Condemning the recent incidents of violence in Delhi University campus, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday advised students to engage in "reasoned discussion and debate" and asked to not propagate a "culture of unrest."
Speaking at the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic 'India@70' in Kochi, the President said, "I do not consider a society or State to be civilized if its citizens’ behavior towards women is uncivilized, when we brutalize a woman, we wound the soul of our civilization."
"The acid test of any society is its attitude towards women and children." the concerned president continued.
Commenting on the recent uproar over free speech he said, "Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent."
"India has been since ancient times a bastion of free thought, speech and expression and there should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian," he added.
Addressing Indian politicians the President said,"Leaders/political activists must listen to people, engage with them, learn from them & respond to their needs & concerns. They must never take the people for granted."
Presdient Mukherjee speaking on the ongoing debate over nationalism said, "the Nation and its people must come first and the sense of national purpose and patriotism alone can lift our nation on to the road of sustained progress and prosperity."
President advocated for 'collective efforts' to re-discover the sense 'patriotism'.