My Dear Countrymen, Namaskar
On the 21st of this month, our Country received very sad news. Dr. Shri Shri Shri Shiva Kumar Swamiji of District Tumukur, Karnataka was no more. ShivaKumar Swamiji dedicated his entire life to Social Service. Lord Basaveshwar has taught us, “Kayakave Kailas”” meaning discahrging one’s duties with due dilligence and persevereance is akin to being in the abode of Lord Shiva ie Kailasha Dham. ShivaKumar Swamiji was a true follower of this tenet … during his life spanning a hundred and eleven years, he strived tirelessly towards the social, educational and economic upliftment of thousands of people . He was renowned to be a masterly scholar of languages such as English, Sanskrit and Kannada. He was a social reformer. He dedicated his life in ensuring that food, shelter, education and spiritual knowledge reached out to people. The welfare of farmers was a priority in his life. The Siddhganga Mutt regularily used to organise cattle and agricultural fairs. I have had the fortunate opportunity to be blessed by Swamiji, many a time. In the year 2007 on the occasion of the Centenary celebration of Sri Sri Sri Shivakumar Swamiji our former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam had paid a visit to Tumukur. On this occasion Kalam Saheb had recited a poem dedicated to revered Swamiji.
I quote him:
“O my Fellow Citizens – In giving, you receive happiness,
In Body and Soul- You have everything to give,
If you have knowledge – share it,
If you have resources – share them with the needy,
You, your mind and heart.
To remove the pain and suffering, and cheer the sad hearts.
In giving, you receive happiness Almighty will bless, all your actions”
Dr. Kalam Saheb’s poem potrays the life of Shri Shri Shri Shivakumar Swamiji and the mission of the Siddhganga Mutt beautifully. Once again, I pay tribute to this great man.
My Dear Countrymen,
On the 26th of January, 1950, our Constitution came in to being; our Country was proclaimed a Republic. Yesterday, we celebrated Republic Day with pride and fervour. But today I want to speak to you on a totally different aspect. Our Country possesses a very important institution; besides being an integral part of our democracy, it is even older than our Republic – I am referring to our Election Commission. The 25th of January was the Formation Day of the Election Commission, which is celebrated now as the National Voters’ Day. The scale at which elections are held in India is a matter of great awe for the World. It is natural for every Citizen to feel proud of the Election Commission of its meticulous organising abilities. Our Country leaves, no stone unturned to ensure that every citizen of India who is a registered voter, rightfully avails of the opportunity to cast his vote.
Whereas we hear of a polling station at 15,000 feet above mean sea level in Himachal Pradesh we also learn about the same being organised in remote islands of the Andaman Nicobar archipelago. And you must have heard about Gujarat … in a remote place in Gir forest, there is a polling booth for a sole voter. Just imagine … for that one and only voter! These facts are bound to instil a sense of pride, of the commitment of the Election Commission. Caring for that lone voter, for ensuring that he or she enjoys full opportunity to exercise the right to vote, personnel of Election Commission travel to distant remote places to make necessary arrangements for the voting. This is the beauty of our democracy.
I appreciate the Election Commission for relentlessly striving to ensure the strengthening of our democracy. I hold in high esteem, the Election Commissions of all states, security personnel and other staff members who contribute in ensuring strict adherence to free and fair polling.
This year, our Country will undergo Lok Sabha elections. The first time ever, young persons born in the 21st Century will exercise their Right to Vote in the Lok Sabha Elections. They face the opportunity to shoulder responsibilities pertaining to the Country. They have embarked upon the journey of being partners in Nation building. The time has come for a confluence of individual dreams and the Nation’s dream. I urge the young generation to register themselves as voters, if they are eligible. All of us must realise that being a voter, earning the right to vote is an important rite of passage in one’s life; it’s one of its achievements. Simultaneously, the sentiment that voting is our sacred duty, should grow within us naturally. For any reason, if one is not able to vote, it should pain one. One should be saddened to witness any wrong taking place in the country.
“I had not cast my vote … that day I did not go and vote … and as a result, my Country has borne the brunt “. We have to realise the importance of this responsibility of ours. This must be our leaning; this should be our disposition. This inclination should be ingrained within us like a sanskaar. I urge eminent people of the country to come forward and jointly contribute in campaigning for spreading awareness on voter registration and casting one’s vote on the day of polling. I sincerely hope that large numbers of eligible young people will get themselves registered as voters, thus forging a partnership in the quest to further strengthen our democracy.
