President of India Smt. Draupadi Murmu Address to the nation on the eve of 75th Republic Day
My dear countrymen,
I extend my hearty greetings to all of you on the eve of the seventy-fifth Republic Day. When I look back at how far we have come despite adverse circumstances, my heart fills with pride. The seventy-fifth year of our Republic is, in many ways, a historic milestone in the country’s journey. This is a special occasion to celebrate, just as we celebrated the incomparable greatness and diverse culture of our country during the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ on the completion of 75 years of independence.
Tomorrow we will celebrate the commencement of the Constitution. The Preamble of the Constitution begins with the words “We, the People of India”. These words underline the basic idea of our Constitution, i.e. democracy. India’s democratic system is much older than the Western concept of democracy. That is why India is called the “Mother of Democracy”.
After a long and difficult struggle, our country became free from foreign rule on August 15, 1947. But, even at that time, the work of formulating appropriate basic principles and processes was going on for good governance in the country and for giving free expansion to the inherent abilities and talents of the countrymen.
The Constituent Assembly held detailed discussions on all aspects of good governance for about three years and drafted the great foundational text of our nation, the Constitution of India. On this day, all of us countrymen gratefully remember those visionary public leaders and officials who made invaluable contributions in the making of our grand and inspiring Constitution.
Our country is moving towards the century of independence and is passing through the initial phase of Amrit Kaal. This is a period of epochal change. We have got a golden opportunity to take our country to new heights.
The contribution of every citizen will be vital to achieve our goals. For this, I would request all the countrymen to follow our fundamental duties enshrined in the Constitution. These duties are essential responsibilities of every citizen towards making India a developed nation by the time it completes 100 years of independence.
In this context I remember Mahatma Gandhi. Bapu had rightly said, “No people who have wanted only rights has been able to progress. Only those subjects have been able to progress who have performed their duties religiously.”
My dear countrymen,
Republic Day is an important occasion to remember our fundamental values and principles. When we reflect on one of those basic principles, all the other principles naturally come to our attention as well. Diversity of culture, beliefs and traditions is an inherent dimension of our democracy. This celebration of our diversity is based on equality protected by justice. All this is possible only in an environment of freedom. The totality of these values and principles is the basis of our Indianness. Doctor B. R. The spirit of the Constitution, embedded in these fundamental life values and principles, flowing under the enlightened guidance of Ambedkar, has kept us steadfast on the path of social justice to eliminate all forms of discrimination.
I would like to mention that the birth centenary celebration of Shri Karpoori Thakur ji, who fought continuously for social justice, was completed yesterday. Karpuri ji was one of the greatest advocates of the backward classes who dedicated his entire life to their welfare. His life was a message. I pay my tribute to Karpoori ji for enriching public life with his contribution.
More than 140 crore Indians live as one family, united by the basic spirit of our Republic. For this world’s largest family, the spirit of co-existence is not a burden imposed by geography, but a natural source of collective joy, which finds expression in our Republic Day celebrations.
Earlier this week, we all witnessed the historic ceremony of consecration of the idol installed in the grand temple built at the birthplace of Lord Shri Ram in Ayodhya. In the future, when this event will be seen in a broader perspective, historians will interpret it as a watershed event in India’s continued search for its civilizational heritage.
After due judicial process and the decision of the Supreme Court of the country, the construction work of the temple started. Now it stands as a grand structure. This temple not only expresses the faith of the people but is also a proof of the immense faith of our countrymen in the judicial process.
Our national festivals are important occasions when we look back at the past and also look towards the future. If we look at one year since the last Republic Day, we feel very happy. The successful holding of the G20 Summit in Delhi under India’s chairmanship was an unprecedented achievement.
The participation of the general public in the events related to G20 is especially noteworthy. The flow of ideas and suggestions in these events was not from top to bottom but from bottom to top. A lesson has also been learned from that grand event that ordinary citizens can also be made participants in an issue of such deep and international importance which ultimately impacts their own future. India’s emergence as a voice of the Global South was also promoted through the G20 summit,
Due to which an essential element was included in the process of international dialogue.
When Parliament passed the historic Women’s Reservation Bill, our country moved towards the ideal of equality between men and women. I believe that ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Act’ will prove to be a revolutionary medium of women empowerment. This will also help a lot in improving our governance processes. When women’s participation increases on issues of collective importance, our administrative priorities will be better aligned with the needs of the public.
During the same period, India became the first country to land on the south pole region of the Moon. After Chandrayaan-3, ISRO also launched a solar mission. Recently Aditya L1 has been successfully placed in ‘Halo Orbit’. India has started the new year with the launch of its first X-ray Polarimeter Satellite, called ExoSat. This satellite will study the mysteries of space like ‘black holes’. Many other space missions are planned during the year 2024. It is a matter of happiness that many new achievements are going to be achieved in India’s space journey.
Preparations for our first human space flight programme, ‘Gaganyaan Mission’ are progressing smoothly. We have always been proud of our scientists and technologists, but now they are setting higher goals than ever before and achieving the results accordingly. India’s space program aims to further expand and deepen the role of science and technology for the welfare of all humanity. The enthusiasm shown among the countrymen towards ISRO’s program is infusing new hopes.
