My dear countrymen, Namaskar. There must be hardly any Indian who doesn’t feel proud of our Armed Forces, our army jawans, our soldiers. Every Indian, irrespective of region, caste, religion, sect or language, is ever eager to express joy and show solidarity with our soldiers. Yesterday, one hundred and twenty-five crore Indians celebrated the Paraakram Parva, the festival of Valour. We remembered that surgical strike carried out in 2016, where our soldiers gave a befitting reply to the audacity of a proxy war under the garb of terrorism. At various places in the country, exhibitions have been organised by our Armed Forces in order to apprise the maximum number of citizens, especially the younger generation, of the might we possess; how capable we are and how our soldiers risk their lives to protect us citizens. A day such as Paraakaram Prava reminds our youth of the glorious heritage of our Army. It also inspires us to maintain the unity & integrity of the country. I too participated in a programme held at Jodhpur in the land of the valiant, Rajasthan. It has now been decided that our soldiers will give a befitting reply to whosoever makes an attempt to destroy the atmosphere of peace and progress in our Nation.
We staunchly believe in peace; we are committed to taking it forward… but NOT at the cost of compromising our self-respect and sovereignty of our Nation. India has always been resolutely committed to peace. In the two world-wars fought in the 20th century, over a lakh of our soldiers made the Supreme Sacrifice; that too in a war where we were not involved in any way.
We have never eyed someone else’s territory maliciously. This in itself was our commitment & dedication towards peace. A few days ago, on the 23rd of September, on the occasion of the centenary of the Battle of Haifa in Israel, we remembered & paid tributes to our brave soldiers of Mysore, Hyderabad & Jodhpur Lancers who had freed Haifa from the clutches of oppressors. This too was an act of valour on part of our soldiers on the path to peace. Even today, India is one of the largest contributors to various United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in terms of sending forces personnel. For decades, our brave soldiers wearing blue helmets have played a stellar role in ensuring maintenance of World Peace.
My dear countrymen, the sky offers the rarest of hues. It is not at all surprising that the Indian Air Force has proved itself to be the cynosure of every citizen’s eye, through the display of sheer might in the skies. It has bestowed upon us a sense of security. One of the notable features eagerly awaited by spectators during the Republic Day Parade is the Flypast comprising the magnificent display of the might of our Air Force through their breath taking aerobatic manoeuvres.
We celebrate Air Force Day on the 8th of October. Making a humble beginning in 1932 with six pilots and 19 Airmen, our Air Force has emerged as one of mightiest and the bravest Air Force of the 21st century today. From the core of my heart, I congratulate those Air Warriors and their families who rendered service to the nation. In 1947, when Pakistani attackers resorted to an unprecedented attack, it was indeed our Air Force which ensured that Indian Soldiers and armaments reached the battlefield promptly. The Air Force also retaliated befittingly in 1965 too. Who does not know about the Bangladesh Freedom Struggle of 1971? The Air Force played a very significant role in 1999 by pushing back the intruders and liberating Kargil from their clutches.
The Air Force defeated the enemy at Tiger Hill by carrying out air sorties on their positions round the clock. Be it the relief and rescue work or disaster management, our country is indebted to our Air Force for the commendable efforts of our Air Warrior. They have always displayed a unique spirit in times of natural calamities like storms, cyclones, floods and forest fires to extend full assistance to our countrymen. The Air Force has set an example in ensuring gender equality and has opened its doors for our daughters of India. Now, the Air Force is offering the option of Permanent Commission to Women besides the Short Service Commission, which I had announced on the 15th of August this year from the Red Fort.
Indian can proudly claim that in the armed forces, our Army not only man-power but woman-power too is contributing equally. Women are already empowered and now getting armed too.
My dear countrymen, a few days ago, Officer Abhilash Tomy of our Navy was struggling between life and death. The whole country was concerned about saving Tomy. You know, Abhilash Tomy is a very courageous, brave soldier. He was the first Indian who set on a global voyage in a small boat without any modern technology. For the last 80 days, he was moving ahead in South Indian Ocean to participate in the Golden Globe Race maintaining his speed but suddenly a severe cyclonic storm landed him in trouble. Yet, this brave heart from the Navy kept struggling for many days in mid-ocean. He fought to be afloat without food or drink. He did not accept defeat and continued to fight death. A rare example of courage, determination, strength and bravery – a few days ago I talked to Abhilash over the telephone after he was rescued and brought safely ground. I had met Tomy earlier too Despite having faced such a tough situation; his grit & spirit, his determination to make another similar attempt is an inspiration for our younger generation. I pray for Tomy’s sound health and I am sure that his courage, bravery and resolve to fight and emerge a winner will inspire our younger generation.
