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In his farewell speech in the Rajya Sabha, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury today emphasised the need for protecting the pluralistic fabric of the country, saying it can never remain together if uniformity is imposed on diversity.
Yechury, along with D Pandya of BJP and D Bandyopadhyay of Trinamool Congress, are retiring from the House with the end of the ongoing Monsoon session tomorrow.
The veteran Communist leader, at one point choking with emotions, said the country can only strengthen if the bonds of commonality, which run through the country's diversity, are strengthened.
"If, on our diversity, you try to impose uniformity, whether its religious uniformity, linguistic uniformity, whether it is cultural uniformity, then this country can never remain together and it can only implode," warned Yechury whose Rajya Sabah term is coming to an end.
He said unity of the country and harmony of the society are a non-negotiable issue.
"Let us not target any one specific group for our narrow pity immediate prospects that in the longer run only undermine us all together," he added.
Yechury said it is important to safeguard the country against divisions in the name of religion and caste.
"I am born in Madras to a Telugu-speaking Brahnmin family, my school education is in Islamic culture that was prevalent in Hyderabad...I am married to a person whose father is a sufi of the Islamic order, whose mother is a rajput.. What will be my son known as? What is he? Is he a brahmin, is he a Hindu, a Muslim. There is nothing that can describe my son other than being Indian," he said.
"That is our country. It is that India that we are the custodian that we have to preserve," Yechury said.
Reminiscing his entry into the House 12 years ago, Yechury said he had entered the House very reluctantly.
Yechury choked with emotions when he referred to Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav, a fellow member of the Rajya Sabha who had earlier turned emotional while speaking about him.
"Whereever I sit, I will look at the right side for you," said the CPI(M) leader who sat next to Yadav on his left side in the House.
Naresh Gujral of Akali Dal, while bidding farewell to Yechury, said CPI-M had committed a lot of historic blunders in the past and denying Yechury a third term in the Rajya Sabha, which is "all there in platter for him", is also a historic blunder.
"He is a champion of the poor in the country, he is a champion of the marginalised in the country and he is the champion for secular forces in the country and voices like his will always be required if democracy has to thrive in this country," he said.
Jairam Ramesh of Congress, while reminiscing his long association with Yechury, said the Left is absolutely essential for securing secularism in the country.
Dilip Bhai Pandya of BJP, whose term also ends, said he became member of the RSS when he was only 8 years old.
Talking about his association with the Sangh, he said he had never thought he would make it to the Rajya Sabha one day.
"When I filled the (nomination) form, three people were elected -- me, Smriti Irani and Ahmed Patel. Both (Smriti and Patel) were of international fame and nobody recognised me. People say entry is grand but my exit is also grand as people used to say that these two will come back while Dilipbhai Pandya will not come back," he said.
He said that he became famous by the news that he was not coming back to the Rajya Sabha.
He also took on the Opposition for attacking the RSS and said, "Don't teach us about secularism. We are secular since our birth."
Pandya said the President, the Vice President and the PM, all are now from the RSS.
D Bandyopadhyay of AITC thanked the members for their support. His term in the Rajya Sabha also ended today.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)