Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday 12 March 2021 flagged off the ‘Padyatra’ (Freedom March) from Sabarmati Ashram here and inaugurated the curtain raiser activities of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ (India@75).
The PM also launched various other cultural and digital initiatives for the India@75 celebrations.
Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat, Union MoS (I/C) Prahalad Singh Patel and Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani were present on the occasion.
Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav is a series of events to be organised by the Government of India to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence. The Mahotsav will be celebrated as a Jan-Utsav in the spirit of Jan-Bhagidari.
Addressing the gathering at Sabarmati Ashram, the Prime Minister noted the launch of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ 75 weeks before 15 August 2022 which will continue till 15 August, 2023. He paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi and great personalities who laid down their lives in the freedom struggle.
The Prime Minister reiterated five pillars i.e. Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolves at 75 as guiding force for moving forward keeping dreams and duties as inspiration.
The Prime Minister asserted that Azadi Amrit Mahotsav means elixir of energy of independence. It means elixir of inspirations of the warriors of freedom struggle; elixir of new ideas and pledges and nectar of Aatmnirbharta.
Talking about the symbol of salt, the Prime Minister said that salt was never valued on the basis of mere cost. For Indians, salt represents honesty, trust, loyalty, labour, equality and self reliance. He said at that time, salt was a symbol of India’s self-reliance. Along with the values of India, the British also hurt this self-reliance. People of India had to depend on salt coming from England. He said Gandhiji understood this chronic pain of the country, understood the pulse of the people and turned that into a movement.
The Prime Minister recalled the important moments in freedom struggle like the first war for Indian independence in 1857, Mahatma Gandhi’s return from abroad, reminding the nation of the power of Satyagraha, the call for complete independence by Lokmanya Tilak, the Delhi March of Azad Hind Fauj led by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the slogan of Delhi Chalo. He added that the work of continuously awakening this flame of the freedom movement, in every direction, in every region, was done by our Acharyas, saints and teachers in every corner of the country. He said in a way, the Bhakti movement prepared the stage for the nationwide freedom movement. Saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabu, Ramakrishna Paramhans, Shrimant Shankar Dev created the bedrock of a countrywide freedom struggle. Similarly, saints from all corners contributed to the consciousness of the nation and freedom struggle. There are so many dalits, adivasis, women and youth from across the country who have done innumerable sacrifices. He noted the sacrifices of unsung heroes like Kodi Katha Kumaran, a 32-year-old man from Tamil Nadu, who did not let the country’s flag fall in the ground even while shot in the head by the British. Velu Nachiyar of Tamil Nadu who was the first Maharani who fought against the British rule.
The Prime Minister remarked that the tribal society of our country, with its valor and bravery continuously worked to bring foreign rule to its knees. In Jharkhand, Birsa Munda challenged the British and the Murmu brothers led the Santhal movement. In Odisha, Chakra Bisoi waged a fight against the British and Laxman Nayak spread awareness through Gandhian methods. He listed other unsung tribal heroes who fought against the British like Manyam Virudu Alluri Siraram Raju in Andhra Pradesh who led the Rampa movement and Pasaltha Khungchera who took on the British in the hills of Mizoram. He noted other freedom fighters from Assam and Northeast like Gomdhar Konwar, Lachit Borphukan and Serat Sing who have contributed to the independence of the country. He said the country will always remember the sacrifice of Nayak tribals in Jambughoda in Gujarat and the massacre of hundreds of tribals in Mangadh.
The Prime Minister said the country has been making a conscious effort for the last six years to preserve this history, in every state and every region. The revival of the site associated with the Dandi Yatra was completed two years ago. The site where Netaji Subhash hoisted the tricolor in Andaman after the formation of the country’s first independent government is also revived. He added that the islands of Andaman and Nicobar are named after the freedom struggle. He said that the places associated with Baba Saheb have been developed in the form of Panchtirtha, the memorial in Jallianwala Bagh and memorial of the Paika movement have also been developed.
The Prime Minister said we have proved ourselves with our hard work, both in India and abroad. We are proud of our Constitution and democratic traditions. He said India, the mother of democracy, is still moving ahead by strengthening democracy. He said that India’s achievements are giving hope to the entire humanity. He added that the development journey of India is filled with AatmaNirbharta and is going to give momentum to the development journey of the whole world.
The Prime Minister urged the youth and scholars to take the responsibility for fulfilling the efforts of the country in documenting the history of our freedom fighters. He urged them to showcase the achievements in the freedom movement to the world. He also urged the people associated with art, literature, theatrical world, film industry and digital entertainment, to explore the unique stories that are scattered in our past and bring them to life.