Following is the text of the speech of the Prime Minister on the occasion of Independence Day:
My dear countrymen, I heartily greet 120 crore Indians on the 64th anniversary of our independence.
I have been addressing you from the historic Red Fort for the last seven years. In these seven years, our country has achieved much. During this period, we have travelled rapidly on the path of development and have seen success in many areas.
However, I am also well aware that a lot remains to be done. We have to banish poverty and illiteracy from our country. We have to provide the common man with access to improved health services. We have to provide employment opportunities to each one of our youth. The road ahead is long and arduous.
Particularly, the prevailing situation both inside and outside the country is such that if we do not act with understanding and restraint, our security and prosperity can get adversely affected.
The world economy is slowing down. The developed countries especially America and countries of Western Europe are facing economic problems. There is unrest in many Arab countries of the Middle East.
There are some people who want to create disturbances in the country so that our progress gets stalled. All this can have a negative impact on us. But we will not let this happen. I know that if we work together, we can face any challenge.
However, it is necessary that we rise above personal or political interests and build consensus on issues of vital national importance.
Brothers and sisters, We are building the edifice of modern India on the foundation of the hard work and sacrifices of our soldiers, our farmers and our workers. We will not let their hard work and sacrifices go waste.
We will convert the dreams of our freedom fighters into reality.
Brothers and sisters, In the last seven years, our government has strived for political stability and social and economic progress. We have established an environment of communal harmony in the country.
In these seven years, the pace of our economic development has been rapid. We have achieved this success despite the global economic slow-down of 2008 and rising prices of energy and commodities in world markets. We have strived for reducing inequalities in the country.
In the last seven years, we have taken special care of the needs of our brothers and sisters from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, minorities, women and children. We have enacted laws which would guarantee our people their basic entitlements.
After the rights to education, employment and information, we will soon enact a legislation for providing food security to the people.
In the last seven years, our relations with various countries of the world have strengthened and deepened. It is only the result of our hard work that today we have much more self-respect and self-confidence in ourselves.
Brothers and sisters, These successes are not ordinary. Today the world recognises our potential to be one of the major economic powers globally. But the problem of corruption is a big obstacle in such a transformation.
In the last few months many instances of corruption have come to light. In some cases, functionaries of the Central government face allegations of corruption. In other cases, it is the functionaries of various state governments.
We are taking the strictest possible action in cases of corruption that have surfaced. These cases are sub-judice and hence I will say nothing more on this subject.
It is essential that when we consider these issues, we do not create an atmosphere in which the country’s progress comes into question.Any debate on these matters should reflect the confidence that we can overcome these challenges.
Corruption manifests itself in many forms. In some instances, funds meant for schemes for the welfare of the common man end up in the pocket of government officials In some other instances government discretion is used to favour a selected few.
There are also cases where government contracts are wrongfully awarded to the wrong people. We cannot let such activities continue unchecked. I believe that there is no single big step which we can take to eradicate corruption. In fact, we will have to act simultaneously on many fronts. We will have to improve our justice delivery system.
Everyone should know that quick action will be taken against the corrupt and punishment meted out to them. If our system delivers justice in an effective manner, government officials would think twice before committing a wrong act out of greed or under political pressure.
We want a strong Lokpal to prevent corruption in high places. We have recently introduced a bill in Parliament to achieve this. Now only Parliament can decide what type of Lokpal legislation should be enacted. I am aware of the differences of opinion on some aspects of the bill.
Those who don’t agree with this bill can put forward their views to Parliament, political parties and even the press. However, I also believe that they should not resort to hunger strikes and fasts unto death. It is not appropriate to bring the judiciary under the ambit of Lokpal.
We believe that any such provision would go against the independence of the judiciary. However, we do need a framework in which the judiciary becomes more accountable. It is with this aim that we have introduced the Judicial Accountability Bill in Parliament.I am confident that this bill will be passed soon.
An alert press and an aware citizenry can be very helpful in the fight against corruption. The Indian press is known for its independence and activism throughout the world.
The Right to Information legislation that we have enacted has enabled our press and people to keep a strict watch on the work of the government.
Today many government decisions, which in the absence of this act would escape public scrutiny, are coming to light.I believe that this is a big step forward in eradicating corruption.
Brothers and sisters, many times, government discretion is misused in allocation of scarce resources and in the grant of clearances. We have examined this issue.We will put an end to such discretionary powers wherever possible.
Any government awards contracts worth thousands of crores every year. There are frequent complaints of corruption in these decisions. We had constituted a committee to suggest measures to reduce corruption in government purchases.
The committee has recommended that, like many other countries, we should also have a public procurement legislation which lays down the principles and practice with regard to government purchases. We will introduce a bill in Parliament by the end of this year to enact such a law.
In recent years, we have established independent regulatory authorities in many areas. These authorities discharge many responsibilities which were earlier in the domain of the government itself.
We have no legislation which would enable monitoring of the work of these regulatory authorities and make them more accountable, without, however, compromising their independence.We are also considering enactment of such a law.
Brothers and sisters, I have said so much on corruption because I know that this problem is a matter of deep concern for all of us. However, this is a difficulty for which no government has a magic wand.
We are taking simultaneous action on many fronts in our fight against corruption. We want all political parties to stand shoulder to shoulder with us in this fight.To eradicate corruption, we have introduced, and will introduce, many bills in Parliament. I hope that all political parties will cooperate in the process of converting these bills into statutes.
On the issue of corruption, I would like to say in the end that we can win the fight against corruption only when each and every citizen of India cooperates in it.
Brothers and sisters, I congratulate the country’s farmers for their achievements this year. The production of food grains has been at a record level. Wheat, maize, pulses and oilseeds have all seen record levels of production.
It is because of the hard work of our farmers that today there are proposals for export of food grains, sugar and cotton. We need a second Green Revolution in agriculture.
We can tackle the problem of rising food prices only by increasing agricultural production and productivity. We also need to increase agricultural production to implement a food security law.We will accelerate our efforts in this direction in the 12th Plan.
Today, I wish to assure our farmer brothers and sisters, particularly those who are small and marginal, that we will continue to take care of their special needs. It will be our endeavour to ensure that our farmers have easy access to fertilizers, seeds and credit.
We also want to provide the best possible irrigation facilities to the farmers so that their dependence on rains is reduced.
Brothers and sisters, Our country is passing through a phase of sustained high inflation. Controlling rising prices is a primary responsibility of any government.Our government fully understands this responsibility.We have continuously taken steps to rein in prices.
Some time we have been confronted with a situation in which the reasons for rising prices lay outside the country. The prices of petroleum products, food grains and edible oil have risen steeply in international markets in recent times.
Since we import these products in large quantities, any rise in their prices adds to inflationary pressure in our country. Sometimes we have been successful too in controlling inflation. But this success has not proved lasting.
A few days back, the people’s concern at rising prices was also reflected in a discussion in Parliament.
I wish to assure you today that we are continuously monitoring the situation to find out what new steps can be taken to arrest rising prices. Finding a solution to this problem will be our top-most priority in the coming months.
Brothers and sisters, I am fully aware of the tensions caused in some parts of the country because of acquisition of land for industry, infrastructure and urbanization.Our farmers have been especially affected by such acquisition. Land acquisition is no doubt necessary for projects of public interest.But it should take place in a transparent and fair manner.
The interests of those whose livelihoods are dependent on the land being acquired should be fully protected.We will ensure that no injustice is done to anyone in the process of land acquisition.
Our government wants to replace the 117 year old land acquisition law by a new Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation law which is forward-looking and balanced. We have already prepared a draft legislation and have initiated steps to build consensus on it. We will soon introduce a Bill in Parliament to this end.
