New Delhi, Oct 24: Recognising the importance of unity in diversity, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said diversity is a double-edged sword.  “Diversity is a double-edged sword. If all of us work together in harmony with unity of purpose, we can achieve tremendous heights as a nation. However, if different strands pull apart in different directions, it will only negate the good,” he said at the closing ceremony of “Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2016” at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts here.

“This festival has a very noble objective, and that is to celebrate the spirit of tradition, culture, heritage and diversity of our great nation that has always stood out as a beacon of harmonious co-existence in front of the world where in many parts people are fighting people to lunge further into darkness. Let our diversity continue to be our strength,” he said.  He opined that we can thrive on our plurality if there is greater understanding and appreciation among our countrymen about others’ cultures, tastes and habits.

“The more the exchanges and interactions between our people, the greater will be the knowledge and understanding of one another. Particularly, the youth of our country – the internet generation – who are also exposed to the world outside must know and learn to value their own roots,” he said.  He said that India is a multi-faceted nation of 1.3 billion people, 122 languages, 1,600 dialects and 7 religions and yet existing under one system, one flag, one constitution and one type of administration. (ALSO READ: Inculcate compassion, tolerance for harmony in society: Pranab Mukherjee)

“Pluralism and tolerance have been the hallmark of our civilization . This core philosophy must continue unabated. For, India’s strength lies in her diversity.”  “Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2016”, organised by the Ministry of Culture, had started on October 15.  The festival brought together more than 1,200 performers to perform over 400 acts and showcased handicrafts created by more than 250 master craftsmen from all over India clubbed with, diverse cuisines prepared by tradition chefs, all under one roof.

The President concluded that art and culture not only bind a nation together but also promote cultural harmony and national unity.