It was a befitting finale to the Independence Day celebrations as the central hall of Parliament reverberated with musical notes and pearls of wisdom coming from the country's noted artists and writers.
<b1>Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Aman and Ayan Ali set the tone for what turned to be a simple and impressive function. Gandhi's favourite bhajan
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram
flowed from the Khan clan's instruments.
Noted litterateur and poet Javed Akhtar added colour with the rendition of his
specially penned for the occasion. The poem was a eulogy of empowerment of the poor through the democratic system. "Those silenced for centuries want justice and cry: answer our questions, we want to know……" amply reflected the tenor of his expression.
Renowned vocalist Pandit Jasraj sang Javed Akhtar's composition praising the advent of freedom: “Hamare desh mein adhi raat ko suraj nikala…” Jasraj sang in his own inimitable style to mesmerise the august gathering.
Addressing the gathering, President Pratibha Patil focused on the prime need to spread literacy. "Universal education is the key to a prosperous and successful India," she said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke about making the government's delivery system more effective. For this, he said, eradicating corruption should be the primary goal. "The cancer of corruption must be extinguished if democracy and development have to have a real meaning," he said. Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee referred to some "troubling signs of deterioration of standards", without elaborating.