The multiple institutions in a democracy must respect their “fraternal relationship” with each other, and are more important than any individual, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday.

Speaking on the eve of Republic Day, Kovind said people who disagree with each other without mocking anyone’s dignity and privacy were a key feature of a “civic-minded nation”. He said such a nation is “built by civic-minded neighbourhoods”, and urged citizens not to “inconvenience neighbours” while celebrating festivals and staging protests.

Friday marks the first Republic Day since Kovind became president in July 2017.

Citing the scheme that encourages citizens to give up subsidy on cooking gas, Kovind said that philanthropy was “part of our age-old culture”. “Let us renew it,” he added.

Kovind spoke of nation building as a “grand project”, which is a compilation of “a billion smaller projects”. He said, “Nation building is also about building a family, building a neighbourhood, building a community, building an enterprise, building an institution. And building society.”

The president called for “equal-opportunity” families and communities that give girls the same rights and access as boys. The government can make laws and policies to bring gender justice, but they will not work until families and communities “hear the voices of our daughters”, he said. “We cannot shut our ears to their urgings for change,” Kovind added.