Amid protests, President asks youth to follow non-violence on eve of R-Day

President Ram Nath Kovind.
In his customary address to the nation on the eve of 71st Republic Day on Saturday, President Ram Nath Kovind appealed to the youth to remember Mahatma Gandhi’s message of ahimsa, or non-violence, “when fighting for a cause” and B R Ambedkar’s advise to “hold fast to constitutional methods” of achieving social and economic objectives.


The President’s comments come amid nationwide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. For over a month now, protesters across the country have held aloft the photographs of Gandhi and Ambedkar as their guiding lights.


Kovind said Gandhi’s talisman for deciding whether an act is right or wrong also applies to the functioning of our democracy. He said the government and Opposition both have important roles to play. “While giving expression to their political ideas, both must move forward in tandem to ensure that development of the country and welfare of its people are promoted consistently,” the President said.


He also recalled the words of Ambedkar. “If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgment we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives,” Kovind said, quoting Ambedkar.


Kovind said modern India comprises of three organs — legislature, executive and judiciary — which are necessarily interlinked and interdependent. “Yet, on ground, the people comprise the State. ‘We the People’ are the prime movers of the Republic. With us... rests the real power to decide our collective future,” he said.


In his televised address, Kovind said the current decade will be “the decade of the rise of New India and a new generation of Indian”.  He said with advances in technology, youth of today are better informed and more confident. “The next generation remains strongly committed to the core values of our nation. For our youth, the nation always comes first. With them, we are witnessing the emergence of a New India,” he said.

“We remain committed to engaging the global community to build a secure and prosperous future for ourselves and for the entire humanity”, said Ram Nath Kovind, President


Speaking about security, he said strong internal security is essential for the development of the country. “I have nothing but unreserved praise for our armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces. Their sacrifices to preserve the integrity and unity of our country present a saga of unparalleled courage and discipline,” he said.


Kovind said as India and Indians march forward, “we remain committed to engaging the global community to build a secure and prosperous future for ourselves and for the entire humanity”.

He made a mention about the achievement of Indian Space Research Organisation and said they were making further progress in Mission Gaganyaan. "... The nation excitedly looks forward to the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme gaining further momentum this year."


Speaking about number of welfare scheme launched by the government, Kovind highlighted the ‘Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan' which has achieved astounding success in such a short time.


He said the same spirit could be seen in other endeavours and added "be it giving up cooking fuel subsidy or pushing digital payments, the common man has made the government programmes his own, making them truly effective."


He said along with the welfare of needy, every policy initiative of the government is guided by the “nation-first” principle and there is a consistent effort by the government to ensure overall development of each and every part of the country – be it Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the states in the Northeast or our Islands in the Indian Ocean.


The president also spoke about sound education system built in ancient times, with the setting up of great universities like Nalanda and Takshashila.


"In India, knowledge has always been considered more valuable than power, fame or riches. In our tradition, educational institutions are respected as temples of learning." He said the educational system mereged as path of empowerment after a long colonial rule.


"Even though the development of our educational institutions commenced soon after Independence, in an environment of scarcity of resources, our achievements in the field of education have followed a remarkable trajectory," he said.


The President added that the endeavour was to ensure that no child or youth was denied education. “At the same time, we need to strive to reach global education standards by continuous reform of our educational systems."


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