New Delhi: Johar! Namaskar!
I express my heartfelt gratitude to all Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies for electing me to the highest Constitutional post of India. Your vote for me is an expression of the faith of crores of citizens of the country. I humbly greet all the fellow citizens from this sacred Parliament, a symbol of the hopes, aspirations and rights of all the citizens of India. Your affection, trust and support will be my greatest strength in discharging my functions and responsibilities.
The country has elected me as the President at a crucial time when we are celebrating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. A few days from today, the country will complete 75 years of its independence. It is also a coincidence that my political career started when the country was celebrating its 50th year of independence. And today, in the 75th year of independence, I have been assigned this new responsibility.
It is my great privilege to be given this responsibility at such a historic time when India is engaged with full vigour in realising its vision for the next 25 years. I also happen to be the first President of the country who was born in independent India. We have to work at a fast pace in this Amritkal to fulfil the expectations of our freedom fighters from the citizens of independent India. In these 25 years, the path to attain the goals of Amritkal will proceed on two tracks – Sabka Prayas aur Sabka Kartavya (everyone’s effort and everyone’s duty). The new development journey towards the bright future of India has to be undertaken by our collective efforts, following the path of duty.
We will be observing Kargil Vijay Diwas tomorrow i.e. July 26th. This day is a symbol of both-the bravery and restraint of the Indian armed forces. Today, I extend my best wishes in advance to the armed forces of the country and to all the citizens.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I started my journey of life from a small tribal village in Odisha in the eastern part of the country. From the background that I come from, it was like a dream for me to get elementary education. But despite many obstacles, my determination remained strong and I became the first daughter of my village to go to college.
I belong to tribal society. I have got the opportunity to rise from serving as a ward councillor to becoming the President of India. This is the greatness of India, the mother of democracy. It is a tribute to the power of our democracy that a daughter born in a poor house in a remote tribal area can reach the highest constitutional position in India. That I attained the post of President is not my personal achievement, it is the achievement of every poor person in India. My election is a proof of the fact that the poor in India can have dreams and fulfil them too. And it is a matter of great satisfaction for me that those who have been deprived for centuries and those who have been denied the benefits of development, those poor, downtrodden, backwards and tribals are seeing their reflection in me.
This election of mine has blessings of the poor of the country. And it reflects the dreams and potential of crores of women and daughters of the country. This election of mine also shows the courage of today’s youth of India who is ready to walk on new paths and shun the beaten tracks.
Today I feel proud to lead such a progressive India. Today, I assure all fellow citizens especially youth of India and the women of India that their interests will be paramount for me while working in this position.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Before me is such a great legacy of the Presidency of India which has continuously strengthened the prestige of Indian democracy in the world. From the country’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad to Shri Ram Nath Kovind ji, stalwarts have adorned this post. Along with this post, the country has also entrusted me with the responsibility of representing this great tradition. In the light of the Constitution, I will discharge my duties with utmost sincerity. For me, the democratic-cultural ideals of India and all the citizens will always be my source of energy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Our freedom struggle had prepared the roadmap for India’s new journey as a nation. Our freedom struggle was a continuous stream of those struggles and sacrifices which had nurtured so many ideals and possibilities for independent India. Pujya Bapu had resorted to Swaraj, Swadeshi, Swachhta and Satyagraha to show us the way for realising Indian cultural ideals. Countless personalities like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Nehru ji, Sardar Patel, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and Chandrashekhar Azad had taught us to keep national pride as paramount. Many brave women icons like Rani Lakshmi Bai, Rani Velu Nachiyar, Rani Gaidinliu and Rani Chennamma had taken to new heights the role of women power in defending and building the nation.
From Santhal revolution, Paika revolution to Kol revolution and Bhil revolution, all these revolutions had strengthened the tribal contribution in the freedom struggle. We derived inspiration from the sacrifice of ‘Dharti Aaba’ Bhagwan Birsa Munda Ji for social upliftment and patriotism. I am happy that many museums are being built across the country dedicated to the role of the tribal communities in our freedom struggle.
Ladies and Gentlemen, In 75 years as a parliamentary democracy, India has carried forward the resolve of progress through participation and consensus. In our country full of diversities, we are engaged in the making of ‘Ek Bharat – Shreshtha Bharat’ by adopting many languages, religions, sects, food habits, life styles and customs. This Amritkaal, which commences with the 75th year of our independence, is a period of new resolutions for India.
Today I see my country inspired and ready to welcome this new era with new thinking. Today India is adding a new chapter of development in every field.
The kind of capability that India has shown in combating the global crisis of Corona pandemic has enhanced India’s credibility all over the world. We Indians not only faced this global challenge with our efforts but also set new standards for the world.
Just a few days ago, India has set a record of administering 200 crore doses of corona vaccine. The patience, courage and cooperation shown by the people of India in this entire battle is a symbol of our growing strength and sensitivity as a society. India not only took care of itself in these difficult situations but also helped the world. In the atmosphere created by the Corona pandemic, today the world is looking at India with a new confidence. The international community has high hopes from India for ensuring global economic stability, ease of supply chain and peace. In the coming months, India is also going to host the G-20 Group under its chairmanship. In this grouping, twenty big countries of the world will brainstorm on global issues under the chairmanship of India.
I am sure that the conclusions and policies that will emerge from this brainstorming in India will determine the direction of the coming decades.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Decades ago, I had the opportunity to work as a teacher at Sri Aurobindo Integral School in Rairangpur. After a few days, we will observe the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts on education continue to inspire me. I have had an active association with educational institutions, serving in various positions as a public representative and then as a governor. I have closely observed the enthusiasm and self-confidence of the youth of the country. Our revered Atal ji used to say that when the youth of the country progress, they not only create their own destiny but also shape the fate of the country.
Today we are witnessing it come true. Moving ahead in every field – from ‘Vocal for Local’ to ‘Digital India’ – today’s India, marching in step with the world, is all set for ‘Industrial Revolution Four Point O’. The youth of India have a big role in creating a record number of start-ups, in numerous innovations and in the adoption of digital technology in far flung areas. In the past few years, a new energy has been infused in the country due to the decisions taken and policies formulated for women empowerment.
I want all our sisters and daughters to be empowered more and more so that they continue to increase their contribution in every field of nation building. I want to tell the youth of our country that you are not only building your own future but also laying the foundation of the India of the future. As the President of the country, I will always extend my full cooperation to you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Growth and progress mean continuously marching ahead, but equally important is awareness about one’s past. Today, when the world is talking about sustainable planet, the role of India’s ancient traditions and sustainable lifestyle becomes more important. I was born in that tribal tradition which has lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years. I have realized the importance of forests and water bodies in my life. We take necessary resources from nature and serve nature with equal reverence. This sensitivity has become a global imperative today. I am happy that India is guiding the world in the field of environmental protection.
Ladies and Gentlemen, In my life so far, I have realised the meaning of life only through public service. There is a line from the poem of Bhim Bhoi Ji, a famous poet of Shri Jagannath Kshetra-“Mo Jeeban pachhe narke padi thau, jagato uddhar heu”. That is, working for the welfare of the world is far greater than one’s own interests.With this spirit of welfare of the world, I will always be ready to work with full devotion and dedication to live up to the trust you all have reposed in me.
Let us all unite and move forward on the path of duty with a dedicated spirit to build a glorious and self-reliant India.
Thank you, Jai Hind!