08 May, 2021

Well Done, Mr President

By choosing to speak out on the value of dissent, Pranab Mukherjee has not just bucked the trend but captured the zeitgeist.

Illustration by Saahil
Well Done, Mr President
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Historically, the Republic Day address by the President of India has been a sedate ritual; earnest and correct, sure, but also predictable and maha-boring. By choosing to speak out on the value of dissent, Pranab Mukherjee has not just bucked the trend but captured the zeitgeist. “Let us continue to complain, to demand, to rebel,” our rashtrapati said, wa­r­ning against the “forces of violence” and “unreason” and speaking of the virtues of dialogue. In many ways, these words of wisdom are in line with the President’s outstanding interventions when the intolerance debate dominated the discourse through 2015 but was met with silence bordering on guilt by our very predictable BJP government. In using his pulpit to share his thoughts again, a week after Rohith Vemula’s dream died, the First Citizen has underlined a     blazingly obvious fact: that the freedom of expression is inherent in the nation’s DNA and those who fiddle with it do so at their own peril.

When the definition of dissent is...

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