Former President Pranab Mukherjee today addressed the concluding ceremony of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's "Tritiya Varsh Sangh Siksha Varg" in Nagpur . Pranab's decision to attend the RSS event has invited criticism not only from many congressmen but his own daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee as well who warned the former President that his presence will be portrayed in a wrong way by the BJP and the RSS.
As it happened:
08:34pm: Pranab Mukherjee concludes his speech
08:32pm: We do not consider anyone our enemy, this is what makes India united
08:31pm: As Gandhi ji explained, Indian nationalism was not exclusive nor aggressive nor destructive: Pranab
08:30pm: It was this very nationalism that Pandit Nehru so vividly expressed in the book 'Discovery of India', he wrote, "I am convinced that nationalism can only come out of the ideological fusion of Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and other groups in India: Pranab
08:28pm: It was this very nationalism that Pandit Nehru so vividly expressed in the book 'Discovery of India', he wrote, "I am convinced that nationalism can only come out of the ideological fusion of Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and other groups in India": Pranab
08:28pm: We may or may not agree but we have to respect multiplicity of opinion
08:26pm: Democracy is not a gift, but a sacred task
08:24pm: The feeling of patriotism helped us during our movement against the British rule in the country
08:22pm: Each conquerer and foreign element has been absorbed in India's cultural milieu
08:20pm: Indian nationalism emanated from universalism
08:19pm: Any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of hatred and intolerance will lead to the dilution of our identity
08:17pm: We respect pluralism. Mutual hatred will cause harm to the country: Pranab
08:16pm: Our national identity has emerged after a long drawn process of confluence and assimilation, the multiple cultures and faiths make us special and tolerant: Pranab Mukherjee
08:14pm: I am here amongst you to share my understanding with you of the concepts of nation, nationalism and patriotism in the context of India
08:12pm: Am here to talk about India. India was a nation long before the emergence of European concept of nation state.
08:10pm: Am here to talk about nation, nationalism
08:08pm: Pranab Mukherjee begins his speech
08:07pm: Mohan Bhagwat concludes his speech
08:05pm: Our organisation attempts to cultivate people who lead by example, in every nook and corner of the country: Mohan Bhagwat
08:00pm: Unregulated strength and power can be dangerous for society: Mohan Bhagwat
07:54pm: The habbits of an individual makes up his personality and individuals make a society. We should focus on cultivating habbits that are progressive for the nation: Mohan Bhagwat
07:52pm: Only governments can't change the fate of the country. When society at large participates in nation building, only then can governments deliver: Mohan Bhagwat
07:50pm: Sangh believes in working for the welfare of the country and so we invite everyone to join hands with us for this great cause
07:45pm: Indian culture teaches unity in diversity but this is not accepted and understood by all. There are some who do not believe in standing united, says Mohan Bhagwat
07:43pm: There have been many debates on Pranab Mukherjee attending the event but we do not consider anyone different from ourselves. We Indians are all one and united: Mohan Bhagwat
07:41pm: We all have known Dr. PranabMukherjee and are aware of his ordinary and simple nature. We are grateful for his arrival at this function today: Mohan Bhagwat
07:40pm: Sangh is Sangh, Dr. Pranab Mukherjee is Dr. Pranab Mukherjee and will remain so: Mohan Bhagwat
07:35pm: We have been inviting distinguished guests at this event: Mophan Bhagwat
7:34pm: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat begins his speech
6:40pm: Pranab Mukherjee to shortly deliver valedictory address at "Tritiya Varsh Sangh Siksha Varg" event of RSS.
WATCH: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) flag being unfurled at RSS's Tritiya Varsh event, in Nagpur, where former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee is the chief guest. pic.twitter.com/A4zKtLiv4f— ANI (@ANI) June 7, 2018
6:35pm: Pranab Mukherjee is now on the dias
6:32pm: Pranab Mukherjee and Mohan Bhagwat offer their homage at the statue of Dr.Hedgewar at SmritiMandir, the RSS event is organised in the same campus
6:30pm: Pranab Mukherjee arrives at Dr Hedgewar Memorial
Former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) Tritiya Varsh event, in Nagpur. pic.twitter.com/V0f2oHG8vA— ANI (@ANI) June 7, 2018
6:10pm: Dialogue can only be with those who are willing to listen, absorb and change. There is nothing to suggest that RSS has moved away from his core agenda as it seeks legitimacy: Anand Sharma
Dialogue can only be with those who are willing to listen, absorb and change. There is nothing to suggest that RSS has moved away from his core agenda as it seeks legitimacy.— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) June 7, 2018
6:09pm: The images of Pranab Da, veteran leader and ideologue at RSS Headquarters have anguished millions of Congress workers and all those who believed in pluralism, diversity and the foundational values of the Indian Republic: Congress leader Anand Sharma
The images of Pranab Da, veteran leader and ideologue at RSS Headquarters have anguished millions of Congress workers and all those who believed in pluralism, diversity and the foundational values of the Indian Republic.— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) June 7, 2018
5:50pm: RSS has clarified in a tweet that it is customary to invite people who have made significant contributions to national life as Chief Guest at Tritiya Varsh valedictory and have the benefit of their experience.
In the #RSSTritiyaVarsh valedictory, it is customary to invite people who have made significant contributions to national life as Chief Guest and have the benefit of their experience. In line with this, Sri Pranab Mukherjee ( Pranabda ) was extended an invitation.— RSS (@RSSorg) June 7, 2018
5:40pm: Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India: President Mukherjee writes in visitor's book
5:25 pm: Pranab Mukherjee describes Hedgewar as great son of Mother India
'Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India': Former President Dr.Pranab Mukherjee's message in the visitor's book at RSS founder KB Hedgewar's birthplace in Nagpur pic.twitter.com/ax76NCzJMa— ANI (@ANI) June 7, 2018
5:14 pm: Former President Pranab Mukherjee is talking to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at Hedgewar's birthplace
5:12 pm: Pranab Mukherjee is welcomed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat
5:10pm: Pranab Mukherjee reaches birthplace of RSS founder Dr KB Hedgewar
Nagpur: Former President Pranab Mukherjee arrives at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) founder KB Hedgewar's birthplace, welcomed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. pic.twitter.com/QY1QguMNDV— ANI (@ANI) June 7, 2018
Pranab Mukherjee at RSS event in Nagpur LIVE updates: Former President praises Sangh founder Hedgewar as 'great son of Mother India
3:00pm: I see no reason for anyone to have any objection with principles of RSS which are aimed at character development based on core ancient Indian ethos and values which advocated the philosophy of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' meaning the world is one family: Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu
Watch: Former President Pranab Mukherjee calls RSS founder KB Hedgewar, 'great son of Mother India'
Earlier in the day, Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel expressed his disapproval at former president Pranab Mukherjee visiting the RSS headquarters in Nagpur and said he did not expect this from him.
Patel, who is UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's close confidant and has been her political secretary, voiced his view on Twitter, in reply to Mukherjee's daughter who spoke out against the decision of the former president to address an RSS event.
"I did not expect this from Pranab da!" Patel said in his one line tweet.
Mukherjee, who reached Nagpur last evening, has been invited by the RSS to address its Shiksha Varg. It is an annual training camp, meant for swayamsevaks in their third year in the organisation. The RSS holds training camps for first, second and third-year swayamsewaks.