Next 25 years key to lost glory, says Modi
The PM also hit out at those attempting to tarnish the country’s image abroad by publishing “misinformation”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday kicked off the celebrations marking 75 years of India’s Independence by stressing on the need to create a system free of discrimination and a society that stands on the foundation of equality and social justice.
Delivering the keynote address at the national launch ceremony of the ‘Azadi Ke Amrit Mahotsav se Swarnim Bharat Ke Ore’ virtually, Modi asserted that an India whose thinking and approach is innovative is fast emerging, and added that the next 25 years – ahead of the country’s centenary in 2047 – will be crucial in regaining lost glory.
“Amrit Kaal is not for dreaming while sleeping, but for deliberate fulfilling of our resolutions. The coming 25 years are the period of utmost hard work, sacrifice, and ‘tapasya’ (penance). This period of 25 years is for getting back what our society has lost in hundreds of years of slavery, ” he said.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Rajasthan governor Kalraj Mishra, chief ministers of Rajasthan and Gujarat Ashok Gehlot and Bhupendra Patel, respectively and Union ministers G Kishan Reddy, Bhupender Yadav, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Parshottam Rupala and Kailash Choudhary joined the ceremony virtually.
The PM also hit out at those attempting to tarnish the country’s image abroad by publishing “misinformation”. “We cannot get away from this by saying that this is just politics. This is not politics; this is the question of our country. Today, when we are celebrating the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, it is also our responsibility that the world should know India properly,” he said.
“You all have been witness to various efforts being made to malign India’s image. A lot of it goes on at the international level too,” he added.
Launching yearlong initiatives dedicated to the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav by the Brahma Kumaris, a spiritual organisation, that includes more than 30 campaigns and over 15,000 programmes and events, Modi said people only talked of their rights all these years and fought for them. “Speaking of rights may be correct to some extent in certain circumstances but forgetting one’s duties completely has played a huge role in keeping India weak,” he said.
“Light a lamp in the heart of every citizen of the country -- the lamp of duty. Together, we will take the country forward on the path of duty, then the evils prevailing in the society will also be removed and the country will reach new heights,” he added.
The celebrations for 75 years of independence will begin with Republic Day celebrations, which from this year will start on January 23 instead of January 24 to include the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as part of the government’s “focus to commemorate important aspects of our history and culture”.
The event was held on the occasion of the 53rd ascension anniversary of Pitashree Prajapita Brahma, founding father of the Brahma Kumaris movement. In his address, Modi mentioned the Indian tradition of venerating and giving importance to women and said, “When the world was in deep darkness and caught in the old thinking about women, India used to worship women as Maatri Shakti and Goddess.”
He also paid special tribute to the women who played a key role in India’s freedom struggle. “From Kittur’s Rani Chennamma, Matangini Hazra, Rani Lakshmibai, Veerangana Jhalkari Bai to, in the social sphere, Ahilyabai Holkar and Savitribai Phule maintained India’s identity,” Modi said. “It is because of these women that today the country’s daughter can join the armed forces,” he added.
“Even in the country’s democratic setup, women are playing a bigger role. Women outvoted men in the 2019 polls. Now, society itself is guiding such change.”
He urged people to keep India’s culture and values alive and to preserve and promote its spirituality and diversity. At the same time, he emphasised the need to continuously modernise the systems of technology, infrastructure, education and health.