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Pranab’s visit to RSS H Q not a matter for public debate: Former press Secy to Kalam

By Naz Asghar
June 28, 2018
New Delhi: Press Secretary to former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, SM Khan has said the visit of Mr Pranab Mukherji to the RSS headquarter should not be a matter of public debate.
”If he accepted the RSS invitation to attend a function at their headquarter in Nagpur, it is a matter between him and the RSS,” Khan said while answering a question during a talk with India News Stream on Thursday.
Khan, a 1982 batch Indian Information Service officer, is at present Dean, Faculty of Law of Jamia Hamdard University and he is also a founder trustee of the India Islamic Cultural Centre.
Underlining that Dr Kalam had very deep rooted respect for tolerance, plurality, diversity and multiplicity of views, he said he did not see any reason that former president Mukherjee’s visit to RSS head quarter should trigger any public debate.
Khan’s comments come amidst the controversy over Mr Mukherjee’s engagement with the RSS. The Opposition parties, especially the Congress, the party to which the former president belonged before entering Rashtrapati Bhawan, saw his visit to Nagpur as betrayal of the secular cause and made all attempt to dissuade him from doing so.
Khan said Dr Kalam had a vision for making India a developed nation by 2020, but he firmly believed that India will not achieve this goal unless it addressed its problem of communal discord, and also the urban and rural divide.
He used to give examples of so many nations and civilisations that were destroyed by such conflicts, Khan said.
Answering a question on the current political situations and social tensions, he said Kalam’s views on tolerance, pluralism and unity in diversity were very much relevant in the prevailing circumstances.
He pointed out that the former president used to say that every religion is a an island, and a beautiful island, but there is no connectivity between these islands, and his life-long ambition was to create a bond between these religions.
In Dr Kalam’s views, the religious and communal conflict could be resolved by religious leaders addressing the people of all communities together under one roof instead of each of them engaging them separately.
Dr Kalam used to recall how his father, an Imam in a mosque in Rameswaram, and the head priest of the local temple , who was his close friend, used to discuss various social and communal problems and call Hindus, Muslims and Christians together whenever any issue arose.
Khan said Dr Kalam was for peace and believed that one can ask for peace only from a position of strength.
He pointed out that Dr Kalam chose May 11 as the date for India’s first nuclear test, and explained his choice by saying that May 11 was Buddh Purnima and since Gautam Buddha stood for peace, the atomic explosion that day would symbolise that its ultimate aim was peace, and one has to acquire strength for peace