GUWAHATI: India's Vice President, Jagdeep Dhankhar, called for strengthening a space for discussion and dialogue in public realm, suggesting that "intolerance of others' point of view is antithetical to the vision of free exchange of thought".
VP Jagdeep Dhankar inaugurated the two- day Lokmanthan 2022 – celebrating the Lok Parampara of the nation- at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati on Thursday.
In his address at a function to mark the third Lokmanthan event, held in Guwahati this year, the Vice President said that lessons could be drawn from the past to uplift the quality of discussions in public domain, especially in legislatures. He added that in the "race for one-upmanship and under the constant glare of the public eye, debates – televised or on social media – are turning into cacophonous fighting arenas". He called upon media to take the initiative, introspect, "pass on the mike and let unique, original and marginalized voices come to the mainstream".
Calling for healthy, open-minded discussions, Vice President Dhankhar said it is "time to step out of our echo chambers – caused by both social structures and social media algorithms – and let our mind breathe". "We must revive the art of listening; we must rediscover the art of dialogue", he stressed. He underlined the role of intelligentsia in Indian society, referring to how historically sages advised kings on issues of policy and ensured harmony and stability in society. Calling upon intellectuals to speak upon prevailing issues, he said that "if our intelligentsia decides to opt for silence in the current times, then this very important section of society is bound to be silenced forever. They must freely practice dialogue and deliberation so that societal morality and propriety are preserved".
In his address Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that India was not only a democratic country but also a nation of Hindu civilization.
Governor Jagadish Mukhi and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were prominent among those who attended the meeting.
Also read: Assam Joins World Rhino Day Celebrations