in voice of Sonia Gandhi?

    Pranab Mukherjee has been Congress' trouble-shooter when the party had to deal with political rivals and on more than one occasion he has been a policy resolution writer, which condemned the RSS in strong words. That’s the reason why Ahmed Patel "did not expect this from Pranab Da". Patel has been Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary for long and what he says could be taken as her voice or a statement (which sounds a bit exasperated as of now). 

  • 18:04 (IST)

    Sharmishtha Mukherjee is right, these images will come back to haunt Congress

    The Congress may be feeling uneasy over Pranab Mukherjee’s presence at RSS headquarters but the party should realize that it is they who hyped this event. Pranab's daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee and Amhed Patel’s tweets are reflective of the kind of turmoil that is going on in the Congress over the issue.

    Sharmistha was right when she said that “speech will be forgotten, but visuals will remain” and that certainly is a problem. From RSS’ point of view there could be whole album of pictures, frame after frame where former president, a dyed in wool Congress leader for all his life, is looking comfortable in company of  RSS top brass. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

    In this case not one but multiple pictures would come to haunt Congress. Pranab, after all, has been no ordinary Congress leader. Before being elevated to the post of president he has held every single post of importance, except for Congress president (a post reserved for Ganhi-Nehru family) and prime minister.

    Image courtesy: Twitter @RSSorg

  • 17:56 (IST)

    In 2017 Pranab spoke at an event organised by an RSS body and IGNOU 

    Interestingly, in 2017 Pranab spoke at an event organised by an RSS body and IGNOU where the then president said that tolerance for pluralism, compassion for all and love for the motherland are core civilisational values of India where hundreds of languages and all major religions live under one system. "The idea of Bharat flows from eternal wisdom of our rich traditions. Our core civilisational values, which are equally relevant today - speak of love for motherland, performance of duty, compassion for all, tolerance for pluralism, honesty in life, self restraint in conduct, responsibility in action and discipline," Pranab was quoted as saying.

  • 17:45 (IST)

    Pranab Mukherjee calls Hegdewar 'Great son of Mother India'

  • 17:43 (IST)

    Significant Posturing: RSS tweets out image of Pranab with Mohan Bhagwat

  • 17:39 (IST)

    Pranab makes impromptu visit at RSS founder KB Hedgewar's birthplace ahead of RSS speech

    Former President and the Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee today visited the birth place of the RSS founding Sarsanghachalak Keshav Baliram Hedgewar ahead of his much-anticipated speech at the Sangh headquarters here.

    Mukherjee was welcomed by the RSS chief Bhagwat. According to sources, this visit to pay tributes to Hedgewar was not part of Mukherjee's scheduled itinerary and an impromptu decision was taken by the former president to do so.

  • 17:33 (IST)

    Uproar over Pranab Mukherjee's visit only in Congress, says Subramanian Swamy

    "Pranab Mukherjee is a great intellectual and he is no longer a Congressman. When he became president he said he is above all parties. So where is the problem? It is only the Congress which has a problem with his visit. As former president, he is free to go wherever he wants," Swamy told CNN-News18. 

  • 17:27 (IST)

    'Customary to invite significant contributors to national life': RSS introduces its chief guest 

  • Pranab Mukherjee looks at ease with Mohan Bhagwat at RSS HQ

    Now that Pranab Mukherjee is at RSS headquarters in Nagpur, all eyes and ears are on what will he say. It’s hazardous to make a guess. But political corridors in Delhi, particularly those in the Congress are busy taking a guess. The former president will surely speak on `nationalism’. But the question is whether his words will be music to the ears of those gathered there, in harmony with RSS’s views on the subject, or will he present himself as a critic who had courage and conviction to accept RSS’ invite and give them a lesson or two on nationalism, what it ought to be, and what ideological fountainhead of Sangh Parivar preaches.

    In first visuals that have come from Nagpur, Mukherjee, clad in dhoti-Kurta-badi looks at complete ease in the company of Mohan Bhagwat, while going for a guided tour inside the RSS campus. It appears as if he is oblivious to fury that his visit has generated in his erstwhile party, his family and among left-liberal intellectuals.

