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President Patil calls for a compassionate society

K Anurag in Guwahati | October 19, 2008 20:26 IST

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President Pratibha Patil [Images] on Sunday termed distressful the recent incidents of 'violence and intolerance' in the country and called upon all Indians to try to overcome obstacles and work relentlessly towards building a progressive and compassionate country.

Presenting the Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Memorial Award for National Integration for the year 2006 and 2007 to noted journalist Shekhar Gupta and in absentia to renowned film personality and social activist Shabana Azmi [Images] respectively, Patil said, "Recent incidents of violence and intolerance in our country go against our cultural ethos and civilisation's values. It is deeply distressing that they (perpetrators of violence) have chosen the wrong path and a divisive agenda. Their violence should not divert us from our path of growth."

She highlighted the contribution of the former president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, who hails from Assam, towards building modern India in the spirit of peace and national integration.

"Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed's philosophy and national integration has great relevance in the country today, " she said.

The President said both the awardees belonged to professions which have a very broad outreach and have the capacity to deeply impact the minds of people.

She said both the fourth estate and cinema were powerful media that could shape public opinion on important issues.

"The media in one form or other has today dramatically penetrated every home. In many ways, the media is shaping our thoughts, aspirations and opinions and this means that the responsibilities and duties of the media are increasing. The media can contribute significantly to the process of social-economic development and in our fight against social evils which hamper our efforts in accomplishing broader goals for our great nation," she said.

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