Modi's inclusive call: Need for religious leaders to build bridges (Comment: Special to IANS
As India celebrates its 71st Independence Day, it must remember the sacrifices made by leaders of the freedom movement. It was their vision, idealism, commitment to democracy, secularism and pluralism that made India an exceptional nation in the world. India's commitment to secularism and rule of law is unmatched and unparalleled. But, unfortunately, over the past several months, violent acts carried out by some members of right-wing groups posing themselves as cow vigilantes have resulted in the death of more than 20 people. Any type of violence that is grounded in hatred, bigotry, harassment, misunderstanding and ignorance does not represent the character and conscience of a country that has been a shining symbol of democracy, diversity and secularism around the globe. The violence and polarisation are contrary to the nation's values. This type of intolerant and ugly behaviour by some individuals is against India's traditions and commitment to communal peace and harmony. It must be confronted both for the sake of the good Hindu and Muslim citizens of India and the distinctive and honourable multi-hued reputation of the state itself.