वाहे गुरु दा ख़ालसा, वाहे गुरु दी फतेह!
My Cabinet colleagues, Chief Ministers of different States, Presidents and Chairmen from various esteemed organizations, Diplomats, boys and girls from all over the country who have joined us in this programme today, all other dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen!
Today the nation is observing the first 'Veer Bal Diwas'. This day marks a new beginning to unitedly salute as a nation the sacrifices made on this day; the day we have been commemorating for generations! The 'Shaheedi Saptah' and Veer Bal Diwas are not only associated with a lot of emotions for our Sikh tradition, but also ignite inspiration in us. 'Veer Bal Diwas' will remind us that when it comes to showing valour, age does not matter. 'Veer Bal Diwas' will continue to remind us of the contribution made by the ten Gurus as well as the significance of the sacrifice in Sikh tradition for the country's honour! 'Veer Bal Diwas' will tell us what India is and what its identity is! Every year this auspicious occasion of Veer Bal Diwas will inspire us to recognize our past and build the future. For decades and centuries to come, 'Veer Bal Diwas' will keep us reminding of the potential of India's young generation, the way the young generation of India has saved the country in the past and has pulled India out of the severe darkness plaguing humanity.
Today, on this occasion, I bow down at the feet of Veer Sahibzadas and pay my heartfelt tribute to them. Our government is fortunate that it got the opportunity to declare this day i.e. 26th December as 'Veer Bal Diwas'. I bow down with devotion at the feet of Dashmesh Pita Guru Gobind Singh ji, and all the other gurus. I also seek blessings from Mata Gujri, the symbol of Matri-Shakti.
The thousands of years old history of the world is full of dreadful chapters of cruelty. In every history and legend, there have been great heroes and great heroines too facing every cruelty. But it is also true that whatever happened in the battles of Chamkaur and Sirhind had never been witnessed before and would never be seen in future. This incident is not thousands of years old that the wheels of time might have blurred its memories. This had happened only three centuries ago on the soil of this country. On the one hand, there was religious bigotry and a huge Mughal Sultanate blinded by that bigotry, while on the other hand, we had our Guru, who was engrossed in knowledge and penance as well as our traditions and ancient human values of India! On one hand there was the height of terror, while on the other hand there was the pinnacle of spirituality! On one hand, religious fanaticism, while on the other hand, generosity that sees God within everyone! And amidst everything, there were lakhs of soldiers on one hand, whereas the brave Sahibzadas of the Guru stood fearlessly despite being alone! These brave Sahibzadas were not afraid of any threat and did not bend before anyone. Zorawar Singh Sahab and Fateh Singh Sahab, both were walled up alive. While on one hand, brutality had crossed all its limits, but on the other hand, boundaries of patience, valour and bravery were also pushed beyond limits. Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh had also set an example of bravery, which has been a source of inspiration for centuries.
Brothers & Sisters,
The country with such a rich heritage and history should naturally be full of self-respect and self-confidence. But unfortunately, we were told and taught those fabricated narratives in the name of history, which created an inferiority complex within us! Despite this, our society and traditions kept these glories alive.
If we wish to take India to greater heights of success in future, then we must break free from the narrow views of the past. That's why, in the 'Azadi Ka Amritkaal', the country has taken a resolution of 'freedom from the slave mentality'. 'Veer Bal Diwas' is like the soul of those 'five-resolutions' of the country.
Another great lesson is hidden in this sacrifice of Sahibzadas at such a young age. Imagine that era! Against the terror of Aurangzeb and his plans to change India, Guru Gobind Singh ji had stood like a mountain. But, what enmity could Aurangzeb and his Sultanate have against young children like Jorawar Singh Sahab and Fateh Singh Sahab? Why was such a cruel act of entombing two innocent children alive in the wall undertaken? It is because Aurangzeb and his people wanted to convert the religion of Guru Gobind Singh's children forcibly. When the new generation of a society or the nation succumbs to oppression, its self-confidence and future dies automatically. But, those sons of India, the brave boys were not afraid even of death. They were bricked alive in the walls but they foiled those sinister plans forever. This is the strength of the brave youth of any nation. Youth, with its courage, can turn the tide of time forever. With this determination, today the young generation of India has also set out to take the country to a new height. Therefore, the role of Veer Bal Diwas on 26th December has become even more significant.
