The real dirt of India lies not on the streets but in “our minds and in our unwillingness to let go of views that divide society into them and us”, President Pranab Mukherjee said here today emphasising on cleansing minds of divisive thoughts.

Speaking at a function in Sabarmati Ashram here, Mukherjee cited Gandhiji’s vision of India as an inclusive nation where every section of population lived in equality and enjoyed equal opportunity and said the essence of being human is “our trust of each other”.

“Every day, we see unprecedented violence all around us. At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear and mistrust. While we invent new modes of combating this ever spiralling violence, we must not forget the power of non-violence, dialogue and reason,” he said.

Mukherjee has been speaking against intolerance after the Dadri lynching incident and subsequent events. He said Ahimsa (or non-violence) is not a negative force and “we must free our public discourse of all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal.

Only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of the people, especially the marginalised and the dispossessed in our democratic process.” The President said Gandhiji gave us an object lesson in Ahimsa by taking the assassin’s bullets with the name of Rama on his lips.

Inaugurating the Archives and Research Centre at the Ashram, he said the real dirt of India lies not in our streets but in our minds and in our unwillingness to let go of views that divide society into ‘them’ and ‘us’, ‘pure’ and ‘impure’.

“We must make a success of the laudable and welcome Swatch Bharat Mission.However, this also must be seen as just the beginning of a much larger and intense effort to cleanse minds and fulfil Gandhiji’s vision in all its aspects,” said Mukherjee, who is on three-day maiden visit to Gujarat. He said, “So long as the dehumanising practice of carrying night soil persists, we cannot have real Swacch Bharat”.