Adapt Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas and maxims: President
New Delhi [India], Aug 14 (ANI): On the eve of the 72nd Independence Day on Tuesday, President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the nation and urged the students to spend a few days in villages to "understand our country." He also said that this year is special as it marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, hence, people should try and adapt his "ideas and maxims." "Independence Day is always special, but this year there is an unusual significance attached to it. In a few weeks, on October 2, we will begin the commemoration of the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji did not just lead our freedom struggle. He was and still is our moral compass. In my capacity as the President of India, I have been fortunate to have travelled around the world, particularly to a few countries of Africa. Everywhere, across continents, Gandhiji is mentioned, cherished and remembered as an icon for all humanity. He is the embodiment of India," President Kovind said. "It is not always simple to understand Gandhiji. He refused to be restricted in his definition of politics and political activism, or even of freedom. Gandhiji spoke of Swadeshi with an uncommon zeal. To him this was a pride in promoting Indian creativity and an Indian sensibility. Perhaps Gandhiji's most noble mantra was to point out that the power of 'ahinsa' is far greater than the power of 'hinsa'. This Independence Day, so close to the 150th anniversary commemoration of Gandhiji, let each of us adapt his ideas and maxims, in whatever manner we can in our everyday work and conduct. I can think of no better way to celebrate our freedom. I can think of no better way to celebrate 'Indianness'," he added. The President later went on to add that during his engagements with students and university authorities all over India, he urged students to "spend a few days - maybe four or five days in a year - in a village". "Undertaken as part of what may be termed 'University Social Responsibility', this will help students understand our country. It will allow them to observe and participate in social welfare programmes and see how they are making an impact. It will be of benefit to the individual student and to the village, as well as to the country. It will also invoke the fervour of our freedom struggle, and the identification of every citizen with the national mission," the President said. Calling August 15 as "sacred," President Kovind said that the freedom fighters of India were of "rare courage and foresight." "Freedom came to our country on the Midnight of August 14-15, 1947. It was the result of years and decades and centuries of sacrifice and valour on the part of our ancestors and our revered freedom fighters. These were men and women of rare courage and foresight. They came from all regions of the country, all sections of society, all communities and all social and economic groups," he said. "Freedom is a broader concept. It is not fixed and finite. Freedom is a constant and relentless endeavour. Even decades after 1947, each one of us can contribute in the manner of a freedom fighter. We can do so if we expand the frontiers of freedom and of opportunity for our fellow Indians and our beloved India," he added. The President later gave few examples of how farmers and various armed forces through their services "uphold our freedom." Meanwhile, he said that "women have a special role in our society". "The expansion of freedom in our country in many senses amounts to the expansion of freedom for women in our country. This is true whether we see them as mothers, sisters, daughters or simply as women who are entitled to a life of their choosing - and deserving of the opportunity and the security to fulfil their potential. They could do this as sheet-anchors of our families or as absolutely critical entrants to our institutions of higher learning and our workforce. The choice is theirs; as a nation and as a society we must ensure that they have the right and the ability to exercise that choice," PresidentKovind said. He further expressed how the Centre has facilitated "credit for women-run enterprises and start-ups or by easier availability of LPG in millions of kitchens and millions of homes." President Kovind said that the Indian society is "at the cusp of achieving many of our long-awaited goals." "Universal access to electricity, the elimination of open defecation, the elimination of homelessness, the very elimination of extreme poverty is achievable and attainable. We are at a pivotal moment. Let contentious issues and extraneous debates not distract us," he said. "After four years, we will be marking the 75th anniversary of Independence. In less than 30 years, our people will celebrate the 100th anniversary of India as a free nation. The decisions we take today, the foundations we lay today, the projects we undertake today, the social and economic investments we make today - whether for the immediate future or for the medium term - will determine where we stand. The pace of change and development in our country is rapid and appreciable," he added. President Kovind concluded his speech by saying, "With those words, I once again wish you and your families all the best for Independence Day and best wishes for a bright future."
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