Union minister of state for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday described India’s culture of harmony, unity and tolerance as its ‘DNA’.
Naqvi said this while inaugurating the grand Christmas celebration of Thrissur in Kerala. ‘Buon Natale’, meaning ‘Merry Christmas’, is a procession taken out by the Thrissur diocese every year, aimed at strengthening communal harmony.
Buon Natale is also recorded in the Guinness World Records as the largest gathering of people dressed up as Santa Claus.
While flagging off the event, Naqvi said “India’s centuries old history is a proof that the people of our country had always defeated those forces who wanted to disturb our rich culture”.
He also emphasised that in spite of religious and cultural diversity, the spirit of social harmony, unity and tolerance has been strengthened for several centuries which has maintained India’s DNA of ‘Unity in Diversity’.
Naqvi described programmes such as ‘Sadbhav Samagam’, ‘Progress Panchayat’ and ‘Hunar Haat’, as attempts being made by his ministry to reach out to the minority section.
The minister also cautioned people against succumbing to the “propaganda started by some people against the government” and to judge the government through work done by it.
He said cultural harmony not only prevents people from religious narrow mindedness and confrontation but also strengthens the fabric of social harmony.
“We have to protect and strengthen this fabric of social harmony, unity and tolerance at any cost. Every religion, every region, every culture and every community will have to move forward together to make India an example of social unity for the entire world,” he said and thanked Mar Andrews Thazhath, Archbishop of Thrissur diocese, for organising the event.
The procession, which consisted of floats, bike-riders, bands, dancers and people dressed as Santa Claus started from St. Thomas College and after taking a tour of the city concluded at the same location.