President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said that the diversity and vibrancy of India’s democracy is appreciated all over the world and this spirit of unity and “of being one nation” is celebrated every year as Republic Day. In his address on the eve of 73rd Republic Day, the President recalled the contribution of freedom fighters and said Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, whose 125th birth anniversary was observed on January 23, adopted the energizing salutation of ‘Jai Hind’. He said Netaji’s “quest for independence and ambition to make India proud inspire people”.
The President said that rights and duties are two sides of the same coin and observance of fundamental duties mentioned in the constitution creates a proper environment for the enjoyment of fundamental rights.
He said Republic Day is an occasion to celebrate what “is common to us all, our Indian-ness”.
“It was on this day in 1950 that this sacred essence of us all assumed a formal shape. That day, India was established as the largest democratic republic and ‘we the people’ put into effect a Constitution that is an inspired document of our collective vision. The diversity and vibrancy of our democracy is appreciated worldwide. It is this spirit of unity and of being one nation which is celebrated every year as Republic Day. This year’s celebrations may be muted due to the pandemic, but the spirit is as strong as ever,” he said.
The President recalled the contributions of Babasaheb Ambedkar as chairman of the drafting committee of the Constitution and said the members, who were leading lights of freedom struggle, discussed threadbare every Article, every phrase and every word, on behalf of the people.
“While the text of the Constitution, dealing with the details of the workings of the State, is quite long, the Preamble sums up its guiding principles – Democracy, Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. They form the bedrock on which our Republic stands. These are the values that form our collective inheritance,” he said.
“These values have been accorded primacy in our Constitution in the form of Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties of the citizens. Rights and duties are two sides of the same coin. The observance of the Fundamental Duties mentioned in the Constitution by the citizens creates the proper environment for enjoyment of Fundamental Rights,” he added.
The President said by fulfilling the fundamental duty of rendering national service when called upon to do so, crores of people have transformed the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the COVID vaccination drive into mass movements. “A great deal of credit for the success of such campaigns goes to our dutiful citizens. I am sure that our people will continue to strengthen the campaigns of national interest with their active participation and will demonstrate the same dedication,” he said.
The President said that the Constitution of India was enacted and adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949, “which we now celebrate as Constitution Day but it was made effective two months later”. This was done to mark that day in 1930 when India resolved to win complete freedom. From 1930 to 1947, every year January 26 was celebrated as ‘Purna Swaraj Day’, and that was the day chosen to put the Constitution into force.
Recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s words on how ‘Purna Swaraj Day’ was to be celebrated, the President said he “wanted us to look inside, introspect and strive to become better human beings, and then also look outside, join hands with others, and contribute towards the making of a better India and a better world”.