Pranab Mukherjee at RSS event latest updates: Pranab Mukherjee said, "The confluence of cultures do not mean extinction of another," as he delivered his speech on nationalism and pluralism at the RSS headquarters.

Mohan Bhagwat said that the differences in opinions should not divide our hearts. He said that we must remember that we are all the sons of same soil and we are working for the betterment of same country.

"RSS invites well known people from various walks of life. The Sangh remains the Sangh and Dr Pranab Mukherjee remains Dr Pranab Mukherjee. We do not discriminate between Indian citizens. No Indian citizen is an alien for us. RSS believes in unity in diversity. Every citizen born in India is an Indian. It is his/her right to worship our motherland," Mohan Bhagwat said. 

Pranab Mukherjee reached at the RSS headquarter after making an impromptu stop at the birthplace of Sangh founder KB Hedgewar. He will address the RSS cadres at around 7 pm.

Anand Sharma tweeted that the Congress workers will be hurt by the images of Pranab Mukherjee at RSS headquarters. "The images of Pranab Da, veteran leader and ideologue at RSS Headquarters have anguished millions of Congress workers and all those who believed in pluralism, diversity and the foundational values of the Indian Republic," Sharma wrote on Twitter.

Former president and Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee, at KB Hedgewar's residence, wrote in the visitor's book: "Today I am here in Nagpur to pay respect to a great son of mother India."

Mukherjee visited the birth place of the RSS founding Sarsanghachalak Keshav Baliram Hedgewar ahead of his much-anticipated speech at the Sangh headquarters in Nagpur. Reports said that the visit was a impromptu decision and not a part of the planned schedule.

As the country wonders what former president Pranab Mukherjee might say at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday, his last speech as president in 2017 reflects the thoughts and concerns that had engaged him throughout his over five-decade-long political career.

Unlike his 2012 speech when he took over as president in which he made a passing reference, pluralism and tolerance dominated the 2017 address.

"I want to share with you some truths that I have internalized in this period. The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance. India is not just a geographical entity. It carries a history of ideas, philosophy, intellect, industrial genius, craft, innovation and experience. Plurality of our society has come about through assimilation of ideas over centuries.

 Pranab Mukherjee at RSS HQ updates: Ex-president showed the mirror to Sangh, says Congress after speech

"The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. We derive our strength from tolerance. It has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries. There are divergent strands in public discourse. We may argue, we may agree or we may not agree.

"But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion. Otherwise, a fundamental character of our thought process will wither away," said the lifelong Congressman on the last day of his career.

Mukherjee, who has been critical of the RSS, is set to address its activists in Nagpur on Thursday. This will be his first speech from the RSS platform.

Accepting an invitation from the Hindutva group has sparked controversy with some of his former Congress colleagues and Left leaders expressing their reservations over his participation in the RSS meeting.

However, what he is going to speak about at the Nagpur gathering remains a guess. He has said whatever he has to speak would be only known when he addresses the meeting.

In his last speech as the president, Mukherjee had expressd his concern about increasing violence and how darkness, fear and mistrust was at the heart of this violence. Power of non-violence has to be resurrected to build a caring society to ensure participation of all sections of the people, he said.

While pluralism along with environment and inclusion engaged Mukherjee last year as he readied to hang up his boots after a very successful career, his first speech as president in 2012 was markedly different and focussed mainly on poverty, terrorism and corruption. He talked on education both the times.

The first topic Mukherjee touched in his 2012 speech was poverty after making the same overarching statement on basic fundamentals for a modern nation - democracy, secularism and equality. Real development is when the poorest feel they are part of the narrative of rising India, he said.

"There is no humiliation more abusive than hunger. Trickle-down theories do not address the legitimate aspirations of the poor. We must lift those at the bottom so that poverty is erased from the dictionary of modern India."

However, then, too, Mukherjee's faith in secularism is reflected in the solitary line on the topic when he said: "Our social harmony is the sublime co-existence of temple, mosque, church, gurudwara and synagogue; they are symbols of our unity in diversity."

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 22:15:49 IST