London, Nov 2 — The success of Indian multi-culturalism is an example for the whole world to establish a peaceful and harmonious society, Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari said here.
Ansari was addressing a gathering at the Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre at Said Business School in Oxford, England on ‘Identity and Citizenship: An Indian Perspective’, reported the Asian Lite newspaper Saturday.
Countries in the European Union, including Germany, France and England are facing social and cultural issues related to the fresh influx of immigrants from other EU countries and Asia.
“The globalisation trends will accelerate the conflict issues. But a democratic system and its institutions can annul the issues fuelling conflicts,” Ansari said.
“Different religions and cultures can co-exist peacefully in a successful democratic system.
“The size and diversity of the Indian landscape makes it essential. A population of 1.27 billion comprising of over 4,635 communities, 78 percent of whom are not only linguistic and cultural but social categories. Religious minorities constitute 19.4 percent of the population; of these, Muslims account for 13.4 percent amounting in absolute terms to around 160 million,” he added.
Ansari said every society has three or four levels of identities and to accommodate them in a harmonious way is a challenge.
“In every society, we have identities at three or four levels, namely individual, group, regional and national.
“In this age of globalisation, add an international dimension to it. The challenge in all societies, therefore, is to accommodate these layered identities in a framework that is harmonious and optimally conducive to social purpose,” he said.
The vice president supported the concept of national integration and communal harmony.
“The Indian approach steers clear of notions of assimilation and adaptation, philosophically and in practice. Instead, the management of diversity to ensure the integration of minds and hearts is accepted as an ongoing national priority,” Ansari said.
“Some have described it as the ‘salad-bowl’ approach with each ingredient identifiable and yet together bringing forth an appetising product.
“Integration is not a process of conversion of diversities into a uniformity but a congruence of diversities leading to a unity in which both the varieties and similarities are maintained,” Ansari added.