Dignitaries, Invitees, Dear Participants

I am very happy to be with you today, at the Inaugural Ceremony for the National Seminar on ‘National Integration through Cultural Exchange’, organised by Department of Mass Communication, Mizoram University in collaboration with Students’ Experience in Inter-State Living (S.E.I.L).

The topic of this Seminar is especially relevant today, at a time when the unity of our Nation is being challenged by forces from both within and outside the country. When India attained Independence in 1947, there was huge scepticism that a large country with so many diverse cultures and ethnic groups would not remain united for long.

However, as we celebrate 75 glorious years of independence, our Nation continues to remain firmly intact. One major reason which has ensured National Integration is our Constitution, which guarantees equality and justice to people of all cultures. We have learnt to appreciate that ‘Unity in Diversity’ is our greatest strength.

As we all know, India has always been a country inhabited by different cultures since time immemorial. Unlike many other countries which have homogenous groups of people, our country is made up of numerous ethnic and linguistic groups.

Since ancient times, Indian culture is known for its tolerance and accommodating nature. As such, the cultures and practices of various groups have all contributed and melted together to form this great confluence of the Indian culture.

As in the other parts of the country, North-East India is also made up of various groups. The region is home to around 220 ethnic communities and over 230 dialects. North-East is a myriad of countless cultures with beautiful and colourful traditions.

For a long time, the region was largely ignored and cut off from the rest of the country. However, in the last decade or so, especially under the Prime Ministership of Shri Narendra Modiji, the region has become much more closer to mainland India in terms of development, communication and integration. The Union Government has come up with the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme, which aims to promote interaction between people of different states. I am happy that the Universities in our State have also actively participated in this program.

The best way to break down barriers between people is through direct communication and interaction. Therefore, cultural exchange programmes are extremely useful for bringing about mutual understanding and fostering valuable national integration.

I appreciate S.E.I.L for their continued efforts over many decades in organising these cultural exchange programmes. I myself have also been associated with S.E.I.L in my earlier days. Recently too, I was happy to host S.E.I.L exchange students at Raj Bhavan.

I encourage the University as well to keep up the good work, and to continue working tirelessly for national integration.

With these few words, I wish the Conference a grand success.

Thank you.

Jai Hind.