Brothers and sisters, We are satisfied with our achievements in the last seven years in the areas of education and health.
Whether it is elementary education, secondary education or higher education we have taken concrete steps for improvements at all levels. This has shown good results.
In the last few years, fundamental changes have taken place in the area of education. Today every citizen has a right to elementary education. We are now considering universalization of secondary education.
Vocational education and skill development have acquired a new importance.In view of these major changes, it is necessary that we consider all aspects of education in a comprehensive manner.
Therefore we have decided to appoint an education commission to make recommendations for improvements at all levels of education.
I have often referred to the 11th Five Year Plan as an education plan. We will lay the same emphasis on health in the 12th plan as we laid on education in the 11th plan. I will propose to the National Development Council that the 12th plan should be specially focused on health.
I also promise that funds will not be a constraint in the important areas of education and health. For a long time our country had no facility for health insurance for workers in the unorganized sector.
In 2008, we began the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana for workers in the unorganized sector who are below the poverty line.
In the last year we have covered those getting employment under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Act and also domestic workers, street vendors and beedi workers under this scheme.
Today the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana covers about 2 crore 50 lakh workers. Our government will endeavour to cover as many unorganized sector workers as possible under this scheme.
Brothers and sisters, We are continuously strengthening the physical infrastructure in our country. This is an area which requires very large investments.It is for this reason that in the last seven years we have pursued policies which encourage investment in infrastructure.
As a percentage of GDP, investment in this area has grown more than one and a half times in the last seven years.
There have been improvements in our capacities in the petroleum sector and power generation, and in our airports, roads, especially rural road, and ports.
As an illustration, the capacity in power generation that we are going to add in the 11th plan will be twice that of the 10th plan.In the 12th Plan, we will further accelerate investment in infrastructure.
We will pay special attention to the remote areas of our country and to rural areas.Connecting such areas by rail and road will get the top most priority.
Brothers and sisters, We have taken a major step this year for our poor brothers and sisters living in cities.
Recently we have approved the Rajiv Awas Yojana.We want to make India slum free through this scheme.We want the slum dwellers to get ownership of clean houses and have access to basic amenities like water and electricity.
We will implement the Rajiv Awas Yojana as a national mission together with the States.
Brothers and sisters, Malnutrition in our women and children is a matter of concern for all of us. We have taken a number of steps to tackle this problem, including two new schemes.
We have also decided that we will start implementing an improved Integrated Child Development Services scheme within the next six months so that the problem of malnutrition in children can be effectively addressed.The figures of census 2011 show improvements in most areas.
But it is a matter of deep regret for us that the sex ratio has shown a decline from the level of the last census.
For an improvement in this state of affairs, it is not only necessary to implement the existing laws effectively but it is also essential to change the approach with which our society views girls and women.
I would especially appeal to the State governments and social service organizations to take steps for empowerment of women and for improving their status in society.
Brothers and sisters, Last month’s terrorists attacks in Mumbai warn us that there cannot be any slip up in our vigilance as far as the fight against terrorism is concerned.
This is a long battle to be fought jointly by the Central Government, the State Governments and the common man.We have been steadily strengthening our intelligence and security agencies and will continue to do so in the future also.
We are also taking all possible steps to overcome the challenge of Naxalism.We want to eradicate the very reasons which give rise to this problem. Therefore we have started a new scheme for the accelerated development of 60 backward and tribal dominated districts.
An amount of Rs.3300 crore will be spent on this scheme in a period of two years.
Brothers and sisters, Preserving our environment even as we develop rapidly is a huge challenge for us.
Climate change poses a threat to both our development processes and our natural resources.We have established eight missions on climate change and are working hard to implement these missions.
We have set up the National Ganga River Basin Authority for the protection and cleaning of river Ganga.
We have also established the National Green Tribunal for quick disposal of cases involving environmental issues.