The Sikh Guru tradition is not just a tradition of faith and spirituality. It is also a source of inspiration for the idea of 'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat'. Our sacred Guru Granth Sahib is the best example of this. It contains the sayings of 15 saints and 14 composers from different corners of India along with that of the Sikh Gurus. Similarly, if you look at the life journey of Guru Gobind Singh; he was born in Patna in eastern India and worked around the mountainous regions of North-Western India. His life's journey culminated in Maharashtra. Guru's Panch Pyare were also from different parts of the country, and I am proud to say that one of the Panch-Pyares was also from Dwarka, Gujarat, where I was fortunate to be born. ‘Ideology is bigger than an individual & the nation is bigger than Ideology’ and the mantra of 'nation first' was the firm resolution of Guru Gobind Singh ji. When he was a child, a great sacrifice was needed to protect the nation. He told his father - "there was no personality greater than you, so you make this sacrifice". When he became a father, he did not hesitate to sacrifice his sons for the cause of the nation with the same promptness. When his sons were sacrificed, he looked at his people and said – ‘चार मूये तो क्या हुआ, जीवत कई हज़ार’. That is, so what if my four sons have died? Several thousand of my countrymen are my sons. This tradition of 'Nation First', is a great inspiration for us. Today the responsibility of strengthening this tradition rests on our shoulders.
The way the future generation of India will turn out to be, also depends on the source of inspiration. Every source of inspiration for the future generation of India lies in this soil. It is believed that the child after whom our country 'Bharat' was named, did not ever get tired of killing even lions and demons. Even today when we talk about religion and devotion, we think of Bhaktaraj Prahlad. When we talk about patience and discretion, we are reminded of the child Dhruv. We also bow down to Nachiketa, who impressed the god of death Yamraj with his penance. Nachiketa had asked Yamraj in his childhood - "What is death?" We see virtues at every step, be it the wisdom of young Lord Rama or his bravery, be it the hermitage of Vashishtha or Vishwamitra. Every mother narrates the story of Lord Ram's sons Luv and Kush to her children. When we think of Shri Krishna, we get that image not only of the Kanha whose flute plays the notes of love, but also the one who kills dangerous demons. From that mythological era to the modern times, brave boys and girls have been the reflection of India's traditions.
Today I also want to reiterate one truth in front of the country. Sahibzadas had made such a huge sacrifice; they had sacrificed their lives, but most of the children of the present generation are not aware of them. Nowhere around the world a great saga like this would be allowed to forget. On this auspicious day, I will not go into the discussion as to why the idea of observing Veer Bal Diwas was not thought of earlier. But I must say that now New India is correcting an old mistake made decades ago.
Any nation is identified by its principles, values and ideals. We have seen in history, when the values of a nation change, its future also changes in no time. And, these values are preserved when the present generation is clear about the ideals of its past. The younger generation always needs role models to look up to. The young generation needs great personalities to learn from and seek inspiration from. And that is why, we believe in the ideals of Shri Ram. We draw inspiration from Lord Gautam Buddha and Lord Mahavira. We try to live by the words of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. We read about and follow the example of heroes like Maharana Pratap and Chhatrapati Veer Shivaji Maharaj. That's why, we celebrate various anniversaries and organize festivals even on hundreds and thousands of years old events. Our forefathers understood this need of the society, and created India as a country whose culture is associated with festivals and beliefs. We also have the same responsibility for the coming generations. We also have to make that thinking and ideals eternal. We have to keep our ideological flow intact.
That is why, during the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' the country is trying to revive the history of the freedom struggle. We are all working to take the contribution of our freedom fighters, and tribal society to the masses. A death anniversary like 'Veer Bal Diwas' will be an effective beacon in this direction.
I am glad that thousands of youngsters have participated in the quiz competition and essay competition held to connect the new generation with Veer Bal Diwas. Be it Jammu-Kashmir in the North, Puducherry in the south, Nagaland in the east, and Rajasthan in the west, children from every corner of the country have taken part in this competition, have learned about the lives of Sahibzadas and written essays. Various competitions related to Sahibzadas have also been held in different schools of the country. The day is not far when children of Kerala and the North-East too will know about Veer Sahibzadas.
Together we must take the message of Veer Bal Diwas to every nook and corner of the country. The saga and the life's message of our Sahibzadas should reach every child of the country. They should take inspiration from them and become dedicated citizens of the country. We must make efforts in this direction too. I am sure, these concerted efforts will give a fresh boost to our goal of a strong and developed India. I once again bow down at the feet of Veer Sahibzadas. With this resolve, I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart!