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Strife is based on prejudices, need to make world more compassionate: President

ANI 

Speaking at the World Youth Conference on Kindness here, the President said being grateful for what one has can also be a gateway to access "our inherent kindness and its free expression".

He said there was a need to be kind towards mother-nature and respect and understand differences "as failing to do so leads to conflict".

"We need to be kind to empathise and help others. We need to be kind to ensure that compassion becomes the inner voice that drives our children, societies and civilizations to retain and nurture their humaneness and their sensitivity," he said.

He said the event on 'kindness', a value synonymous with Mahatma Gandhi, "is very relevant to us".

Noting that prejudices lead to a binary of "us versus them", he said greater interaction can help tackle it.

"Following Gandhiji's footsteps, we must let ourselves and our children interact and engage with those whom we tend to define as 'them'. Greater interaction is the best way to develop a sensitive understanding, which can help us overcome our prejudices," he said.

Kovind said people should do at least one kind act a day.

"We as individuals and societies need to cherish kindness as a value and a deed. Let us all consciously remember to do at least one kind act a day. This alone will enable each and every one of us to practice and nourish our inherent kindness. If we do this, imagine that the sum total would be billions of kind deeds every day," he said.

"We can draw from Mahatma Gandhi to remind ourselves that the key to address many issues that humanity and our planet faces today lies in making our world more compassionate, humane and kind," he added.

The president said that a simple exercise such as writing down every morning "three things in your life for which you are grateful, will enthuse you with positivity".

"Being grateful for what we have can also be a gateway to access our inherent kindness and its free expression. Feelings of gratitude are known to reduce our anxieties and insecurities," he said.

The president called for celebrating stories of kindness. "By celebrating such acts of kindness, howsoever big or small, we can promote goodness in our midst," he said.

The conference is being attended by youth leaders from 27 different countries.

Noting that the youth have the biggest stake in making the world kind, compassionate and peaceful, he said compassion kindles the light of compassion, an act of kindness is returned by an act of kindness, and empathy spurs empathy.

He said the event had been held in the year of Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary. "You have indeed started something that promises to bring Gandhian values into our everyday lives and make our world better", he said

Kovind said Gandhi was born in India but belongs to the entire humanity.

"His life and values inspire people across continents. The most influential Indian of the 20th century, Gandhiji remains the benchmark against which we assess our public functionaries, political ideas and government policies, as well as the hopes and aspirations of our country and our people - and of our shared planet. He not only led us to freedom, but he also urged us to cherish freedom and preserve the concept of universal peace," he said.

Kovind said Gandhi was not just a great leader and visionary, he personified certain timeless ideals and values.

"We could place Gandhiji in a time machine and transport him to any period of human existence and we would find him to be relevant. This is also true of the times we live in. Gandhiji remains extremely relevant to our present-day concerns such as need for peace and tolerance, terrorism and climate change," he said.

The President said Gandhi believed in the ancient Indian concept of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" (the entire world is one family).

Kovind said Gandhi's favourite song - "Vaishnava Jan To Tene Kahiye" calls for compassion, kindness and goodness for others.

He said education must facilitate and challenge the young to search deep within themselves and build their inner strength to sympathize or relate to the suffering of others.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 23 2019. 22:28 IST
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