In the coming months, we will constitute an environmental assessment and monitoring authority to streamline the process of environmental clearances.
Brothers and sisters, Our society and country are changing rapidly because of our fast economic growth.
Today our people look towards the future with new hope. They have higher aspirations. Our young men and women strive for path breaking achievements.
We should all build an environment in the country in which the energy and enthusiasm of the people are channelized into activities of nation building.
Our institutions should encourage constructive utilization of the potential of our people. Our entrepreneurs and businessmen should not feel constrained in their activities.
Our industrialists should have the opportunity to set up new industries so that our youth can get additional avenues for productive employment.
We should all stay away from politics that create suspicion or apprehension amongst those connected with industry, business and investment.
Brothers and sisters, It is not an ordinary achievement for our democracy with a population of 120 crore and so many religions, languages and cultures to march rapidly ahead on the path of development.
I congratulate the people of India on this achievement. But we must ensure that inequalities do not increase even as we develop rapidly. We have embarked on a journey to transform our huge and diverse country through rapid development.
A development which benefits every citizen of the country.It is natural that tensions would sometimes arise in this process of change. In a democracy, such tensions also become issues of political polarization.
We should endeavour that even as political parties oppose and engage in debate against each other, the pace of our progress does not get affected.
We should also have faith that our democracy, our institutions and our social ideals and values have the capacity to deal with any difficulty.We should all have faith in ourselves.
The faith that we can build a promising future for ourselves. The faith, that united we can do the most difficult of tasks. Let us all resolve to build a bright future for our country.
Dear children, join me in saying Jai Hind, Jai Hind, Jai Hind.
I greet you on the 63rd anniversary of our independence. When Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the Tricolour on this historic Red Fort, on 15th August, 1947, he called himself the first servant of India. I address you today in the same spirit of service.
A few days back, many precious lives were lost in Ladakh due to a cloudburst. I convey my heart felt condolences to the family members and other near and dear ones of those who have perished. In this hour of grief, the whole country stands with the people of Ladakh.
It is my assurance that the Central Government will do everything possible for rehabilitation of the affected people. When I addressed you last year on Independence Day, our country was facing a number of difficulties. There was a drought like situation in many parts of the country. We were also affected by the global economic slow down. I am happy to say that we have acquitted ourselves well in these difficult circumstances.
Despite many problems, the rate of our economic growth has been better than most other countries in the world. This shows the strength of our economy. This strength has been evident not only in the last one year but also in our economic progress in the last many years. Today, India stands among the fastest growing economies of the world. As the world’s largest democracy, we have become an example for many other countries to emulate. Our citizens have the right to make their voice heard. Our country is viewed with respect all over the world. Our views command attention in international fora.
All of you have contributed to India’s success. The hard work of our workers, our artisans, our farmers has brought our country to where it stands today. I specially salute our soldiers whose bravery ensures the safety of our borders. I pay tribute to all those martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for our country.
We are building a new India in which every citizen would have a stake, an India which would be prosperous and in which all citizens would be able to live a life of honour and dignity in an environment of peace and goodwill. An India in which all problems could be solved through democratic means. An India in which the basic rights of every citizen would be protected. In the last few years, we have taken many significant steps in this direction. Every person living in rural areas now has the assurance of 100 days of employment through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The Right to Information Act is helping our citizens to become more aware. This year our Government has enacted the Right to Education which will help every Indian to share in the benefits of the country’s economic progress and also to contribute to it. To ensure equal partnership of women in our progress, we have taken initiative for reservation for women in Parliament and in State legislatures. Apart from this, reservation for women has been increased to 50 per cent in local bodies.
Despite our many strengths, we face some serious challenges. We should resolve today that we will meet these challenges as one people. Our society often gets divided in the name of religion, State, caste or language. We should resolve that we will not allow divisions in our society under any circumstance. Tolerance and generosity have been a part of our traditions. We should strengthen these traditions. As we progress economically our society should also become more sensitive. We should be modern and progressive in our outlook.