My dear countrymen, every child in our country knows the importance of the 2nd of October for our nation. The 2nd of October, this year, has a special significance. For two years from now on, we are going to organise various programmes throughout the world on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy has inspired the whole world.
Everyone including great personalities like Dr. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela derived strength from Gandhiji’s ideology to be able to fight a long battle to ensure right of equality and dignity for the people. In today’s Mann Ki Baat, I want to talk about another important work of revered Bapu which maximum countrymen should know. In 1941, Mahatma Gandhi started penning down a few thoughts in the shape of a constructive Programme. Later, in 1945, when the Freedom Struggle gained momentum, he prepared an amended copy of those ideas. Revered Bapu, put forth his ideas on various subjects like Farmers, villages, securing of labour rights, cleanliness and promoting of education. This is also known as the Gandhi Charter. Revered Babu was a people’s person. Getting connected with people or connecting people with him was Bapu’s special quality, this was in his nature. Everyone has experienced this as a most unique part of his personality. He made everyone feel that he or she was very important and absolutely necessary for the country. His biggest contribution in the Freedom struggle was that he made it an expansive “Jan-Aandolan” (People’s Movement).
During the Freedom Struggle people from all sections and all regions dedicated themselves at Mahatma Gandhi’s call. Bapu gave an inspirational mantra to all of us which is known as Gandhiji’s Talisman. In that, Gandhiji had said, “I give you one mantra, whenever you are in doubt or whenever your ego gets over your personality, undergo this test; remember the face of the poorest or the weakest person that you have seen, recall his looks and ask your inner self how useful your intended step would be for that person. Will this, in anyway, benefit him! Will he be able to get some control over his life and destiny through your step ! Meaning thereby that will your step help millions of those people in getting Swaraj who have an empty stomach and a dissatisfied soul! Then, you will see that your doubt is waning away and your ego is also getting quelled.
My dear countrymen, one of Gandhiji’s mantras is very relevant event today. The swelling middle class of the country, its increasing economic power, increasing purchasing power; can we remember revered Bapu for a moment while going out for shopping! Can we remember that mantra of Bapu!” Can we spare a thought while purchasing anything as to who in my country will be benefitted by this purchase! Whose face will sport a smile! Who will be the fortunate one to get a direct or indirect benefit from your purchase! I will feel much happier if my purchase will benefit the poorest of the poor. Keeping this mantra of Gandhiji in mind while making any purchases during the 150th Anniversary of Gandhiji, we must make it a point to see that our purchase must benefit one of our countrymen and in that too, one who has put in physical labour, who has invested money, who has applied skill must get some benefit. This is the mantra of Gandhiji, this is the message of Gandhiji and I firmly believe that a small step of yours can surely bring about a very big benefit in the life of the poorest and the most underprivileged person.
My dear countrymen, when Gandhiji said that by maintaining cleanliness, freedom will be won then he probably was not aware how this would happen. But this did happen and India got freedom. In the same way today we may feel that even by making a tiny contribution I may be contributing in a big way to help in the economic upliftment and economic empowerment of my country and help fight a battle against poverty by lending strength to the poor. I feel that this is true patriotism, and a perfect tribute to revered Bapu’s work. For example, think of purchasing Khadi and handloom products on special occasions; this will benefit many weavers. It is said that Lal Bahadur Shastriji used to preserve old and worn out Khadi clothes because some one’s labour could be felt in the making of those clothes. He used to say that all these Khadi clothes have been woven after putting in a hard labour, every thread of these clothes must be utilized. This spirit of attachment towards the country and fellow countrymen was deeply imbibed in that great person of a very short physical stature. Two days later, we shall celebrate the birth anniversary of Shastriji along with respected Bapu’s birth anniversary. The very name of Shastriji evokes a feeling of eternal faith in the hearts of us, Indians. His mild persona always fills every Indian with a sense of pride.