My Dear Countrymen,
This great land, India, has given birth to innumerable great men, men whose deeds for the sake for humanity have been extraordinary, truly unforgettable. Our country is ‘Bahuratna vasundhara’ … the land of myriad gems. One among them was Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. On the 23rd of January, the country celebrated the birth anniversary of Netaji in an uncommon, special manner. On this occasion I was fortunate to get an opportunity to inaugurate a museum dedicated to heroes who fought in India’s freedom struggle. You may be aware of the fact that inside Red Fort, many chambers and structures lay locked & unused for several decades after Independence. Those very chambers have now been turned into exquisite museums. A museum dedicated to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army; Yaad-e-Jalian, reminiscences of Jalianwala Bagh and 1857 – India’s first war of Independence constitute the premises of ‘Kranti Mandir’, that has been dedicated to the nation. Every inch, every brick of these museums is redolent with the fragrance of our glorious history. Tales of valour of the heroes of our freedom struggle emanating from every nook & corner of these museums inspire us to delve deeper into our history. This was the very site where three heroic sons of Mother India – Col. Prem Sehgal, Col. Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon and Major General Shahnawaz Khan had to face a trial under British Rule.
On my visit to Kranti Mandir, Red Fort, as I was reflecting on memories of Netaji, his family members gifted me a special cap. There was a time when Netaji used to wear it. I dedicated that cap to the museum itself, for visitors to see and be inspired with the spirit of patriotism. The fact is, stories of the valour and patriotism of our heroes should be told and re-told to our newer generations in ways more than one. Just a month ago, on the 30th of December, I had gone to Andaman & Nicobar islands. At an event, our tricolour was unfurled at the very site where Netaji Subhash Bose had unfurled it exactly 75 years ago. In a similar manner, when the tricolour was hoisted at the Red Fort in October 2018, it surprised everyone, since conventionally, this is done on the 15th of August. The occasion was the completion of 75 years of the formation of the Azad Hind Government. Subhash Babu will always be remembered as a brave soldier and adept organiser; a valiant fighter who played a significant role in our Freedom Struggle. Through his clarion calls ‘Dilli Chalo’, ‘Tum mujhe Khoon do, main tumhe azadi doonga’, Netaji secured a special place in every Indian’s heart. That files associated with Netaji be declassified has been a long standing demand for years. And I am happy that we could manage to do the same. I remember the day when Netaji’s family paid a visit to the Prime Minister’s residence. We dwelt at length on myriad facets of Netaji Subhash Bose, offering him tributes.
It gladdens me to see many places associated with illustrious sons of India being developed in Delhi. Be it 26, Alipur Road, associated with
Babasaheb Ambedkar, or the Sardar Patel museum or the Kranti Mandir! Whenever you come to Delhi, you must pay a visit to these places.
My dear countrymen, today as we refer to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, that too in ‘Mann Ki Baat’, I would like to share with you an incident from Netaji’s life. I have always considered Radio as an effective means of connecting with people. Similarly, Netaji shared a deep bond with the medium of Radio and he chose this very medium to converse with countrymen.
In 1942, Subhash Babu established Azad Hind Radio and through it he used to communicate with soldiers of the Indian National Army and other countrymen. Subhash Babu had a distinct style of opening a broadcast. In the opening he would begin with, “This is Subhash Chandra Bose speaking to you over the Azad Hind Radio…”. These words instantly stirred up listeners with a rush of a new energy, a new fervour.
I am told this radio station also used to broadcast weekly news bulletins in English, Hindi, Tamil, Bangla, Marathi, Punjabi, Pashto & Urdu languages. In managing the affairs of this radio station, a resident of Gujarat M.R. Vyas ji played a vital role. Programmes broadcast over Azad Hind Radio were very popular amongst the populace. Their programmes were a major source of inspiration & strength to our freedom fighters.
In this very Kranti Mandir, a visual arts museum has been established. India’s art & culture has been portrayed here in a very attractive way. The museum has 4 historical exhibitions which display more than 450 paintings and artworks which are of three centuries vintage. Exquisite works of great artists such as Amrita Shergill, Raja Ravi Verma, Avanindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Sailoz Mukherjee have been exhibited. And I also specially request you to visit the place and see for yourself the works of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore ji.
Now you must be thinking that we are discussing art and here I’m talking about seeing Gurudev Tagore’s excellent works of art. You have probably known Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore till date as a writer and a musician. But I would like to tell you that Gurudev was also a painter. He had painted upon many themes. He did paintings of many animals and birds, he also painted many landscapes, and not only that he also tried to depict many human characters by etching them on canvas. And the most unique aspect was that Gurudev Tagore did not ascribe any name to most of his works. He believed that the person seeing his painting should comprehend the painting in totality, from his own perspective, understand the message imparted by him in the particularpainting. His paintings have been on display in European countries, in Russia and in America. I hope you will go and see his paintings in the ‘Kranti Mandir.’
My dear countrymen, India is a land of saints. Our saints have conveyed the message of goodwill, equality and social empowerment through their thoughts and deeds. One such Saint was – Sant Ravidas. On 19th February we will observe Ravidas Jayanti. The couplets or ‘dohas’ of Sant Ravidas ji are very well-known. Sant Ravidas used to convey a profound message through the few lines of his couplet or ‘doha.’ He had said
“जाति-जाति में जाति है,
जो केतन के पात,
रैदास मनुष ना जुड़ सके
जब तक जाति न जात”