Our Government has laid special emphasis on the welfare of our farmers and on increasing agricultural production. After we came to power in 2004, we realized that the state of Indian agriculture in the preceding 7-8 years was not satisfactory. Our Government increased public investment in agriculture. We started new schemes for increasing production. We encouraged agricultural planning at the district level. I am happy that the growth rate of our agriculture has increased substantially in the last few years. But we are still far from achieving our goal. We need to work harder so that we can increase the agricultural growth rate to 4 percent per annum.
Our Government wants a food safety net in which no citizen of ours would go hungry. This requires enhanced agricultural production which is possible only by increasing productivity. Our country has not witnessed any big technological breakthrough in agriculture after the Green Revolution. We need technology which would address the needs of dry land agriculture. In addition, our agriculture should also be able to deal with new challenges like climate change, falling levels of ground water and deteriorating quality of soil. In the history of Indian agriculture, Norman Borlaug commands a special place. About 40 to 50 years back he developed new and more productive seeds of wheat. Under the leadership of Smt. Indira Gandhiji, India achieved the Green Revolution by adopting these seeds. I am happy to announce that the Borlaug Institute of South Asia is being established in India. This institute would facilitate availability of new and improved seeds and new technology to the farmers of India and other countries of South Asia.
We have always taken care to provide remunerative prices to farmers so that they are encouraged to increase production. Support prices have been increased every year in the last six years. The support price for wheat was enhanced to Rs.1,100 per quintal last year from Rs.630 per quintal in 2003-04. In paddy, this increase was from Rs.550 per quintal to Rs.1,000 per quintal. But one effect of providing higher prices to farmers is that food prices in the open market also increase.
I know that in the last few months high inflation has caused you difficulties. It is the poor who are the worst affected by rising prices, especially when the prices of commodities of every day use like foodgrains, pulses, vegetables increase. It is for this reason that we have endeavored to minimize the burden of increased prices on the poor. Today, I do not want to go into the detailed reasons for high inflation. But, I would certainly like to say that we are making every possible effort to tackle this problem. I am also confident that we will succeed in these efforts.
It is obvious that any person or institution cannot spend more than his income over a long period of time, even if it is the Government.
It is our responsibility that we manage our economy with prudence so that our development is not affected adversely in the future because of high debt. We import about 80 percent of our requirement of petroleum products. After 2004, we have increased the prices of petroleum products much less compared to the increase in the price of crude oil in the international market. The subsidy on petroleum products has been increasing every year. It had become necessary therefore to increase the prices of petroleum products. If this had not been done, it would not have been possible for our budget to bear the burden of subsidy and our programmes for education, health and employment of the poor would have been adversely affected.
In the 63 years after independence, India has covered a long distance on the path of development. But our destination is still far away. A large part of our population still suffers from persistent poverty, hunger and disease. When our Government came to power in 2004, we resolved to build a new India under a progressive social agenda. We wanted the fruits of development to reach the common man. We initiated programmes especially targeted to the welfare of the socially and economically backward sections of our society. We still stand committed to the welfare of the poor, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, minorities, women and other backward sections of our society. But today we do not need many new programmes to achieve our goals. However, we do need to implement the schemes we have already started more effectively, minimizing the chances of corruption and misuse of public money. We want to achieve this in partnership with the State Governments, Panchayat Raj Institutions and civil society groups.
Secularism is one of the pillars of our democracy. It has been the tradition of our country and society to treat all religions with equal respect. For centuries India has welcomed new religions and all have flourished here. Secularism is also our constitutional obligation. Our Government is committed to maintain communal peace and harmony. We also consider it our duty to protect the minorities and provide for their special needs. This is why we have started many new programmes in the last four years for the welfare of our brothers and sisters belonging to the minority communities. These include scholarships for minority students and special programmes for the development of districts which have a high concentration of minorities. These schemes have shown good results. We will vigorously take this work forward.
