In a country that is witnessing a gradual decay of its moral and cultural fabric in this day and age, there definitely are a few good men remaining. One of them recently retired from the post of India’s President as he handed over the reins to Ram Nath Kovind Tuesday.

But not before sternly slipping in a few words of wisdom to his successor, who is a member of the ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), during his last address to the nation as the President of India.

The 81-year-old’s most remarkable suggestions came on plurality and non violence. “The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance. Plurality of our society has come about through assimilation of ideas over centuries. The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special.”

“We derive our strength from tolerance; it has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries. There are divergent strands in public discourse; we may argue, we may agree or we may not agree. But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion. Otherwise, a fundamental character of our thought process will wither away,” he added.

He also invoked Gandhian principles on ahimsa, which are the need of the hour in the wake of religious violence and mob lynching incidents under the Narendra Modi government.

“The capacity for compassion and empathy is the true foundation of our civilization. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. Only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of the people in the democratic process. Power of non-violence has to be resurrected to build a compassionate and caring society,” he asserted.

The former Congress minister also spoke passionately about the power of education and how universities should be nurtured as assemblies of ‘inquisitive minds.’ He couldn’t stress enough on the promotion of ‘creative thinking, innovation and scientific temper.’

Calling the parliament his place of worship and the Indian Constitution as a ‘sacred text,’ Pranab Da left one and all with a lump in the throat and set the example for everyone to follow. Thank you and goodbye Mr Mukherjee!