President on ‘tough lessons of life’ taught by Covid in address to nation
Even as the Modi government’s handling of the Covid situation has come under immense criticism in the political circle, the President said that the Centre, “while anticipating the tremendous challenge, responded effectively and well in time”.Updated: Aug 14, 2020 22:11 IST
India has been at the forefront in evolving regional and global strategies for an effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its timely and “super-human efforts” contained the virus and saved many lives back home, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday as he addressed the nation on the eve of the 74th Independence Day.
At the same time, he indirectly slammed China for their “misadventure of expansion”, warned that the country is capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression” and saw the construction of Ayodhya’s Ram Temple as a “moment of pride for all”.
As India gears up to an unprecedented subdued celebration of Independence Day, Kovind touted covid warriors as national heroes, said the pandemic has taught “tough lessons” of life and “demolished the illusion that human being is the master of nature.” He appealed to humanity to “correct its course and live in harmony with nature” and said the crisis offered opportunities for economic revival.
Even as the Modi government’s handling of the Covid situation has come under immense criticism in the political circle, the President said that the Centre, “while anticipating the tremendous challenge, responded effectively and well in time” and added that it requires “super-human efforts for a country so vast and diverse with high population density” to meet these challenges. Kovind said India’s committed efforts that “succeeded in containing the magnitude of the pandemic and saving a large number of lives” is worth emulating by the wider world.
The pandemic, like climate change, has awakened the global community to our shared destiny, said Kovind as he saw more importance in ‘human-centric collaboration’ than ‘economy-centric inclusion’. He also appealed to rise above all man-made differences, strengthen virtue in conduct, expand public health infrastructure and accelerate developments in science and technology—a reminder on how India built covid-related medical items such as ventilators or PPE kits almost from a scratch and now is able to even export to other countries.
“Coronavirus does not recognize any artificial divisions created by human society. This reinforces the belief that we need to rise above all man-made differences, prejudices, and barriers. Compassion and mutual help have been adopted as basic values by the people in India. We need to further strengthen this virtue in our conduct. Only then can we create a better future for all of us,” Kovind said.
Without naming China, Kovind spoke about how “some in our neighbourhood tried to carry out their misadventure of expansion”, referring to the Galwan valley clash that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. He said the world community “needs to fight together against the greatest challenge before humanity”- coronavirus.
Kovind, the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces, described the martyrs as “worthy sons of Bharat Mata” and cautioned that “their bravery in combat has demonstrated that while we believe in peace, we are also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression.”
Kovind’s speech, just 10 days after the bhumi pujan of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, dubbed the event as “a moment of pride for all” as he mentioned how people maintained “restraint and patience” for a long time and reposed “unflinching trust in the judicial system”.
“The issue of Ram Janmabhoomi was resolved through judicial process. All concerned parties and the people respectfully accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court and displayed before the world, Indian ethos of peace, non-violence, love and harmony,” said the President.
In the backdrop of the pandemic that altered lives and played havoc with global economy, the President narrated all welfare interventions such as ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana’ to help the poor and daily wage-earners—the worst-hit people in the pandemic—and enabled millions to earn their livelihood, and mitigate the impact of job-loss.
He also spoke about the largest free foodgrain distribution programme to help about 80 crore people every month while ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ brought back more than 10 lakh Indians through the Indian Railways.
“In responding to calls from countries for supply of medicines, India has once again shown that it stands by the global community in times of distress. We have been at the forefront in evolving regional and global strategies for an effective response to the pandemic. The overwhelming support India got at the elections for the non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council is a testimony to the goodwill we enjoy internationally,” said Kovind.
As India embarked on a new Atmanirbhar policy to boost its internal economic potential, Kovind sent a message that India’s tradition has always been not to live for ourselves, “but work for the well-being of the entire world”.
“India’s self-reliance means being self-sufficient without alienating or creating distance from the world. It implies that India will continue to engage with the world economy while maintaining its identity,” the President said.