We have been giving special attention to education and health in the last six years. Improvement in these two areas is an important component of our strategy for inclusive growth. It is also necessary for higher economic growth in the years to come. After independence, these two areas could not get the importance they deserved. We tried to change this state of affairs in the 11th Plan. Today, almost every child in our country has access to primary education. Now, we need to pay more attention to secondary and higher education. We also need to improve the quality of education at all levels. It is our endeavour that every child, irrespective of whether he is rich or poor and which section of the society he belongs to, should be given an education that enables him to realize his potential and makes him a responsible citizen of our country. We will continue to implement the new schemes that we have started in the last six years in the areas of education and health with sincerity and hard work and in partnership with the State Governments. We will soon bring a Bill to Parliament for constitution of two separate councils in higher education and health respectively so that reforms in these two areas can be accelerated.
Nutritious food and good health services are necessary but not enough for ensuring good health of our citizens. We also need cleanliness and good sanitation in our villages, towns and cities. There are many diseases which would be difficult to prevent otherwise. The truth is that our country lags behind in this area. I consider it a primary responsibility of all our citizens to maintain cleanliness and hygiene around them. I would like our children to be taught the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in schools from the very beginning under a campaign for a Clean India. I appeal to the State Governments, Panchayat Raj Institutions, civil society groups and common citizens to make this campaign successful.
Mahatma Gandhi had said that our earth has enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed. Imprudent use of the earth’s natural resources has resulted in the problem of climate change. We need to use our natural resources with care and prudence. It is our responsibility towards the coming generations to protect and preserve our forests, rivers and mountains. Our government will endeavour to take care of environmental concerns in our projects for economic development.
There is a large deficit in our physical infrastructure which affects our economic development adversely. There is a shortfall in the supply of electricity to industries. Our roads, ports and airports are not of world standards. We have been trying to increase electricity production and improve our roads, ports and airports. The resources required to create good physical infrastructure are difficult for the Government alone to mobilize. Therefore, we have endeavoured to involve the private sector in our efforts. The steps that we have taken after 2004 to improve our physical infrastructure have started bearing fruit now. About one and half a months back, I dedicated a new terminal of the Delhi airport to the nation. This is an excellent terminal which has been completed in record time. We will continue to make such efforts to improve our physical infrastructure.
There has been much discussion recently on the issue of internal security. If law and order in any part of India deteriorates or peace and harmony gets disturbed, the common man is adversely affected. Therefore, it is one of the primary responsibilities of any government to maintain law and order so that the citizens can live and earn their livelihood in an atmosphere of peace and harmony. Naxalism is a serious challenge to our internal security. I pay tribute to the men and officers of our security forces who have became martyrs in the attacks by Naxalites in the last few months. I have stated this before and I say it again – our Government will fully discharge its responsibility to protect each and every citizen of our country. We will deal firmly with those who resort to violence.
We will provide all possible help to State Governments to maintain the rule of law in areas affected by Naxalism. I once again appeal to Naxalites to abjure violence, come for talks with the Government and join hands with us to accelerate social and economic development. A few days back I took a meeting with the Chief Ministers of States affected by Naxalism. We will fully implement the consensus that emerged in that meeting. I would like to repeat here a point that I made in that meeting. It is imperative that Centre and States work together to meet the challenge of Naxalism. It would be very difficult for any State to tackle this problem without cooperation from the Centre and coordination between States. We all need to rise above our personal and political interests to meet this challenge.
As I have stated earlier, most Naxalite affected areas lag behind in development. Many such areas also have a large concentration of our adivasi brothers and sisters. We want to end the neglect of these areas. I have asked the Planning Commission to formulate a comprehensive scheme towards this end, which we would implement fully. It is also our endeavour that our adivasi brothers and sisters join the mainstream of development. They have been dependent on forest produce for centuries and this dependence should not end without the creation of new sources of livelihood. Apart from adequate compensation for land which is acquired from them, we should also ensure that our adivasi brothers and sisters have a stake in the developmental project being undertaken.
