Time to retire cynicism, bring in hope: Justin Trudeau at IIMA

Trudeau says cynicism is one thing that he is afraid of as he stressed the need to be hopeful and strive for the best

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The Trudeaus try their hands at a charkha at the Sabarmati Ashram on Monday

The way people easily draw lines along communities is deeply worrisome as they start thinking less about their society and worst about their neighbours and fellow citizens, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an address at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, on Monday.

Trudeau said cynicism is one thing that he is afraid of as he stressed the need to be hopeful and strive for the best. Heterogeneous society is the new reality and the biggest challenge is to understand how differences can become a source of strength, he told the gathering.

On the idea of a citizen, he said, "When you think of a typical citizen of South Korea or South Africa, certain images come to your mind. But as you get more heterogeneous as a society, that idea of typical citizens no longer rests on surface attributes like language, religion, ideology. It is anchored, instead, in shared values, values that society collectively ascribes or subscribe to. We should define more and more through shared values that anyone from any part of the world can come and adapt to."

The definition of a Canadian, he said, has nothing to do with what one looks like but has much more to do with openness to fashion, openness to work, desire to be with each other, love for hockey. "This approach is something that a lot of societies are struggling with and they are turning inward to nationalism and protectionism."

On a concluding note, the 46-year-old PM told the students that every choice that they make shapes the world around them and they have a gift of education so they should make sure more people get that gift. "There has to be hope for the future. The idea of detaching oneself from caring too much is very tempting but this trend is very worrisome. Hope is important and can usher growth."

The Canadian PM, his wife, and their three children are on a week-long visit to India. Earlier in the day, the family visited the Sabarmati Ashram.

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