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Secularism, democracy intrinsic to India, don't need any lessons: Gadkari

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Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that secularism, socialism and democracy were intrinsic to India's culture and no one needs to teach its people compassion.
Speaking at Savarkar Sahitya Sammelan here, Gadkari cited RSS ideologue Balasaheb Deoras as saying that if any country has majority population from the Muslim community, its secular nature gets impacted.
"Take examples of Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan, Syria and Turkey. Like Deoras said if the majority population is Mulsim, the secular nature of a country gets eroded," he said, adding that no one was against any religion.
"We are very compassionate and tolerant by nature. No one should teach us these values. We need to think about social equality. His (VD Savarkar's) thoughts are still relevant, " Gadkari said.
Speaking on Savarkar's relevance, he said that partition created two countries. The minister said Savarkar felt the pain of partition and his teachings should guide the present and future generations to ensure that India does not go in the wrong direction.
Gadkari also said that there were liberal and progressive people in the Muslim community who have a scientific outlook and suggested that the onus to promoting liberals among Muslims was on those who are tolerant and democratic.
Gadkari said when he was in Maharashtra, he handed over an engineering college to a minority organisation.
"Today the college has produced 5000 girl engineers and 10000 Muslim boys as engineers. But there are very few who think progressively, " he said.
The minister said that the definition of secularism does not mean appeasement of the minority community.
He also said that the world is divided into two groups - fundamentalists and those who believe in democracy.
"Today you need to understand what is the situation of the world. The whole world is divided into two groups. One is of fundamentalists and terrorists and those who say only we and our God is best. The other group is those of tolerant, believer in democratic values," he said.
"Take out a dictionary and read the definition of secularism. The word doesn't literally mean 'dharmnirpekshta', it means 'panthnirpekshta' and 'sarvadharm sambhav' (harmony among all religions). This is an integral part of our culture. No one needs to teach it to us," he added.
Mentioning how a progressive editor in Pakistan was gunned down by terrorists, he said people realise that the situation in Pakistan differs from that in Bangladesh.
"The secular and progressive people should be encouraged in these countries," he said.
The Union Minister said there was a similarity in social thoughts of BR Ambedkar and Savarkar.
"In fact, the truth is Savarkar was a step ahead of Ambedkar in this. Savarkar was scientific and beloved that there should be no caste," Gadkari said.

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First Published: Feb 27 2020 | 9:55 PM IST

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