President’s address to the nation on the eve of India’s 70th Independence Day, 2016

On the eve of sixty-ninth anniversary of our Independence, President Pranab Mukherjee’s in his fifth address to the nation quoted:

  • The collective wisdom of our society and our polity gives me the confidence that such forces will remain marginalized and India’s remarkable growth story will continue uninterrupted.
  • The safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society. Every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of the civilization. We cannot call ourselves a civilized society if we fail in this duty.
  • Democracy is more than a periodic exercise of choices to elect the government. The great tree of liberty requires constant nourishment through the institutions of democracy. Disruptions, obstructionism and un-mindful pursuit of a divisive political agenda by groups and individuals lead to nothing but institutional travesty and Constitutional subversion. Polarizing debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse.
  • The Constitution has clearly defined the duties and responsibilities of every organ of the state. It has established the ancient Indian ethos of “Maryada” as far as Authorities and Institutions of State power are concerned. The spirit of the Constitution has to be upheld by adherence to this “Maryada” by the functionaries in the discharge of their duties.
  • Our foreign policy has shown considerable dynamism in recent times. We have reinvigorated our historic bonds of friendship with traditional partners of Africa and Asia Pacific. We are in the process of forging new relationships based on shared values and mutual benefit with all countries, especially our immediate and extended neighbourhood. There will be no stepping back on our “neighbourhood first policy”. Close bonds of history, culture, civilization and geography provide the people of South Asia with an extraordinary opportunity to carve out a common destiny and to march together towards prosperity. This opportunity must be seized without delay. India’s focus in foreign policy will remain on peaceful co-existence and harnessing technology and resources for its economic development. Recent initiatives have enhanced energy security, promoted food security, and created international partnerships to take our flagship development programmes forward.
  • India will grow, only when all of India grows. The excluded ones have to be included in the development process. The hurt and the alienated have to be brought back into the mainstream. In this age of technological advance, machines are being pitted against men. The only way to survive this is to acquire knowledge and skills, and learn to innovate. Inclusive innovations linked to the aspirations of our people can benefit a wide spectrum of society as well as preserve our diversity. We as a nation must nurture creativity, science and technology. Here, our schools and institutions of higher learning have a special responsibility.

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