On the eve of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary, Mukherjee said the ideals that the Father of the Nation espoused are a part of India's collective living heritage and will lead the country through the 'challenges of the present' and enable in building a strong and resurgent nation.

"Gandhi Jayanti is a day when we should rededicate ourselves to Bapu’s ideals of non-violence, peace and tolerance," he said. The President's message assumes added significance as it comes against the backdrop of lynching of a man by a mob in Dadri in UP following rumours that he had consumed beef.

Mukherjee said India's heritage is 'deeply imbued with the idea of being 'one people.' It is a celebration of our diversity, our plural culture, our many languages, religions and different modes of life. This was the idea that moved those who strove for India's freedom."

He urged the people to imbibe wisdom from the valued teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and strive to translate Bapu's ideals into action. "May his vision lead us through the challenges of the present and enable us build a strong and resurgent India," he said.

"Our deep and abiding commitment to democracy stems from this idea. We continue to be guided by these ideals. We remain committed to them not because it is our past, but because it is also our future," Mukherjee said.

Terming Mahatma Gandhi as an 'extraordinary revolutionary with rare farsightedness', the President recalled the words of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on Bapu's demise 'the light is gone and yet it will shine for a thousand years'.

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