The following text is excerpted from the Indian president's speech delivered on the eve of the 72nd Republic Day:
NEW DELHI: Greetings to all of you on the 72nd Republic Day of the world’s largest and most vibrant democracy. In this land of ours, enriched by diversity, with many festivals, our national festivals are celebrated by everyone with great patriotic fervor. We celebrate the national festival of the Republic Day with enthusiasm and express our respect for the national flag, and our faith in the constitution.
This day has come to mean a lot to all Indians living within the country and abroad. Seventy-one years ago, on this very day, we 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. Its abiding adherence is meant not only for those who are mandated to govern but for the people at large.
The adversities of the previous year have only reminded us of what we have always known deep in our hearts — that care and concern for humanity and the feeling of fraternity is what kept us together for millennia. In every sphere, Indians rose to the occasion, and put others before themselves. We Indians live and die for humanity.
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 — especially the youth — energize 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 the “Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.” Under this mission, steps have been taken for economic growth as well as employment generation by promoting micro, small and medium enterprises and making the startup ecosystem more robust. It has become a movement being taken forward by the people themselves.
Adversity often plays the role of a great teacher. It makes us stronger and more confident. With that confidence, India has taken great strides in several sectors. Economic reforms have continued apace and have been supplemented by long-pending reforms in the areas of labor and agriculture through legislation. The path to reform at the initial stages may cause misapprehensions. However, it is beyond doubt that the government remains singularly devoted to farmers’ welfare.
Equally salient but touching more lives directly is the comprehensive reform in education which was long overdue. 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.
The net outcome of all these efforts is before us. After about a year of this unforeseen ordeal, India today stands not despondent but confident. The slowdown has turned out to be transitory, as the economy has regained its dynamism. 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. Now we also provide vaccines to other countries.
While we celebrate the anniversary of our republic, I am thinking of our brothers and sisters abroad. Our diaspora is our pride. 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. Republic Day greetings to you from the land of your ancestors!
I once again congratulate you all on the occasion of Republic Day.