The energetic Chief Minister of Assam Shri Himanta Biswa Sharma ji, Ministers Shri Atul Bora ji, Keshab Mahanta ji, Pijush Hazarika ji, Chairman of the Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee Dr. Dayanand Pathak ji, Chief Editor of Agradoot and veteran journalist Shri Kanak Sen Deka ji, other dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen!
My heartiest congratulations and best wishes to all my friends, journalists, staff and readers associated with the powerful voice of North East in Assamese language, Agradoot, on 50 years i.e. five decades of golden journey! I hope 'Agradoot' scales newer heights in the times to come. My best wishes to Pranjal and his young team!
The choice of Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra for this ceremony is also wonderfully aligned with this occasion. Srimanta Sankardev Ji had strengthened the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat' through Assamese poetry and compositions. The same values have also been enriched by 'Dainik Agradoot' with its journalism. Your newspaper has played a huge role in keeping the spirit of harmony and unity alive in the country.
Under the guidance of Deka ji, the Dainik Agradoot has always kept the national interest paramount. Even during the Emergency, when our democracy was attacked, Dainik Agradoot and Deka ji did not compromise on journalistic values. He not only empowered Indian journalism in Assam, but also created a new generation for value based journalism.
In the 75th year of independence, the golden jubilee celebrations of the Dainik Agradoot is not only reaching a milestone, but is also an inspiration for journalism and national duty in the 'Azadi Ka AmritKaal'.
For the past few days, Assam is also facing great challenges and difficulties in the form of floods. Normal life has been seriously disrupted in many districts of Assam. Himanta ji and his team are working hard day and night for relief and rescue operation. From time to time I also keep communicating with many people there about this. Talks are going on with the Chief Minister. Today, I assure the people of Assam and the readers of Agradoot that the Central and State Governments are working together to bring them out of their difficulties.
The role of 'journalism in Indian languages' has been a pioneer in India's tradition, culture, freedom struggle and development journey. Assam has been an awakened area in terms of journalism. Journalism was started in Assamese language about 150 years ago which continued to prosper with the passage of time. Assam has given many such journalists and editors to the country who have given new dimensions to vernacular journalism. Even today, this kind of journalism is doing a great service in connecting the common man with the government.
The journey of the Dainik Agradoot in the last 50 years narrates the story of the change that has taken place in Assam. People's movements have played an important role in bringing about this change. The people's movements protected the cultural heritage and the pride of Assam. And now with the help of public participation, Assam is writing a new development story.
Democracy is inherent in the Indian society because there is a way to eliminate differences by contemplation, debates and discussion here. When there is a dialogue, there is a solution. It is through dialogue that possibilities expand. Therefore, along with the flow of knowledge in Indian democracy, the stream of information is also flowing continuously and ceaselessly. Agradoot has also been an important medium of carrying forward this tradition.
No matter which part of the world we live in today, the newspaper published in our mother tongue makes us feel at home. You are already aware that the Dainik Agradoot in Assamese language was published twice a week before. It had started its journey from there. Now it has become a daily newspaper. And now it is also available online in the form of e-paper. No matter which corner of the world you are in, you can stay connected with Assam and the news of Assam.
The development journey of this newspaper reflects the transformation and digital development of our country. Digital India today has become a strong medium of 'local connect'. Today the person, who reads online newspaper, also knows how to make online payment. Dainik Agradoot and our media have been a witness to this transformation of Assam and the country.
As we are completing 75 years of independence, there is one question we must ask. Why should intellectual space be limited to a few people who know a particular language? This question is not only about emotions but also about scientific logic. Just imagine! Why did India lag behind in research and development in the last three industrial revolutions even when India had a tradition of knowledge, innovation, new thoughts and ideas for centuries?
A major reason for the same is that we had this wealth in Indian languages. The expansion of Indian languages was hindered during the long period of colonialism, and modern science, knowledge and research was limited to only a few languages. A large section of India had no access to those languages or to that knowledge. That is, the scope of Intellect's expertise kept shrinking due to which the pool of invention and innovation also became limited.
In the 21st century, when the world is moving towards the fourth industrial revolution, India has a huge opportunity to lead the world. This opportunity is because of our data power and digital inclusion. We are trying to ensure that no Indian should be deprived of best information, best knowledge, best skill and best opportunity just because of language barriers.
That is why we encouraged studies in Indian languages in the National Education Policy. The students who are studying in their respective mother tongue will be able to understand the needs of their region and the aspirations of their people irrespective of the profession they choose later. Besides, now we are trying to make the world's best content available in Indian languages. For this we are working on the National Language Translation Mission.
We are trying to ensure that every Indian is able to use the Internet, which is a huge storehouse of knowledge and information, in his own language. The Bhashini platform has been launched for this purpose just two days ago. This is the Unified Language Interface of Indian languages, an attempt to connect every Indian to the Internet easily so that he/she can easily communicate and connect with this modern source of information, knowledge, government, government facilities in the mother tongue.
It is important from every aspect both social and economic, to make the Internet available to crores of Indians in their mother tongue. Above all, it will help a lot in strengthening the spirit of ' Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat', connecting with different states of the country, for travelling and understanding the culture.
The entire North East including Assam is very rich in terms of tourism, culture and biodiversity. Yet, this entire area has not been explored as much as it should have been. The rich heritage that Assam has in the form of language and music should reach the country and the world. For the last 8 years, an unprecedented effort is being made to link Assam and the entire North East with modern connectivity. With this, the role of Assam and North East India in India's growth story is increasing continuously. Now if this region is connected digitally in terms of languages, then the culture, tribal tradition and tourism of Assam will be highly benefitted.
Therefore, I would like to make a special request to all the vernacular journalism institutions of the country like 'Agradoot' to make our readers aware of every such effort of Digital India. Everyone's effort is needed to enrich and empower India's tech future. The positive role played by our media in campaigns like Swachh Bharat Mission is appreciated all over the country and the world even today. Similarly, by participating in fulfilment of the resolutions of the country during the 'Amrit Mahotsav', you can give it a new direction and a new energy.
You are well aware of water conservation and its importance in Assam. In this direction, the country is currently taking forward the Amrit Sarovar Abhiyan. The country is working towards construction of 75 Amrit Sarovars in every district. I have full confidence that with the help of Agradoot, there will be no person in Assam who will not be associated with it. Everyone's efforts can give a new impetus to this.
Similarly, the local people of Assam and our tribal society have contributed so much in the freedom struggle. As a media institution, you can play a major role in taking this glorious past to the masses. I am sure that the duty of instilling energy in these positive efforts within the society that Agradoot has been performing for the last 50 years will be continued for many decades to come. It will continue to work as a leader in the development of the people of Assam and the culture of Assam.
Well informed or a better informed society should be our goal! Let us all work together in this direction. Once again I wish you all the best for this golden journey and heartiest wishes for a better future!