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Tagore, Gandhi’s ideas best way to counter terrorism: Prez

President at a luncheon in Sweden

Stockholm: President Pranab Mukherjee has said the ideas of truth, dialogue and non-violence espoused by Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi provide the best way to tackle the challenges of terrorism faced by the world community.

“What is terrorism? What is the definition of terrorism? Terrorism has no respect for religion, border or nationalities. It believes in only one thing and that is wanton destruction. Today terrorism is a serious challenge for international community,” he said at the prestigious Uppsala University here yesterday before concluding his three-day visit to Sweden.

The President said that enduring peace can only be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity as political and economic agreements will not on their own build a lasting peace.

Speaking on “Tagore and Gandhi: Do they have Contemporary Relevance for Global Peace?,” Mukherjee said Tagore firmly believed that world peace could never be achieved until big and powerful nations curbed their desire for territorial expansion and control over smaller nations.

He said if Tagore was the intellectual and spiritual torch bearer of global peace, it was the Mahatma or the great soul who showed the world that Satyagraha or truth force and non-violence can be marshalled to create a more just world.

“I have no hesitation in stating that the ideas of truth, openness, dialogue and non-violence espoused by Tagore and Gandhiji provide the best way forward for a world confronted with intolerance, bigotry and terrorism,” he said.

Speaking from the same podium from where the Nobel laureate had addressed the gathering in 1921, Mukherjee said their values and their vision are more relevant today than any time before in a world desperately searching for permanent solutions to conflicts and tensions.

“These ideals therefore need to be propagated far and wide, especially amongst the youth,” he said.

The President said that in Tagore’s view, war was a consequence of aggressive western materialism that developed in the early part of the 20th century, with science divorced from spirituality.

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