New Delhi / Chandigarh: Sanjay Pahwa :
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh has addressed the gathering on the launch of the film “I Believe”- universal values for a global society on the philosophy and vision of Dr Karan Singh for India and the World in the 21st Century. He also released the book titled “Kashmir and Beyond: 1966-84” – select correspondence between Indira Gandhi and Karan Singh, in New Delhi today. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion:
“We are gathered here to celebrate the life and work of a great son of India and a unique global citizen. I feel privileged to greet Dr. Karan Singh ji on this auspicious occasion of his 80th birthday. We wish him a long life ahead and as purposeful and active a life as the one he has led till now.
I can think of no other Indian who has come to represent and symbolize the ethos of our great and ancient civilization than Dr. Karan Singh. He is a man of great learning, of great wisdom, of great liberalism and great humanism.
Dr. Karan Singh's life in public service is as rich as it is diverse. For most of his adult life, he has been a part and parcel of the political evolution of Jammu and Kashmir. As our Ambassador to the United States, he brought grace and dignity to a difficult assignment at a difficult time.
In his statement, "I believe", Dr. Karan Singh says, "I believe that despite continuing animosity and hostility between nations, and growing violent divisions within nations themselves, the human race will be forced by the end of this century to move towards some form of world order transcending national barriers. And although each one of us owes a deep debt to the country of our origin, as members of the human race we also owe a wider loyalty to the plane that has nurtured our kind for millions of years."
This is a great exposition of India’s quest for internationalism and humanism.
In his role as a scholar and thinker, Dr. Karan Singh has combined his learning of Hindu philosophy with a deep understanding of other religions to look for, what he calls, "the golden thread that runs through all the great spiritual traditions of the world." He has been a strong proponent of the idea of inter-faith dialogue and has spoken often on the subject.
We live at the cusp of great changes in the world around us. As we look back, then we see a century behind us of great contradictions - a century of conflict and freedom, of great deprivation and great progress, of the assertion of individual and national identities and of new internationalism.
But, as we look ahead, we see in front of us a century of great possibilities – a century in which poverty as humankind has known it can potentially be erased; a century in which every human being can hope to be literate and clad; a century in which all great religions can co-exist and thrive.
I do sincerely believe that India's rejuvenation, its re-emergence and rise, has an important message for the world. India's rise is not merely the rise of a poor people, newly empowered. India symbolizes the freedom of the human spirit. In India's rise the world finds hope for humanity because it is based on the principles of co-existence, of live and let live, of individual freedom and a solemn commitment to fundamental human rights.
India is not merely an emerging market. It is an emerging idea- the idea of pluralism, liberalism,secularism, socialism and economic equity.
Dr. Karan Singh has been a vocal and passionate advocate of India's cultural diplomacy and soft power. As the President of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, he has been instrumental in expanding India's cultural footprints across the world. There is renewed interest in India across the world and people are keen to know what makes India tick. I believe that India's commensurate role within the comity of nations should encompass a much larger element of cultural diplomacy and exchange. It is through the wisdom and vision of people like Dr. Karan Singh that we can make this happen.
In conclusion, I wish to say that we have all been inspired by the life and thinking of Dr. Karan Singh. I wish him a very long life ahead so that he can continue to be a beacon of learning and humanism. May his path be blessed.”
- SANJAY PAHWA
(ACCREDITED PHOTO JOURNALIST-CORRESPONDENT)
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