After President K.R Narayanan in 1998, Pranab Mukherjee is the first President in 17 years to
On the eve of 70th Independence Day, President Pranab Mukherjee in his address to the nation on Sunday took note of the divisive politics and the issue of intolerance and called for unity among the citizens, which according to him could only lead the nation to the path of ‘inclusive development’.
The president deplored the recent incidents, involving attacks on Dalits and minorities in the country, and urged that such incidents should be dealt with ‘firmly’.
“India will grow, only when all of India grows; excluded ones have to be included in the development process,” he said, adding: “The great tree of liberty requires constant nourishment through the institutions of democracy. Disruptions, obstructionism and unmindful pursuit of a divisive political agenda by groups and individuals lead to nothing but institutional travesty and Constitutional subversion. Polarising debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse.”
Calling for stringent measures be taken to curb the happening of any such incidents, Mukherjee said: “Attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly.” He added that ‘the hurt and the alienated have to be brought back into the mainstream’ so that the nation could head to a path of inclusive development.
In his fifth address to the nation on the Independence Day, Mukherjee paid rich tributes to the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence and said: “This is for the fifth time as I speak to you on the eve of Independence Day. As we celebrate our 70th Independence day, I respectfully bow to the heroes who sacrificed their lives to win freedom for us.”
While calling on the world to unite in its fight against terrorism, the head of state said: “World has witnessed a spate of terror activities having their roots in radicalization of people on the basis of religion. The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice.” He also underscored the importance of safety of women and children in the country and said: “The safety and security that we provide to our women and children, determines well being of state and society. We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we fail to protect our women and children.”
In his concluding remarks, the president said that the Constitution has clearly defined the duties and responsibilities of every organ of the state and urged the authorities to respect them at any cost. “The Constitution has established the ancient Indian ethos of ‘Maryada’ as far as Authorities and Institutions of State power are concerned. The spirit of the Constitution has to be upheld by adherence to this ‘Maryada’ by the functionaries in the discharge of their duties.”