New Delhi: President of India Ram Nath Kovind greeted the citizens on the eve of the 72nd Republic Day of the world’s largest and most vibrant democracy by recounting the sacrifices, valour, hard work and devotion of the farmers, soldiers, scientists, doctors, and all associated with other services for ensuring self-reliance in ters of food, protecting the borders and sovereignty of the nation, and facing the challenge of the deadly COVID pandemic.
This day has come to mean a lot to all Indians living within the country and abroad, the President said adding seventy-one years ago, on this very day, the people of India adopted, enacted and gave to ourselves a unique Constitution. “For all of us, then, this is the day to also pause and ponder over the core values that the Constitution propounds. These values – Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity – outlined in the Preamble of our Constitution are sacred to all of us. I would like that we go further back into history and inquire why precisely these values guided our nation-builders,” he said
The president underscored deep respect for farmers on behalf of the people by stating every Indian salutes the farmers, who have made the vast and populous country self-reliant in food-grains and dairy products. Despite adversities of nature, numerous other challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic, the farmers sustained the agricultural production. A grateful nation is fully committed to the welfare of the farmers, he saud adding just as our hardworking farmers ensure food security for the country, the brave soldiers of the armed forces ensure security of our national boundaries amid severest conditions.
While acknowledging the bravery, patriotism and the spirit of sacrifice among the soldiers, the President said that by their contribution to food security, national security, protection against disease and disasters and to different areas of development, the scientists have strengthened our national endeavours. From space to the farms, from educational institutions to hospitals, the community of scientists has enriched our life and work. Our scientists have been working day and night for decoding the Coronavirus and they have succeeded in developing the vaccine in record time.
The President said, the Indian scientists have added a glorious chapter of contribution to the well-being of humanity. Our scientists, along with doctors, administrators and people from other walks of life, have made major contribution in containing the virus and keeping the fatality rate lower in our country, compared to that in developed countries.
Further the President said:
“Thus, all our farmers, soldiers and scientists deserve special appreciation and a grateful nation greets them on this auspicious occasion of the Republic Day. Last year, as humanity almost came to a halt in the face of a calamity of gigantic proportions, I often found myself reflecting on the central message of the Constitution.
Our effective response to the pandemic would not have been possible without our Constitutional value of ‘Fraternity’. Indians have been like a close-knit family, making exemplary sacrifices to protect each other in the face of the common enemy of Coronavirus. Along with them, about 1.5 lakh people became victims of this pandemic. Given our country’s population density, diversity of cultural traditions, natural and geographical challenges, taking precautionary measures against Covid-19 was far more difficult for us.
By conducting not only free and fair but also safe elections in Bihar which has high population density and in union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh with difficulties of access and other challenges, our democracy and the Election Commission have accomplished remarkable feats. The latest unprecedented collection of GST and India’s emergence as a most favoured destination for the foreign investment are indicative of our faster economic recovery. In every sphere, Indians rose to the occasion and put others before themselves. We Indians live and die for humanity.
I am sure that this love for humanity and the spirit of sacrifice will take us to great heights. There were miracles of a revitalising Mother Nature which taught humanity a hard lesson that the Small is not expedient but complementary to the Big. Converting a crisis into an opportunity, the Prime Minister gave a call of ‘Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, or ‘Self-reliant India Mission’. Our vibrant democracy, our enterprising and talented fellow citizens – specially the youth – energise our efforts in shaping a self-reliant India.
The demand for goods and services in the country, the domestic efforts to meet them, and the use of modern technology in such efforts are strengthening ‘Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. ‘Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ is in line with the aspiration to shape a new India by the year 2022 when our country turns 75. With that confidence, India has taken great strides in several sectors. The ‘National Education Policy 2020’, with its stress on tradition as well as technology, will lay the foundation of a New India which aspires to emerge as a knowledge hub on the international stage.
This reform promises to incubate innate talent of students and ignite their minds to take up the challenges of life. After about a year of this unforeseen ordeal, India today stands not despondent but confident. A self-reliant India has manufactured its own vaccine for Covid-19, and is now undertaking a mass vaccination drive, which will be the largest exercise of its kind in history. Today, India is being rightly called «pharmacy of the world» as we are supplying medicines and other healthcare items to several countries to alleviate people’s suffering and contain the pandemic across the globe.
The nation shall remain grateful to those brave soldiers. Though we reiterate our commitment to peace, our defence forces – Army, Air Force and Navy – are adequately mobilised in a well-coordinated move to thwart any attempt to undermine our security. Our national interest will be protected at all costs. We have also ensured a widespread understanding in the international community of India’s firm and principled stand.
India is moving forward and taking its rightful place in the world. During the recent years, its arc of influence has been expanding and encompassing the larger part of the world. The manner in which India got overwhelming support of the international community for its entry as non-permanent member in the Security Council this year is indicative of that influence. The quality of our engagement with leaders across the world has enhanced manifold.
India with its vibrant democracy has rightfully earned its respect as a responsible and trustworthy nation. I have said this before, but I will repeat that we should make it a part of our daily routine to meditate upon the life and thought of our Father of the Nation. Social equality warrants dignity for each one of us, villagers, women, weaker sections of our society, namely, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Divyang-jan and the elderly people. Economic equality entails equal opportunity for all and handholding for the downtrodden.
In our collective path ahead, Fraternity is our moral compass. Bhimrao Ambedkar mentioned in his speech to the Constituent Assembly on November 4, 1948 while presenting the draft of the Constitution. He clarified that ‘Constitutional morality’ means supremacy of the values enshrined in the Constitution. As we are set to celebrate the anniversary of our Republic, I am thinking of our brothers and sisters abroad.
Indians abroad have succeeded in different walks of life, some rising to high levels of political leadership, some contributing to science, arts, academics, civil society and business, each bringing laurels to their new homelands and also to India. I once again congratulate you all, for the Republic Day.
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