Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today warned that use of religion and caste by political parties to capture power can create an atmosphere of hate and division and asserted that saner elements in the society need to unite to counter such evil designs.
He said that attempts at communal polarisation create an atmosphere of fear, anxiety and uncertainty and said secular character of all the institutions, Judiciary, Executive and Legislature, is a pre-requisite for peace and harmony.
Addressing a conference organised by the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation, Dr Singh claimed that the integrity of major institutions is facing many challenges in the country, while noting that a nation without well-functioning institutions is "bound to fail".
The deterioration adversely affects the functioning of state organs and erodes their credibility, he said. "Such a situation, he said, can create chaos in society, economy and polity," he said at the conference -- 'Towards Peace, Harmony and Happiness: Transition to Transformation'.
The Congress leader said that institutions of governance are a necessary condition to maintain peace and harmony. Besides, they must be impartial, objective and should function for the benefit of all sections of society.
"It is in this context that the saner elements in the society need to unite and counter the evil designs of those forces that are bent upon to disrupt the peace, harmony and happiness" he said.
Quoting Rabindra Nath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Gurunanak and Sir Muhammad Iqbal, widely known as Allama Iqbal, the former prime minister said that they all wanted a nation which was free of communal unrest and without any division among people based on their caste, creed, colour, religion or baseless superstitions.
"In a multi-religious society, communal harmony is very important for citizens to lead a life free from fear, anxiety and uncertainty," he said.
Dr. Singh's remarks came on the eve of a 'dharam sansad' (religious conclave)called by Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Ayodhya on the sensitive Ram temple issue.
The former prime minister said that there were various types of economic and non-economic factors which give rise to fears, anxieties and uncertainties and that the underlying reasons behind them should be diagnosed to translate the conflict and anger into peace, harmony and happiness.
He said, "Empowering the underprivileged and marginalized with education, skill and good health is an important means to make the people partners in growth and development."