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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Religious fanaticism threatens peace: Sonia Gandhi

PTI  New Delhi, January 12, 2014
First Published: 16:17 IST(12/1/2014) | Last Updated: 16:23 IST(12/1/2014)

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday invoked the legacy of Swami Vivekananda while asking people to battle against religious fanaticism of all hues that threatens the region, in comments that could be seen as a veiled attack on BJP and Narendra Modi.

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In her address at the commemoration function of 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda in Delhi, she hailed the relevance of his teachings especially for the youth, and said the nation should not fail them in fulfilling the aspirations of the young to be educated, governed and employed better.

"Swamiji's words are all the more weighty today as religious fanaticism of all hues threatens the peace of many nations and our region.

"His ideas must be taken into the hearts and minds of our new generation of young Indians who will and must battle against fanaticism," Gandhi said.

Her comments assume significance as she made a veiled reference to BJP whose politics Congress has denounced as "sectarian" and "communal".

Without mentioning BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who has been appealing to the youth in Swami Vivekananda's name ahead of polls, she said his teachings laid stress on communal peace and hormony and recalled her address at the conference of world religions.

Gandhi's presence at Vivekananda's birth anniversary celebrations to woo the younger generation also holds significance as BJP over the past year has claimed the legacy over him.

She said the Swami's teachings tell us not to fall prey to narrow mindedness and selfish motives and invoked the young profile of India to reach out to the youth for whom, she maintained, the teachings of Vivekananda are relevant.

"All over the world populations are ageing. But the profile of our nation remains young. India of the 21st century is a known society with a young population. A population with high expectations and aspirations.

"They want to be educated better. They want to be governed better. They want to find employment that meets their aspirations. We should not and cannot fail them," she said.


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