My heartiest greetings to all of you, in India and abroad, on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day! It is an occasion to celebrate what is common to us all, our Indian-ness. It was on this day in 1950 that this sacred essence of us all assumed a formal shape.
That day, India was established as the largest democratic republic and “we the people” put into effect a constitution that is an inspired document of our collective vision. The diversity and vibrancy of our democracy is appreciated worldwide. It is this spirit of unity and of being one nation which is celebrated every year as Republic Day. This year’s celebrations may be muted due to the pandemic, but the spirit is as strong as ever.
Writing in 1930, Mahatma Gandhi had advised fellow citizens how “Purna Swaraj Day” was to be celebrated. He had said, and I quote: “Remember that since we desire to attain our end by nonviolent and truthful means only, we can do so only through self-purification. We should therefore devote the day to doing such constructive work as lies in our power to do.”
Needless to say, Gandhiji’s advice is timeless. He would have liked us to celebrate the Republic Day in the same manner. He wanted us to look inside, introspect and strive to become better human beings, and then also look outside, join hands with others, and contribute towards the making of a better India and a better world.
The world has never been in so much need of help as now. It has been over two years now and humankind is still battling with the coronavirus. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, and the world economy has been reeling under the impact. The world has suffered from unprecedented misery, and surge after surge of new variants have been posing new crises. It has been an extraordinary challenge to humankind.
A time of crisis has also made us appreciate how we all Indians are connected as one family. The time of social distancing has brought us close to each other. We have realized how much we depend on each other. Doctors, nurses and paramedics have risen to the challenge, working long hours in difficult conditions even at the risk of their lives to attend to patients. Others have kept the nation moving, managing supply chains and utilities. The leadership, policymakers, administrators and others at the central and state levels have made timely interventions.
Due to such interventions the economy is on the move again. It is a testimony to India’s spirit in the face of adversity that the economy is projected to grow at an impressive rate in this fiscal, after going through contraction last year.
Let us gratefully recall the sacrifices of the many men and women who laid down their lives for our freedom on the occasion of Republic Day.
Ram Nath Kovind, President of India
Small and medium enterprises have played an important role in providing employment to people and imparting impetus to the economy. Our innovative young entrepreneurs have set new benchmarks of success by making effective use of the startup ecosystem. It is a testimony to the success of our country’s massive and robust digital payment platform that millions of digital transactions are being done every month.
To reap the demographic dividend, the government has created the right environment with the National Education Policy that makes a perfect blend of traditional values and modern skills. It is gratifying to note that India has found a place among the top 50 innovative economies. It is all the more satisfying to note that we have been able to promote merit while also stressing upon all-round inclusion.
This year, India will cross a milestone when it completes 75 years of independence. We are celebrating this occasion as “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.” It is heartening to note that our people, especially youngsters, are participating enthusiastically in a variety of events and programs organized to commemorate the landmark year. It is a great opportunity for not only the next generation but all of us to reconnect with our past.
Our freedom struggle was an inspiring chapter in our splendid saga. In this 75th year of independence, let us rediscover the values that animated our glorious national movement. Many men and women laid down their lives for our freedom. Our freedom fighters have suffered unimaginable torture and made countless sacrifices for us to enjoy the festivals of Independence Day and Republic Day. Let us gratefully recall their immortal sacrifices on the occasion of Republic Day.
I once again wish all of you a Happy Republic Day! Jai Hind!
- Excerpted from the Indian president’s speech delivered on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day.