Durga was defense minister, Lakshmi the finance minister in ancient India: VP Naidu

Inaugurating a two-day leadership summit at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Vice President Venkaiah Naidu spoke about issues from freedom of speech to secularism to importance of “traditions”. Speaking at the 15th edition of the ISB’s annual leadership conclave, Naidu took examples of Indian goddesses to speak on women’s empowerment.

Being the keynote speaker at the leadership summit, Naidu said, “From the Puranas, we find that the education minister was goddess Saraswati, the defence minister was Durga Devi and finance minister was Laxmi Devi.”

The newly appointed Vice President further stated that freedom has “limitations”, though he mentioned that “as per our Constitution, everyone is free to speak and put forth their point of view but one must not forget following the regulations”.

“Regulation is very much needed in a democracy, if democracy has to survive. Yes, freedom of expression of an individual is very much important. But, at the same time, the unity of the nation is also important. People express their views about Afzal Guru. In our democratic country, everyone has the right to express their views about others. But the views and the acts should be under the framework of the Constitution of our India,” added Naidu.

Further stating that the constitution has enshrined secularism and the Vedas had taught respect for all religion, the Vice President said, “Also, secularism is strong in India not because of the Constitution… not because of this leader or that leader. It is (strong) because it is in the DNA of Indian people, the Bharatiyas. It is there in everybody’s blood.”

Quoting historical figures like Swami Vivekananda and from the Vedas, Naidu said, “We must take pride in our heritage, culture and traditions. We must not shunt these aside in the face of Western influences.”

Speaking on intolerance Naidu stated that the people of the country should be tolerant for the mandate given by the people. Further speaking on leadership, he said, “We do not want a leader with ‘suit-boot’, but a leader with a big vision, who can lead the country in the direction of progress and prosperity.”

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