Hold fast to constitutional methods: Kovind's R-Day call for protesting youth
President Ramnath Kovind on Saturday urged “those fighting for a cause… particularly the youth” to be mindful of the Gandhian principles of truth and non-violence, and stressed on the need to “hold fast to constitutional methods” of achieving social and economic objectives.
The President’s remarks, part of his address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day, come in the backdrop of the ongoing protests in various parts of the country against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, many of them helmed by students and the youth.
“For our youth, nation always comes first. With them, we are witnessing the emergence of a new India…When fighting for a cause, people, particularly the youth, should not forget the gift of Ahimsa Gandhiji gave to humanity. Gandhiji’s talisman for deciding whether an act is right or wrong also applies to the functioning of our democracy. Government and opposition both have important roles to play. While giving expression to their political ideas, both must move forward in tandem to ensure that development of the country and welfare of its people are promoted consistently,” Kovind said.
Quoting Babasaheb Ambedkar, he said, “‘If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgment we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives’. These words have always lighted our path. These words will continue to show us the way ahead to new glories.”
On the special significance that January 26 holds for Indian democracy, he said, “Our Constitution gave us rights as citizens of a free democratic nation, but also placed on us the responsibility to always adhere to the central tenets of our democracy – justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. It becomes easier for us to follow these constitutional ideals if we keep in mind the life and values of the Father of our Nation.” Kovind spoke about how government programmes such as Swachh Bharat and the call to give up LPG subsidy have been “owned” by people and made into successes.
Saying access to health and education are often considered the foundation of good governance, the President said, “In both these sectors, we have come a long way in seven decades. The Government has rightly focused its attention on the health sector, with its ambitious initiatives. Starting with the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and expanding to Ayushman Bharat…” On education, he said, “Our endeavour is to ensure that no child or youth is denied education.”
Kovind lauded ISRO’s achievements and spoke about how the nation is looking forward to the Gaganyaan Mission.
He mentioned several individuals for their “exceptional commitment” to society, including Aarifa Jan for reviving the Numdha handicrafts in Jammu & Kashmir, Ratnawali Kottapalli for serving patients suffering from thalassemia in Telangana; Devaki Amma who has developed forest wealth through her individual efforts in Kerala; Jamkhojang Misao for his community development efforts in Manipur; and Babar Ali for providing education to underprivileged children in West Bengal.