I would like to state one more thing in this context. It is very necessary to make the administrative machinery more sensitive in areas affected by Naxalism. The government officials who work there should not only be sincere but should also be alive to the special needs of our adivasi brothers and sisters. It is my hope that the State Governments will pay adequate attention to these requirements.
We have a special responsibility towards the States of the North East. We are trying to live up to that responsibility. The North Eastern part of our country has been witness to some unpleasant incidents in the recent months. I would like to convey to all political parties and groups of the North East that disputes in the name of State or tribe can only harm all of us. Discussion and dialogue are the only options to resolve complex issues. As far as the Central Government is concerned, we are ready to take forward every process of talks which could lead to progress in resolution of problems.
In Jammu and Kashmir, we are ready to talk to every person or group which abjures violence. Kashmir is an integral part of India. Within this framework, we are ready to move forward in any talks which would increase the partnership of the common man in governance and also enhance their welfare. Recently, some young men have lost their lives in violence in Jammu and Kashmir. We deeply regret this. The years of violence should now end. Such violence would not benefit anyone. I believe that India’s democracy has the generosity and flexibility to be able to address the concerns of any area or group in the country. I recently participated in a meeting with political parties from Jammu and Kashmir. We will endeavour to take this process forward. I would like to convey to our countrymen, especially our citizens in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North East, that they should adopt democratic means to join hands with us for their and country’s welfare.
We want prosperity, peace and harmony in our neighbouring countries. Whatever differences we have with our neighbouring countries, we want to resolve them through discussions. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we expect from them that they would not let their territory be used for acts of terrorism against India. We have been emphasizing this in all our discussions with the Pakistan Government. If this is not done, we cannot progress far in our dialogue with Pakistan.
I would also like to say something which is related to our glorious cultural traditions. The use of harsh and unpleasant words in our political discourse has increased in recent days. This is against our traditions of generosity, humility and tolerance. Criticism has a place of its own in a democracy and in a progressive society. However, criticism should not be undignified. We should have the capacity to reconcile opposite points of view on important issues through debate and discussion. I would request all political parties to consider this issue.
The Commonwealth Games will start in Delhi after about one and a half months. This will be a proud moment for the whole country and especially for Delhi. I am convinced that all our countrymen will treat the Games as a national festival and will leave no stone unturned to make them a success. The successful organization of Commonwealth Games would be another signal to the world that India is rapidly marching ahead with confidence.
Our future is bright. The day when our dreams will come true is not far off. Let us all resolve on this anniversary of our independence that we will keep the flag of our nation flying high. Let us march ahead together on the path of progress and prosperity.
Dear children, please say Jai Hind with me. JAI HIND, JAI HIND, JAI HIND."
The Quit India speech is a speech made by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8th 1942, on the eve of the Quit India movement. He called for determined, but passive resistance that signified the certitude that Gandhi foresaw for the movement is best described by his call to Do or Die. His speech was issued at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay, since re-named August Kranti Maidan (August Revolution Ground). However, almost the entire Congress leadership, and not merely at the national level, was put into confinement less than twenty-four hours after Gandhi’s speech, and the greater number of the Congress leaders were to spend the rest of the war in jail. One day before India celebrates it’s Independence day I’m just presenting here the speech which finally resulted in Independence of India.
(Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )
Quit India Speech
Before you discuss the resolution, let me place before you one or two things, I want you to understand two things very clearly and to consider them from the same point of view from which I am placing them before you. I ask you to consider it from my point of view, because if you approve of it, you will be enjoined to carry out all I say. It will be a great responsibility. There are people who ask me whether I am the same man that I was in 1920, or whether there has been any change in me. You are right in asking that question.
