Guest Column: At 75, a renewed resolve to build New India together

Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav should hold the spirit of the freedom movement, express gratitude to martyrs, and reflect the glory of Sanatan Bharat and Modern India, which glows under the twin lights of spirituality of mystics and contribution of our scientists
The writer, Manoj Sinha, is the lieutenant governor of Jammu & Kashmir
The writer, Manoj Sinha, is the lieutenant governor of Jammu & Kashmir
Updated on Mar 12, 2021 12:52 AM IST
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ByManoj Sinha

An individual or a nation turning 75 often invites anxiety. What next? But, for us, India turning 75 is a moment for joy and celebration and indicates a fresh resolve towards nation building.

A New India, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for in his address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 2017, should emerge on the 75th anniversary of Independence in 2022 from the joint strength of all.

The next 75 weeks will lay a spread to celebrate Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav to mark 75 years of independence. The impressions of resistance against the British are still young and have failed to age in our nation’s memory. March 12 is a major milestone in India’s freedom struggle against British imperialism. The day captures Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent feat to achieve freedom through the Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram in 1930.

Nation’s destiny on the cusp of change

The country’s destiny is on the cusp of a change. The emerging New India is eager to come out of the shackles of impediments that have held the nation hostage from realising human potential and development that leaders such as Gandhi had dreamt of.

The celebrations should hold the spirit of the freedom movement, express gratitude to martyrs, and reflect the glory of Sanatan Bharat and Modern India, which glows under the twin lights of the spirituality of mystics and the contribution of our scientists.

Now is the time for each one of us to take a pledge again on our duties towards the nation – that’s what Gandhi and Constitution-maker BR Ambedkar told men and women to vow for post-Independence. But ponder over what Gandhi told us that is relevant even now. “The true source of rights is duty. If we all discharge our duties, right will not be far to seek. If leaving duties unperformed we run after rights, they will escape us like a will-o’-the-wisp. The more we pursue them, the farther they fly.”

Of valour, sacrifice and compassion

History testifies that India has stood for Vasudev Kutumbhakam every time a crisis has stared at humanity. The latest insight into the country’s potential and determination was writ large in the compassionate way we distributed vaccines to other countries in our fight against Covid-19.

Free India also managed a spirited economic recovery off-setting financial costs the British had imposed. Over less than seven decades since 1947, India’s per capita income has grown six times. Similarly, other economic parameters too jumped significantly.

The culture of our country teaches us that one must visit a pilgrimage site before starting festivities. Today, my desire is fulfilled. I’ll be visiting the holy birthplace of Brigadier Rajendra Singh, an epitome of valour and sacrifice. If we’ve been able to save the soul of Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani invaders, it’s due to the gallantry of Brigadier Singh and his soldiers at Uri in October 1947.

The Women Self Defence Corps also protected the composite culture of J&K by putting their lives at stake. To commemorate 75 years of Independence, the tales of saviours such as Brigadier Rajendra Singh, Maqbool Sherwani, Subedar Major Swaran Singh and Ram Saran must reach the entire population of J&K.

Sowing seeds of a new awakening

In Mandukya Upanishad, a word, jagrit, is used to demonstrate awakening. The celebration will be a glory of our cultural heritage with the fragrance of talent pool, strength of our youth power and vision of scientists and technology experts. This occasion too will sow seeds of a new awakening for the people of J&K.

One of the stalwarts of the freedom movement, Lokmanya Tilak, was way ahead of his times. Another visionary but less told facet to his personality was the support he lent to small entrepreneurs and industrialists to have businesses of their own, a great proponent of what we now call startups and atmanirbhar (self-reliant) India. Tilak took to crowd funding to establish paisa fund, a corpus for financing village enterprises and local factories. Borrowing from Tilak’s vision, J&K has created an ecosystem for startups. Within months, the administration has registered 69 startups to allow entrepreneurs to explore and realise business opportunities in different sectors.

One of the fundamental laws of life is dignity to every human being. It’s the master key to bring peace and development. I seek the support of every citizen of J&K with the spirit of “jan bhageedari (people’s participation)” to usher in a new era of growth. Our seers, freedom fighters had taken similar steps to build the idea of New India. With this spirit, we need to work towards inclusive socio-economic development so that prosperity reaches all. That’s the J&K administration’s priority. We need to provide youngsters prospects for the future, invest more in education and skills and strengthen the position of women in society. During the next 75 weeks of celebration, we will demonstrate our shared commitment to the fundamental values of harmony, Sarv Dharm Sambhav, freedom, democracy and duties.

J&K must strive to reach milestones set out by our founding fathers.

The writer is the lieutenant governor of Jammu & Kashmir

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Monday, December 06, 2021