Mukherjee calls on youths to unite and become 'voice of change'


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Former president Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday called on the youth to unite and become the "voice of change" to make the world a global society in which no one is left behind.

Mukherjee, during a symposium on Soka Gakkai International president Daisaku Ikeda's 2018 Peace Proposal 'Toward an Era of Human Rights: Building a People's Movement' organised by Bharat Soka Gakkai here, dwelled on the concept of global nationalism and urged the educationist to draw upon visionaries such as Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

"What struck a deep chord with me is a statement of Ikeda -- 'Being able to contribute in some way to the happiness of others and the world, be it through work or in some other capacity, brings one joy and fulfilment in life," Mukherjee said in his keynote address. Ikeda, the president of the Soka Gakkai International, is a Buddhist philosopher and prolific writer.

"In achieving global recognition, our universities should not forget the difference between 'world-class' and 'world-minded'," Mukherjee said.

The former president called on the youth to unite together and become the voice of change to make the world a global society in which no one is left behind. "One of the themes of the peace proposal is that the bonds that form a culture of human rights are woven through the experience of joy shared with others. Ikeda talks about a sense of mutually shared joy which arises from efforts to support each persons cutting across differences," he said.

The veteran Congress leader said "compassion and empathy is the true foundation of our civilisation, but every day we see increasing violence surround us. At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear and mistrust. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal," he said, adding that in the unviolent society, one can ensure the participation of people of all sections, including the marginalised.

The peace proposal also mentions the concept of global nationalism which means creating a world where the people whatever their nationalities may be could never find their rights and interests trampled, Mukherjee said, citing the concept of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' - the whole world is one family.

"India's association with the human rights movement runs deep. Even before independence, India was active in the international level in its advocacy for the promotion and protection of human rights.The quest for realisation of human rights and respect for human dignity was core to our Independence movement," Mukherjee added.

On the occasion, chairperson Vishesh Gupta of Bharat Soka Gakkai -- the Indian affiliate of the Soka Gakkai International, a global association that seeks to promote peace and respect for all people -- presented mementos to former president Mukherjee, Institute of Social Sciences Chairman George Mathew and eminent dancer Shovana Narayan.

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