Let me, however, hasten to assure that I am the same Gandhi as I was in 1920. I have not changed in any fundamental respect. I attach the same importance to non-violence that I did then. If at all, my emphasis on it has grown stronger. There is no real contradiction between the present resolution and my previous writings and utterances.
Occasions like the present do not occur in everybody’s and but rarely in anybody’s life. I want you to know and feel that there is nothing but purest Ahimsa1 in all that I am saying and doing today. The draft resolution of the Working Committee is based on Ahimsa, the contemplated struggle similarly has its roots in Ahimsa. If, therefore, there is any among you who has lost faith in Ahimsa or is wearied of it, let him not vote for this resolution.
Let me explain my position clearly. God has vouchsafed to me a priceless gift in the weapon of Ahimsa. I and my Ahimsa are on our trail today. If in the present crisis, when the earth is being scorched by the flames of Himsa2 and crying for deliverance, I failed to make use of the God given talent, God will not forgive me and I shall be judged un-wrongly of the great gift. I must act now. I may not hesitate and merely look on, when Russia and China are threatened.
Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a non-violent fight for India’s independence. In a violent struggle, a successful general has been often known to effect a military coup and to set up a dictatorship. But under the Congress scheme of things, essentially non-violent as it is, there can be no room for dictatorship. A non-violent soldier of freedom will covet nothing for himself, he fights only for the freedom of his country. The Congress is unconcerned as to who will rule, when freedom is attained. The power, when it comes, will belong to the people of India, and it will be for them to decide to whom it placed in the entrusted. May be that the reins will be placed in the hands of the Parsis, for instance-as I would love to see happen-or they may be handed to some others whose names are not heard in the Congress today. It will not be for you then to object saying, ‘This community is microscopic. That party did not play its due part in the freedom’s struggle; why should it have all the power?’ Ever since its inception the Congress has kept itself meticulously free of the communal taint. It has thought always in terms of the whole nation and has acted accordingly …
I know how imperfect our Ahimsa is and how far away we are still from the ideal, but in Ahimsa there is no final failure or defeat. I have faith, therefore, that if, in spite of our shortcomings, the big thing does happen, it will be because God wanted to help us by crowning with success our silent, unremitting Sadhana1 for the last twenty-two years.
I believe that in the history of the world, there has not been a more genuinely democratic struggle for freedom than ours. I read Carlyle’s French Resolution while I was in prison, and Pandit Jawaharlal has told me something about the Russian revolution. But it is my conviction that inasmuch as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence they failed to realize the democratic ideal. In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence.
Then, there is the question of your attitude towards the British. I have noticed that there is hatred towards the British among the people. The people say they are disgusted with their behaviour. The people make no distinction between British imperialism and the British people. To them, the two are one This hatred would even make them welcome the Japanese. It is most dangerous. It means that they will exchange one slavery for another. We must get rid of this feeling. Our quarrel is not with the British people, we fight their imperialism. The proposal for the withdrawal of British power did not come out of anger. It came to enable India to play its due part at the present critical juncture It is not a happy position for a big country like India to be merely helping with money and material obtained willy-nilly from her while the United Nations are conducting the war. We cannot evoke the true spirit of sacrifice and velour, so long as we are not free. I know the British Government will not be able to withhold freedom from us, when we have made enough self-sacrifice. We must, therefore, purge ourselves of hatred. Speaking for myself, I can say that I have never felt any hatred. As a matter of fact, I feel myself to be a greater friend of the British now than ever before. One reason is that they are today in distress. My very friendship, therefore, demands that I should try to save them from their mistakes. As I view the situation, they are on the brink of an abyss. It, therefore, becomes my duty to warn them of their danger even though it may, for the time being, anger them to the point of cutting off the friendly hand that is stretched out to help them. People may laugh, nevertheless that is my claim. At a time when I may have to launch the biggest struggle of my life, I may not harbour hatred against anybody.