New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Tolerance is just not enough in a pluralistic society like India where love for each other is needed more, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday – the last day of a controversy-mired week-long state visit to the country.
Capping off the trip, Trudeau, one of the most favorite liberal mascots in the world, told a gathering of nearly 5,000 Indian students and young professionals that people in the world needed to recognise everyone’s rights and not discriminate against them for who they were and what their backgrounds were.
“Diversity, pluralism, bringing people together with different backgrounds, different stories… that matters. Understanding that everyone has a right to a complete life lived in respect and love and acceptance is essential,” the schoolteacher-turned-politician said at United Nations Young Changemakers Conclave at the packed Indira Gandhi Stadium here.
He was accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau who introduced her husband as an “ally”, a “big brother” who himself had fears but knew how to move forward.
As Trudeau walked up to the podium to address young girls and boys – most of them in school uniforms, Sophie Gregoire hugged him warmly. The two shared a kiss applause with the audience loudly putting their hands together.
Trudeau said little tolerance would be wonderful in some places in the world. “Don’t get me wrong there. But tolerance is not good enough for a society like India or Canada. Think about it ‘I tolerate you’. Doesn’t exactly have a very nice ring to it. There is no religion in the world that tells you tolerate your neighbour. No. Love your neighbour, accept your neighbour, embrace your neighbour.”
Trudeau’s pep-talk to Indian youth rang out amid an ongoing debate over social and religious tolerance in India.
He urged the youth to strive for a world which is fairer to all and gives opportunities for all to succeed.
But what does that world actually look like, he asked, adding not a hyperloop from Delhi to Mumbai, self-driving cars, electric cars or flying cars or even artificial intelligence computers on wrists or embedded in brain.
“All that is possible, all sorts of technologies down the line that are going help shape the future but it won’t define the future.”
He said by a better world he meant a place to live in where it “doesn’t matter where you are born, to what kind of a family, whether you are a boy or a girl, what your skin colour is, who you fall in love with.”
He saw a reflection of that world while visiting an ashram of Mahatma Gandhi’s during the early days of his trip to India, he said.
“I had a deep and moving experience of visiting Gandhi’s ashram and certainly the reflection of what it means to be successful. You think of the impact and the power of his example, his life.”
The Prime Minister said we could not afford to have a world where people “are led to silence or people are ignored”.
The Trudeaus later had a conversation with Samyak Chakrabarty, MD X Billion Labs and UN Goodwill Ambassador for India Dia Mirza during which he stressed on sustainable development, saying a strong economy could not be built unless the environment is protected.
He said the G-7 meeting, to be held in his Canada in June this year, would have an extra focus on empowerment of women and the menace of plastic.
“When we empower (women), women grow. This will help in shaping business communities and politics for the better.”
The event was hosted by X Billion Labs, an eco system of impact enterprises.