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Opening of economy and closing of mind a dangerous mix, says Sonia Gandhi

The UPA chairperson was speaking at an event held to confer the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award on former diplomat and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2018 22:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Sonia Gandhi,Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award,Gopalkrishna Gandhi
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi pays tributes to late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary at Veer Bhumi in New Delhi on Monday as daughter Priyanka Vadra, son-in-law Robert Vadra and Congress president Rahul Gandhi look on. (PTI Photo)

The opening of the economy and the closing of the mind is a dangerous and destructive mix, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi said on Monday.

Speaking at an event held to confer the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award on Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former diplomat and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, she also called for a resolution to “oppose the ideologies that reject the composite essence of our nationhood and fight the forces of divisiveness, hate and bigotry”.

Sonia said in her address that late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was also an advocate of faster economic growth and economic modernisation. However, she also maintained that growing prosperity and social liberalism were two sides of the same coin.

“Both have to go hand-in-hand. Technological capability would have little value in a climate of growing scientific obscurantism and social prejudice. We have seen that the opening of the economy and the closing of the mind is a dangerous and destructive mix,” she said.

Observers felt that her comments were aimed at the ruling dispensation.

Sonia went on to say that Rajiv, her late husband, believed in India’s unity and incredible diversity. “That is what sadbhavna meant to him — not just acceptance of, not just respect for, but most fundamentally, a celebration of our society’s many diversities. Not just a passive acquiescence and tolerance for different points of view but active engagement – so that every citizen of India can lead a life of dignity, security and self-respect,” she added.

Echoing Sonia’s sentiments, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed for reflection on ways to work together and contribute in arresting “disturbing trends” of intolerance, communal polarisation and violent crimes propelled by hate groups and mobs cropping up across the country.

In her speech, Sonia also hailed Gopalkrishna Gandhi as one of the most eloquent and uncompromising champions of constitutional values at a time when they have come under “determined and systematic assault”.

“There is much pain and anguish in what he has been writing in recent years, and every right-thinking and right-acting Indian shares not only his analysis of what is going wrong but also his profoundly sensitive articulation of what needs to be done,” the UPA chairperson said.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 22:18 IST