Triggering a fresh debate in the context of the brutal gangrape in Delhi and youth protests that followed, President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday raised a question whether the country's legislature reflects emerging India or does it need radical reforms.
Asking whether corruption has overtaken morality in life, he said elected representatives must win back people's confidence and the anxiety and the restlessness of the youth has to be channelised towards change with speed, dignity and order.
In his first address to the nation on the eve of the 64th Republic Day, Mukherjee referred to the "grave tragedy" of the brutal rape and murder of a woman in the capital that has shattered complacency.
"The brutal rape and murder of a young woman, a woman who was symbol of all that new India strives to be, has left our hearts empty and our minds in turmoil. We lost more than a valuable life; we lost a dream. If today young Indians feel outraged, can we blame our youth?," he asked.
The President said there is a law of the land but there is also a higher law. The sanctity of a woman is a directive principle of that larger edifice called Indian civilisation. "When we brutalise a woman, we wound the soul of our nation."
"It is time for the nation to reset its moral compass. Nothing should be allowed to spur cynicism, as cynicism is blind to morality. We must look deep into our conscience and find out where we have faltered.
"The solutions to problems have to be found through discussion and conciliation of views. People must believe that governance is an instrument for good and for that, we must ensure good governance," he said.