President Ram Nath Kovind's Farewell Address to the Nation: Contemplate Mahatma Gandhiji's life and teaching every day
"Whenever I was in doubt, I turned to Gandhiji and his famous talisman - His advice of recalling the face of the poorest man and asking myself if the step I am about to take will be of any use to him," says outgoing India's President Ram Nath Kovind in his farewell address to the nation.
Updated 25 Jul 2022, 11:17 am
Outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday delivered his farewell address to the nation and urged the citizens of the country to contemplate on Mahatma Gandhiji's life and teaching every day, saying that whenever he was in doubt, he turned to Gandhiji.
"During the five years of my term... I have been conscious of being a successor to great icons like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. When I entered the Rashtrapati Bhavan, my immediate predecessor, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, also shared his wise counsel with me about my duties. Still, whenever I was in doubt, I turned to Gandhiji and his famous talisman. His advice of recalling the face of the poorest man and asking myself if the step I am about to take will be of any use to him. At the risk of repeating myself, I will urge you to contemplate Gandhiji’s life and teachings at least for a few minutes every day," Kovind said.
Reiterating the greatness of Gandhiji, He said, "... the point I wish to make is that a diverse range of great leaders with their diverse range of ideas for an Independent India had made huge sacrifices for the freedom movement. Gandhiji, of course, was the one whose transformative ideas influenced the outcome the most and who changed so many lives in the process."
The outgoing President also pointed out that next month, the country will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Independence - Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. "We will enter the ‘Amrit Kaal’, the 25-year period leading to the centenary of Independence. These anniversaries are milestones on the journey of the Republic, a journey to discover its potential and to offer its best to the world," he said.
He said that no other country has been as fortunate as India in having great iconic leaders.
"I have always strongly believed that no other country has been as fortunate as India in having a galaxy of leaders, each of whom was an exceptional mind, within a span of a few decades in the early twentieth century. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, like a modern-day ‘rishi’, was at work to help us find our cultural roots again, while Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar was vigorously advocating the cause of equality that was unheard of in most advanced countries. From Tilak and Gokhale to Bhagat Singh and Netaji, from Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee to Sarojini Naidu and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay – nowhere in the history of humankind have so many great minds come together for a common cause."
Also, recalling that founders of modern India exemplified the meaning of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity with hard work and an attitude of service, he said, “We only have to follow in their footsteps and keep walking.
“And what do such ideals mean for a common citizen today? I believe the chief goal is to help them discover the joy of living. For that, first of all, their basic necessities must be taken care of. We have indeed come a long way from the days of shortages of resources. We are working with the objective of providing better housing, and access to drinking water and electricity for every family…
“Once the basic necessities are taken care of, the next requirement is to let each citizen pursue happiness by discovering their potential and letting them do what they alone are destined to do. Here, education is the key"
The president also mentoned the National Education Policy and said to let young Indians flourish tomorrow, healthcare is essential.
“The pandemic has underlined the need to further improve the public healthcare infrastructure. I am glad that the Government has accorded top priority to this task. Once education and healthcare are in place, economic reforms will let citizens find the best course for their lives." he said.
Aso raising concern about the deteriorating environment, Kovind ended his speech with an advice to all: "Mother Nature is in deep agony and the climate crisis can endanger the very future of this planet... In our daily lives and routine choices, we must be more careful to protect our trees, rivers, seas and mountains as well as all other living beings. As the first citizen, if I have to give one advice to my fellow citizens, it has to be this".