Hon'ble Vice-President, all senior members, all the distinguished parliamentarians present today and all other dignitaries.
As far as I know Venkaiah ji, I don't think farewell is possible. Even after the 11th, you might get a call for some work, or for some information, or just to enquire about any important development in your life. That is, in a way, he is always active in every moment. He is present amidst everyone in every moment and this has been his greatest virtue. Looking back at his life, I want to talk about the period when I used to work for the party organization and Atalji's government was formed. The council of ministers was being formed. As I was handling organizational matters, naturally the interaction between me and Venkaiah ji was a bit more. It was also assumed that a senior leader like Venkaiah ji from the South would definitely become a minister. He told me that although it was the prerogative of the Prime Minister as to who would become a minister and the kind of work and department that each minister would get, he didn't want any glamorous department. He said that if the Prime Minister did not mind, then he would like to work for rural development. Rural development was on his mind. That is, this passion is a huge thing in itself.
Atalji had other tasks in mind for Venkaiah ji, but since Venkaiah ji had this on his mind, Atalji had taken the needful decision and Venkaiah ji had performed the task very well. Now there is one more thing to his credit. Venkaiah ji is perhaps someone who has not only looked after the Ministry of Rural Development, but also the Ministry of Urban Development. That is, in a way, he showed his mastery in both the major aspects of development.
He was perhaps the first Vice-President, the first Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who was a member of the Rajya Sabha. Very few people have this fortune. Perhaps Venkaiah ji is the only person to have got this. Now someone who has been in the Rajya Sabha for a long time and has looked after the work of parliamentary affairs, means he knows everything that happens in the House, the 'behind the scenes', things that different parties do and the possible actions from the Treasury Benches. He had a very good idea of all these things and that is why as a Chairman he knew both the sides very well. On one hand, this experience was useful to the Treasury Bench while on the other hand would also cause trouble for the friends from the opposition. But he thought of the ways to make the House more efficient and to get the best out of the House for the nation. He ensured that Parliamentary committees were more productive and outcome-oriented for value addition. Venkaiah ji is probably the first Chairman to have cared so much about the functioning of Parliamentary Committees. He had made constant efforts to improve it by expressing his pleasure and displeasure regarding them.
I hope that today as we applaud the work of Venkaiah ji, we should also resolve to fulfill the expectations that he had as a Chairman from us as Members of Parliament. If we follow his advice in our lives, I believe it will be a great service.
Venkaiah ji used most of his time travelling a lot. He would personally visit different places. That was his life during the last five decades. But during the corona period, one day we were just sitting casually and chatting. I asked, due to this corona pandemic and lockdown, who is going to face trouble the most? Everyone was baffled with my question. I asked again, who will suffer the most? No one answered. So I said, "in this situation, the person to suffer the most is Venkaiah Naidu ji". It is because he has always been into some activity or work. Sitting in one place was a great punishment for him. But he is an innovative person. He made creative use of this corona period. He used to " Tele-Travel". I do not know whether this terminology is right or not. He used to sit with his telephone diary in the morning and would call 30, 40 or 50 people daily; the people he came across in the last 50 years while travelling around the country, the people in his public life or political life. He would enquire about their well-being, seek information, ask them about their problems related to corona and would help them if possible.
He had utilized the time so well. When he called the ordinary workers in those remote areas, it filled them with a lot of enthusiasm. Moreover, there might not be a single MP who wouldn't have received a call from Venkaiah ji during the Corona period. He enquired about their well-being and was concerned about their vaccination status. That is, like the head of the family, he took care of everyone. That was his effort.
Venkaiah ji has another virtue. I keep saying that he can never be away from us. So, I am giving an example of the same. Once he had to visit Bihar for an election campaign. Suddenly his helicopter had to make an emergency landing in the fields. Now that area has some security issues too. But a farmer nearby had come and helped him and took him on his motorcycle to the nearest police station.
Now looking at his public life in India, Venkaiah ji is a very big personality but even today he has a close relationship with that farmer family. That is, he received help from someone during a crisis in a remote village of Bihar. But even today, Venkaiah ji would talk about that farmer with great pride. This is Venkaiah ji's one of the greatest virtues.
And that's why I am saying that he will always be with us as an active colleague, as a guide. His experience will be useful to us. With such a pool of experience, now Venkaiah ji will be moving towards a new responsibility in the society. Yes, this morning he told me that when he had assumed this post, the reason for his pain was that he would have to resign from his party; the party for which he had spent his entire life. It had some constitutional obligation. But I think Venkaiah ji will definitely make up for the shortfall of those five years. Surely his work of motivating, encouraging, nurturing all those old friends will continue. Venkaiah ji's life is a great asset and a huge legacy for us. Let us pass on whatever we have learnt from him.
There will be more efforts to take forward his attempts to establish the mother tongue and his love for language.
If you are interested, then I would like to talk about "Bhashini". It is a website launched by the Government of India. "Bhashini" has all the facilities to interpret and translate our Indian languages as well as to develop it further. It is a great tool which can be of immense use to us. But I have something in my mind. I would like Speaker sir and Harivansh ji to see if we can work in this direction. Harivansh ji has knowledge of this field. So, definitely work can be done in this direction. The world has a tradition of adding new words to the dictionary. And such words are also officially announced. It has a great significance whenever a particular word from a particular language of a country gets a place in the English dictionary. It is a matter of immense pride. For example, the word 'Guru' has become a part of the English dictionary. There are many such words.
During the speeches delivered in the mother tongue, in both the Houses, various wonderful words come out of the people. And for the people who know that language, that particular word seems very apt and interesting. Can both our Houses undertake the task of compiling such new words every year? Such words bring out the diversity in our languages. If we create this tradition of compiling such words, we can carry forward this legacy of Venkaiah ji who has been attached to our mother tongue. And whenever we do this work, we will always be reminded of the words of Venkaiah ji and we will end up compiling a vibrant document.
Once again I wish you all the very best. Many thanks and my best wishes to Venkaiah ji and his entire family!