New Delhi [India], Nov 1 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday made a veiled attack on the BJP-led government, saying that there were growing incidences of intolerance and a "skewed vision" of history was being imposed.
Adressing the gathering after Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration was conferred on noted environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhatt, she said that the fundamental ideas that guided the freedom movement were being called into question.
"Today we see rising intolerance, rising violence. A skewed vision of our history and society is being imposed along with falsehood and unscientific ideas. All this is the antithesis of liberal, secular and democratic foundations of our country. The fundamental assumption that guided our freedom struggle and inspired our country after independence is now being called into question," she said.
She said former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi consistently worked for national integration but "unlike those in the ruling establishment now, she did not equate unity with the uniformity".
"On the contrary, she was deeply conscious and proud of India's diversity," he added.
Sonia Gandhi said that the former Prime Minister was profoundly sensitive towards India's many cultural traditions.
"She was fiercely wedded to strengthening the bonds of political and cultural unity. She believed in accommodating, respecting and celebrating our many diversities," Gandhi said
Indira Gandhi also recognized that without just economic and social policy that actively promoted equity and inclusiveness, India could not develop and prosper," the Congress president said.
She said Indira Gandhi's vision of national integration was all-encompassing "helping the disadvantaged and ensuring that no section of the Indian society is excluded on the basis of caste or creed".
"She also recognised that without just economic and social policies that actively promoted equity and inclusiveness, India could not develop and prosper. Her vision of national integration was all encompassing, helping the disadvantaged, and ensuring that no section of Indian society was excluded on the basis of caste or creed," the Congress president said.
Sonia Gandhi said, "If national integration was one of Indira Gandhi's passions, the preservation of India's rich and wonderful biodiversity was a vision far ahead of its time. She strove for economic development.
Gandhi hailed the work of Chandi Prasad Bhatt, who had founded the Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS) in Gopeshwar in 1964 and was one of the main leaders of Chipko Movement.
"Economic growth must not mean the destruction of the environment so it is most appropriate that we honour Chandi Prasad Bhatt, a true Gandhian, a man whose entire life is shaped by the Sarvodaya philosophy. He has been a relentless fighter for the protection of our forests, rivers and mountains," she said
Speaking on the occasion, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the nation will honour Indira Gandhi's memory in recognition of her vital role in the building of modern India and her supreme sacrifice for the cause of national integration.
"Indiraji will be remembered as one of our tallest leaders," he said.
Referring to Bhatt, Singh said his entire life has been dedicated to public causes.
"His foray into social activism that began in that small town, Gopeshwar, in Garhwal, became a life-long innings in public service. His whole life personifies dedication. He gives the idea of "social service" a good name," he said.
"This is the year when we are celebrating Gandhiji's 150th birth centenary. And, I am inclined to believe that the Mahatma jee would be pleased that this year the award is going to a man who made us take note of the incipient crisis of climate change," he added. (ANI)