Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on September 22, 2022 called for strengthening the thriving space for discussion and dialogue in the public realm, suggesting that ‘intolerance of others’ point of view is antithetical to the vision of free exchange of thought’.
Dhankhar added that in the ‘race for one-upmanship and under the constant glare of the public eye, debates – televised or on social media – are turning into cacophonous fighting arenas’. He called upon the media to take the initiative, introspect, “pass on the mike and let unique, original and marginalized voices come to the mainstream”.
Calling for healthy, open-minded discussions, the Vice President said it is “time to step out of our echo chambers – caused by both social structures and social media algorithms – and let our mind breathe”. “We must revive the art of listening; we must rediscover the art of dialogue”, he stressed.
The Vice President inaugurated the third edition of a national colloquium ‘Lokmanthan’ organized by Prajna Pravah in Guwahati.
Addressing the gathering, the Vice President underlined the role of the intelligentsia in Indian society, referring to how sages advised kings historically on issues of policy and ensured harmony and stability in society. Calling upon intellectuals to speak upon prevailing issues, he said that “if our intelligentsia decides to opt for silence in the current times, then this very important section of society is bound to be silenced forever.”
The Vice President called upon the intellectuals from the civic society to play a proactive role in ensuring the harmonious balance of the three branches of the state – Legislature, Executive and Judiciary – through deliberative mechanisms. “Democratic values and human rights will certainly blossom with intelligentsia adopting a proactive stance of dialogue and discussion”, he added.
Reflecting on the “common cultural thread” among all Indians, Dhankhar observed that the beauty and strength of ‘our ‘indubitable cultural unity’ reflects in every facet of our national life. Right from the mundane, secular matters to the lofty spiritual aspects – from the songs sung by farmers during the sowing season to our holistic approach towards the environment – the underlying oneness of Bharatiyata can be felt'.
During the event, the Vice President witnessed a traditional Assamese religious dance performance, ‘Gayan Bayan’. He also released two books – a souvenir for Lokmanthan and a collection of speeches of the CM, Himanta Biswa Sarma, titled ‘In Pursuit of a Dream’.
Jagadish Mukhi, Governor of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam, J Nandakumar, National Convenor, Prajna Pravah, Gargi Saikia Mahanta, Working President, Lokmanthan 2022 and other dignitaries were present during the event.
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