President asks people to uphold principles of tolerance

KOLKATA, Sept 16:
President Pranab Mukherjee today asked the people to uphold the principles of benevolence, tolerance and compassion to safeguard society from losing moral moorings.“If the society at large has to be kept clean, then pursuing decadent traditions will not do. A push has to be given to change it, as was done by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,” he said after laying the foundation stone of a Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Museum here.Speaking on the life of the saint, Mukherjee said he and visionaries like Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha were reformers who tried to free the society from all ills.“Sri Chaitanya was not just a social reformer, but a revolutionary who went against the prevalent decadent social system” which practiced narrow ideas which excluded various sections of the people, he said.He said the saint, who was born 525 years ago, had spearheaded the protestant movement in Bengal leading the first wave of an Indian spiritual renaissance, as he preached the principles of global humanism.The President also praised the contributions of Gaudiya Math for taking initiatives in providing education, medical relief to the poor, care for the old, sick and ostracised sections, apart from their services during challenging situations like natural calamities.Senior Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said Chaitanya walked across the length and breadth of the country, mingling with all sections of the people – from the tribals to other downtrodden ones – who became prominent followers of his reform movement.Maintaining that it was historic that the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda was being celebrated this year along with the 525th anniversary of Chaitanya, Bandopadhyay said both these great personalities had started their work “in this locality of Bagbazar in Kolkata.”West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan was also present on the occasion. (PTI)