Focus on duties, work towards strengthening nation: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday termed the Indian Constitution as the best example of global democracy, the one that keeps us aware not only of our rights, but our duties as well. Addressing the joint session of both Houses of Parliament on the occasion of 70 years of the adoption of the Constitution, the Prime Minister referred to Mahatma Gandhi as an example of someone who understood the fine balance between rights and duties.
The Constitution, he said, can be simplified in two mantras as “dignity for Indian” and “unity for India”.
“As proud citizens of India, let us think about how our actions will make our nation even stronger… The Constitution of India highlights both rights and duties of citizens. This is a special aspect of our Constitution. The relation and balance between the rights and duties were very well understood by the Father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi,” he said.
While Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Shiv Sena, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) boycotted the event to protest against political developments in Maharashtra, MPs across party lines were present for the event held in the Central Hall of Parliament, which was also addressed by President Ramnath Kovind, vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla.
In his address, Modi said there had been an emphasis on people’s rights in the last many years as a vast number of them felt deprived of equality and justice. The Prime Minister said, “Had Babasaheb Ambedkar been alive today, he would have probably been the happiest. Not only India upheld its virtues but strengthened its democracy and freedom…And that is why I bow to the Legislature, Executive and Judicial wings of the Constitution which helped in preserving the values and ideals enshrined in it.”
He pointed out that the Constitution begins with “we the people of India”, and said people are the nation’s strength, inspiration and aim.
President Kovind said the Constitution lies at the foundation of the world’s largest democracy, underlining that it is the supreme law in the country’s democratic framework.
“The most important objective and ideal presented to us by the Constitution is – to secure to all its citizens: justice, social, economic and political and equality of status and of opportunity. It is only because the Constitution makers ensured equality of opportunity that I have this opportunity to address this historic sitting of Parliament as the President of India,” Kovind said.
He also said the Constitution enshrines the ideal of building an inclusive society and also contains provisions for realising it. “Today is a great opportunity to convey our gratitude to the makers of our Constitution who gave us a system to bring about revolutionary changes peacefully by way of constitutional amendments. All Members of Parliament deserve appreciation for the several constitutional amendments passed during the last few years.”
Naidu, who is also the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, proposed to include fundamental duties in the education curriculum as well as displaying them in public places. He also suggested that a list of fundamental duties be displayed in all the educational institutions, offices and public places across the country.
“We must reach out to the youth through appropriate campaigns,” Naidu said.
Entitlements come with duties and responsibilities and nation building cannot be the responsibility of governments alone, Naidu added. “Citizens have to play an equally important role.”
He also called for giving more emphasis to respecting the mother tongue.
“Mother tongue is like our eyesight. The other language is like you spectacle. If you have eyesight, the spectacle will improve it. We must protect, preserve, promote, propagate and practice our mother tongue,” Naidu said.