Lal Bahadur Shastriji had a unique quality in that, he was very humble outwardly but he was rock solid from inside. His slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” is the hall mark of his grand personality. It was the result of his selfless service to the nation that in a brief tenure of about one and a half years he gave to our jawans and farmers the mantra to reach the pinnacle of success.
My dear countrymen, while remembering revered Bapu today, it is quite natural not to skip talking of cleanliness. A movement “Swachhta Hi Sewa” was launched on the 15th of September. Crores of people got connected with this movement and luckily I also got a chance to participate in the voluntary cleanliness shramdaan with the children of Delhi’s Ambedkar School. I went to the school, the foundation of which had been laid by none other than respected Baba Saheb himself. On the 15th of September, people from all sections across the country connected themselves to this voluntary cleaning movement. Institutions also extended their contribution enthusiastically. School children, college students, NCC, NSS, youth organisations, media groups, the corporate world, all of them offered voluntary cleanliness service on a large scale. I heartily congratulate all these cleanliness-loving countrymen for their efforts. Come on, let us listen to a phone call.
Many many thanks, you’ve made a significant remark that cleanliness has a specific meaning in every one’s life and what could be a matter of immense joy for all of us than the fact that a toilet has been built in your house under the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” and that, all of you have the facility now. And possibly those connected with this movement may not be able to guess that you cannot see because of your visual challenge. But one understands the difficulties you were facing when there was no toilet and that the construction of this toilet has really proved to be a big boon for you. If you had not made a call about this aspect, perhaps those connected with this cleanliness movement might have also not thought about such a sensitive issue. I specially thank you for your phone call.
My dear countrymen, Swachh Bharat Mission or Clean India Mission has become a success story not only in our country but in the whole world and everyone is talking about this movement. This time India is hosting the biggest Sanitation Convention of the world so far, the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention. Sanitation Ministers from countries across the world and experts on the subject of sanitation will converge and share their experiments and experiences. Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention will conclude on 2nd October, 2018 with the commencement of Bapu’s 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations.
My dear countrymen, there is a Sanskrit quote- U;k;ewya LojkT;a L;kr~ (Nyayamoolam Swarajyam Syat) meaning justice lies at the root of swaraj and while discussing the subject of justice, the spirit of human rights is inherent in that. This is specially essential for the freedom and peace of the exploited, victimised and deprived people and to ensure justice for them.
In the Constitution drafted by Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, many provisions were inserted to protect the fundamental rights of the poor. Inspired by his vision, the 'National Human Rights Commission' (NHRC) was formed on 12th October 1993. A few days later NHRC would complete 25 years of its existence.The NHRC has not only protected human rights but has also promoted respect for human dignity over the years. Our most beloved leader, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former Prime Minister of our country, had clearly said that human rights are not analien concept for us.
In the emblem of our National Human Rights Commission, the ideal mantra harking back to Vedic period- "Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah" is inscribed. NHRC has instilled widespread awareness of human rights and has played an important role in preventing their misuse. In its journey of 25 years, it has created an atmosphere of hope and confidence in the countrymen. For a healthy society, and for lofty democratic values I feel that, it is a very hope inspiring event. Today, with NHRC operating at the national level, 26 State Human Rights Commissions have also been constituted. As a society, we need to understand the importance of human rights and inculcate them into practice - this is the very basis of Sab ka Saath–Sab ka Vikas'.
My dear countrymen, the month of October heralds, Jai Prakash Narayan ji's birth anniversary, the beginning of the birth centenary of Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindiaji. These luminaries have been infusing inspiration in all of us and we offer our heartfelt tributes to them. 31 October happens to be the birth anniversary of Sardar sahib, I shall dwell upon his birth anniversary in detail in the next episode of Mann Ki Baat but today I want to mention that for the past few years, the occasion of Sardar Sahib’s birth anniversary on October 31 is marked in every small town and district by organizing the 'Run for Unity' race.
Even this year, we should try to organize 'Run for Unity' in our village, town, city or metropolis. This is the best way to remember Sardar Saheb, because he worked for the unity of our nation throughout his lifetime. I urge you all that on October 31, through 'Run for Unity', to strengthen our efforts and bind every section of the society as a unified unit. This will be a great tribute to Sardar Sahib.
My dear countrymen, be it Navratri, Durgapuja or Vijayadashmi, I offer all my heartfelt greetings to all of you on account of these holy festivals. Thank you