India is the most secular country in the world: Vice President Naidu

PTI
New Delhi Published: Nov 27, 2021, 12:19 AM(IST)

File photo: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. Photograph:( ANI )

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Naidu stressed that being an Indian citizen is all about adhering to the spirit and philosophy of the Constitution, which is aimed at promoting fraternity among all citizens as equals.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said the functioning of democracy in the country conforms to the constitutional principles of ensuring equal rights and justice for all citizens and it needs no validation from any external agency.

He made this assertion while releasing the English and Hindi versions of a book titled "Democracy, Politics and Governance", written by veteran journalist A Surya Prakash, who is the vice-chairman of the executive council of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and a leading commentator on parliamentary and constitutional issues.

The vice president said India is the most secular country in the world, while observing that there is a trend in the western media to run down India and its government over issues of secularism and freedom of press.

"We are seeing a trend, particularly in the western media, to run down India and the government. They portray India in a poor light. They are not able to digest the fact that India is on the move, India is being recognised and respected once again worldwide. They try to portray India in a negative sense. They do not digest our eminence," he said.

Naidu stressed that being an Indian citizen is all about adhering to the spirit and philosophy of the Constitution, which is aimed at promoting fraternity among all citizens as equals.

"They (western media) run down our country on freedom of expression, freedom of press and also on the issue of secularism. India, according to my own study, is the most secular country in the world. Here, irrespective of their sex, cast, creed or religion, all people are respected, apart from a few instances here and there. Secularism is in the blood, nerves and veins of the Indians irrespective of the government," he said.

Naidu said "sarva dharma sambhava" (respecting all religions) is an age-old practice in India and "sarva jana sukhino bhavantu", "vasudhaiva kutumbakam", "share and care" are in the core of the Indian philosophy.

"We are the largest parliamentary democracy. We have had democracy since ages in our system. We believe in peaceful coexistence. There is so much freedom of speech that one can even attack the prime minister. I do not think there is any parallel to this," he said.

Talking about the media's role, the vice president stressed the need for extensive research by journalists and keeping "news and views separate".

He said journalists and commentators should be imbued with "passion, purpose, perspective and perseverance".

Naidu's defence of India's democracy came in the backdrop of recent adverse reports on its functioning by some western agencies.

He lauded Prakash for coming out with effective evidence-based counter-narratives in this regard and for promoting this cause through his writing over the last 30 years.

The vice president also praised Prakash for upholding these norms throughout his 50-year-long career in the media and as a commentator Union ministers Pralhad Joshi, Anurag Thakur, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Rajeev Chandrasekhar and the editor of Thuglak, S Gurumurthy, were present on the occasion.

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