Thrissur (Kerala), 27 Dec, 2016: Salient points of my speech during inaugurating/flag off Christmas procession “Buon Natale” at Thrissur (Kerala) :

 Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) & Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said here that “harmony, unity and tolerance” is the DNA of India and it is the “USP” of India’s ancient and rich cultural heritage.

While inaugurating/flag off “Buon Natale”, the largest gathering of Santa Claus, a Christmas procession, amid the huge gathering of people from all walks of life at Thrissur, Shri Naqvi said that India’s centuries old history is a proof that the people of our country had always defeated those forces who wanted to disturb our rich culture.

“Buon Natale” celebrations, in connection with Christmas and New Year, are being organised by the Thrissur Archdiocese. The celebrations are aimed at strengthening communal harmony. “Buon Natale” has already entered the Guinness World Records as the largest gathering of people dressed up as Santa Claus.

Shri Naqvi said that despite of religious and cultural diversity; spirit of social harmony, unity and tolerance has been strengthened for several centuries which has maintained the India’s DNA of “Unity in Diversity”.

Shri Naqvi said that the Ministry of Minority Affairs has been reaching out directly to the people of Minority communities through “Sadbhav Samagam”, “Progress Panchayat”, “Hunar Haat” etc and has been strengthening feeling of trust and development among the Minorities. Shri Naqvi appealed to the people to judge the Centre’s Narendra Modi Government through its works and not through misinformation propaganda started by some people against the Government.

Shri Naqvi said that India is the best example before the entire world in relation with communal and social harmony, unity and tolerance and also protecting rights of the Minorities. “India is the Champion of social harmony and ensuring Minorities’ rights”. India’s cultural harmony is the “password” of social harmony. Social harmony can’t be ensured without cultural harmony.

Even after having various languages, religions, regions, cultural traditions, our country is united only because of its cultural harmony. This cultural harmony keeps the nation united with its special feature of “unity in diversity”. We call this “unity in diversity” as “cultural nationalism”.

Shri Naqvi said that cultural harmony not only saves us from religious narrow-mindedness and confrontation; but it also strengthens fabric of social harmony. We have to protect and strengthen this fabric of social harmony, unity and tolerance at any cost. Every religion, every region, every culture and every community will have to move forward together to make India an example of social unity for the entire world.

Lauding Mar Andrews Thazhath, Arch Bishop of Thrissur diocese and “Buon Natale”, Shri Naqvi said that this function is a gathering which promotes social harmony & unity, tolerance and brotherhood. The massive colourful procession started from St. Thomas College Ground in which people from all sections of the society participated.

Procession of floats exhibiting the cultural heritage and communal harmony of the country, bikes, band sets, dancers and many Santa Clauses were attractions of the celebrations. The procession, after going around the city, concluded at the St. Thomas College itself.

Earlier today, Shri Naqvi met George Alencherry, his grace Cardinal & Major Arch Bishop of Diocese of Ernakulam at Kochi and discussed various issues concerned to the Christian community. Shri Naqvi said that the Modi Government has been making honest efforts to provide light of development to all sections of the society. Shri Naqvi assured that no "destructive agenda" will be allowed to dominate our "development agenda".