New achievements in the field of space science have given new wings to the imagination of the young generation. I am confident that interest in science will increase among our children and youth on a large scale and scientific attitude will develop in them. These achievements in space science will inspire youth, especially young women, to make science and technology their field of work.
My dear countrymen,
Today’s India is moving forward with confidence. A strong and healthy economy is both the reason and result of this confidence. In recent years, our GDP growth rate has been the highest among major economies. Based on solid estimates, we are confident that this exceptional performance will continue through 2024 and beyond.
I find it particularly noteworthy that under the same long-term planning vision which has given impetus to the economy, well-thought-out public welfare campaigns have also been promoted to make development inclusive in every aspect. During the pandemic days, the government had increased the scope of the schemes implemented to provide free food grains to the weaker sections of the society.
Later, these welfare schemes were continued to help the vulnerable sections of the population overcome the crisis. Taking this initiative further, the government has decided to provide free food grains to more than 81 crore people for the next five years. Probably, this is the largest public welfare program of its kind in history.
Besides, many time bound schemes are also being implemented to ease the living of all citizens. From the availability of safe and adequate drinking water at home to the secure feeling of owning a home, these are all basic minimum requirements, not privileges.
These issues transcend any political or economic ideology and must be viewed from a humanitarian perspective. The government has not only expanded and promoted public welfare schemes, but has also given a new meaning to the concept of public welfare. We all will feel proud the day India joins the few countries where hardly anyone is homeless.
With this thinking of inclusive welfare, due priority is being given in the ‘National Education Policy’ to bridging the digital divide and building an education system based on equality in the interest of students from deprived sections. The aim is to cover all beneficiaries under the extended protection cover of ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojana’. This protection has instilled a huge confidence among the people of poor and weaker sections.
Our players have brought glory to India on international platforms. In the Asian Games held last year, we created history with a new record of 107 medals and in the Asian Para Games we won 111 medals. It is a matter of great pleasure that women are making such an impressive contribution to our medal tally. The success of our best players has inspired children to participate in various sports, which has greatly boosted their self-confidence. I am confident that our players, full of new confidence, will perform even better in the upcoming Paris Olympics.
In recent times, wars are taking place at many places in the world and many parts of the world are suffering from violence. When each of the two conflicting parties believes that only his own point of view is right and the other’s point of view is wrong, then in such a situation one should proceed on the basis of solution-oriented logic.
Unfortunately, in place of reason, mutual fear and prejudice have fueled passion, leading to unrelenting violence. There have been many tragic incidents of large-scale human tragedies, and we are all deeply distressed by this human suffering. In such circumstances, we are reminded of the pithy words of Lord Buddha:
Na hi veren verani, sammantidh kudachanam
Avaren Cha Sammanti, S Dhammo Sanantano
Its meaning is:
“Here enmity is never quelled through enmity, but rather through non-enmity. This is the eternal law.”
From Vardhaman Mahavir and Emperor Ashoka to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, India has always set an example that non-violence is not just an ideal difficult to achieve, but a clear possibility. Not only this, but for many people this is a living reality. We hope that in areas embroiled in conflicts, ways will be found to resolve those conflicts and establish peace.
India’s ancient knowledge can guide the world community in overcoming the global environmental crisis. I am very happy to see India taking the lead in promoting renewable sources of energy and providing leadership to Global Climate Action. India has started the ‘LiFE Movement’ to adopt an environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Individual behavior change is being given priority in facing the issue of climate change in our country and is being appreciated by the world community. Residents everywhere can and should contribute by adapting their lifestyle to nature. This will not only help in preserving the earth for future generations but will also enhance the quality of life.
Unprecedented technological changes are also going to take place during the period of Amrit Kaal till we complete 100 years of our independence. Technological changes like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have moved out of the headlines and into our daily lives at extraordinary speed. There are concerns about the future in many areas, but there are also many encouraging opportunities, especially for the youth.
Our youth are looking beyond the present limitations and exploring new possibilities. We have to do everything possible to remove obstacles from their path and facilitate them to realize their full potential. Our young generation wants that everyone should have equality of opportunity. They do not want old jargon related to equality, but want to see the real embodiment of our precious ideal of equality.
In fact, the future India is being built on the strength of the self-confidence of our youth. The work of grooming the minds of the youth is done by our teachers who truly shape the future of the nation.
I express my gratitude to our farmers and laborer brothers and sisters who work hard silently and make a huge contribution in improving the future of the country. On the eve of the auspicious occasion of Republic Day, all the countrymen also gratefully greet our armed forces, police and para-military forces. Without their bravery and vigilance, we could not have achieved the impressive achievements we have.
Before I end my speech, I would also like to extend my best wishes to the members of the judiciary and civil services. I congratulate the officers of Indian missions abroad and the people of the overseas Indian community on Republic Day. Let us all resolve to dedicate ourselves to the service of the nation and our countrymen to the best of our ability. My heartiest congratulations to all of you for your efforts to fulfill this auspicious resolution!
Thank you! Jai Hind! Victory to India!