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Speech by His Excellency Mr. Dinesh Bhatia, Ambassador of India at Flag Hoisting Ceremony on the occasion of 69th Independence Day of India at India House, Abidjan on 15 August 2015

Posted on: August 15, 2015 | Back | Print



New Delhi: 14.8.2015

My Fellow Citizens:

1.  On the eve of the 66th Republic Day, I extend warm greetings to all of you in India and abroad. I convey my special greetings to members of our Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces and Internal Security Forces.

2.   Twenty Sixth January holds an everlasting place in our national memory because it is the day when modern India was born. Under Mahatma Gandhi’s moral and political leadership, the National Congress passed the Purna Swaraj resolution demanding complete independence from British rule in December 1929. Gandhiji organized nationwide celebrations on 26 January 1930 as Independence Day. From then on, the Nation took a pledge on this day every year to carry on the freedom struggle till we attained it.

3.  Exactly twenty years later, in 1950, we adopted our charter of modernity, the Constitution. Tragically, Gandhiji had been martyred two years before, but the framework of a Constitution that has made India a role model for today's world was constructed out of his philosophy. Its essence lay in four principles: democracy; freedom of faith; gender equality; and an economic upsurge for those trapped in the curse of dire poverty. These were made Constitutional obligations. Gandhiji’s talisman for the country's rulers was simple and powerful and I quote: "Whenever you are in doubt...recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself...will it lead to swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?" (unquote). Our resolve to eliminate poverty through inclusive development has to be a step in that direction.

Fellow Citizens:

4.  The past year has been remarkable in many ways. Particularly because, after three decades the people have voted to power a single party with a majority for a stable government, and in the process freed the country’s governance from the compulsions of coalition politics. Outcome of these Elections has given the mandate to the elected government to fulfill its commitment to the people by using its majority for formulating policies and making laws to implement those policies. The voter has played her part; it is now up to those who have been elected to honour this trust. It was a vote for clean, efficient, effective, gender-sensitive, transparent, accountable and citizen-friendly governance.

Fellow Citizens:

5.   There can be no governance without a functioning legislature. The legislature reflects the will of the people. It is the platform where progressive legislation using civilized dialogue must create delivery mechanisms for realizing the aspirations of the people. It calls for reconciling the differences amongst stakeholders and building a consensus for the law to be enacted. Enacting laws without discussion impacts the law-making role of the Parliament. It breaches the trust reposed in it by the people. This is neither good for the democracy nor for the policies relating to those laws.

प्यारे देशवासियो,

6.    पंडित जवाहरलाल नेहरू, सरदार पटेल, सुभाष चंद्र बोस, भगत सिंह, रवीन्द्रनाथ टैगोर, सुब्रह्मण्य भारती और अन्य बहुत से लोगों के व्यवसाय तथा नजरिए भले ही अलग-अलग रहे हों, परंतु उन सभी ने केवल राष्ट्र भक्ति की ही भाषा बोली। हम अपनी आजादी के लिए राष्ट्रीयता के इन महान योद्धाओं के ऋणी हैं। हम उन भूले-बिसरे वीरों को भी नमन करते हैं जिन्होंने भारत माता की आजादी के लिए अपनी कुर्बानी दी। परंतु मुझे यह देखकर दु:ख होता है कि जब महिलाओं की हिफाजत की बात होती है तब उसके अपने बच्चों द्वारा ही भारत माता का सम्मान नहीं किया जाता। बलात्कार, हत्या, सड़कों पर छेड़छाड़, अपहरण तथा दहेज हत्याओं जैसे अत्याचारों ने महिलाओं के मन में अपने घरों में भी भय पैदा कर दिया है। रवीन्द्रनाथ टैगोर महिलाओं को न केवल घर में प्रकाश करने वाली देवियां मानते थे वरन् उन्हें स्वयं आत्मा का प्रकाश मानते थे। माता-पिता, शिक्षकों और नेताओं के रूप में, हमसे कहां चूक हो गई है कि हमारे बच्चे सभ्य व्यवहार तथा महिलाओं के प्रति सम्मान के सिद्धांतों को भूल गए हैं। हमने बहुत से कानून बनाए हैं, परंतु जैसा कि बेंजामिन फ्रैंकलिन ने एक बार कहा था, ‘‘न्याय का उद्देश्य तब तक पूर्ण नहीं होगा जब तक कि वे लोग भी उतने ही क्षुब्ध नहीं महसूस करते जो भुक्तभोगी नहीं हैं जितना कि वे, जो भुक्तभोगी हैं।’’ हर एक भारतीय को किसी भी प्रकार की हिंसा से महिलाओं की हिफाजत करने की शपथ लेनी चाहिए। केवल ऐसा ही देश वैश्विक शक्ति बन सकता है जो अपनी महिलाओं का सम्मान करे तथा उन्हें सशक्त बनाए।

प्यारे देशवासियो,

7.    भारतीय संविधान लोकतंत्र की पवित्र पुस्तक है। यह ऐसे भारत के सामाजिक-आर्थिक बदलाव का पथप्रदर्शक है, जिसने प्राचीन काल से ही बहुलता का सम्मान किया है, सहनशीलता का पक्ष लिया है तथा विभिन्न समुदायों के बीच सद्भाव को बढ़ावा दिया है। परंतु इन मूल्यों की हिफाजत अत्यधिक सावधानी और मुस्तैदी से करने की जरूरत है। लोकतंत्र में निहित स्वतंत्रता कभी-कभी उन्मादपूर्ण प्रतिस्पर्धा के रूप में एक ऐसा नया कष्टप्रद परिणाम सामने ले आती है जो हमारी परंपरागत प्रकृति के विरुद्ध है। वाणी की हिंसा चोट पहुंचाती है और लोगों के दिलों को घायल करती है। गांधी जी ने कहा था कि धर्म एकता की ताकत है; हम इसे टकराव का कारण नहीं बना सकते।

Fellow Citizens:

8.     Much is said about India's soft power. But the most powerful example of India's soft power, in an international environment where so many countries are sinking into the morass of theocratic violence, lies in our definition of the relationship between faith and polity. We have always reposed our trust in faith-equality where every faith is equal before the law and every culture blends into another to create a positive dynamic. Wisdom of India teaches us: unity is strength, dominance is weakness.

Fellow Citizens:

9.     The multi-nation conflict has converted boundaries into bloodlines, and turned terrorism into an industry of evil. Terrorism and violence are seeping across our borders. While peace, non-violence and good neighbourly intentions should remain the fundamentals of our foreign policy, we cannot afford to be complacent about adversaries who will stop at nothing to disrupt our progress towards a prosperous and equitable India. We have the strength, confidence and determination to defeat architects of this war against our people. Repeated violations of the ceasefire along the Line of Control and terrorist attacks must get an integrated response through incisive diplomacy and impregnable security mechanisms. The world must join India in fighting the menace of terrorism.

Fellow Citizens:

10.   Economic progress is also a test of democracy. Year 2015 is a year of hope. Key economic indicators provide for much optimism. Strengthening of the external sector, move towards fiscal consolidation, moderation in price levels, early signs of rebound in manufacturing and record agricultural production last year augur well for our economy. Achieving five percent plus growth rates each in the first two quarters of 2014-15 is a healthy sign for an early reversion to the high growth trajectory of 7-8 percent.

11.   The success of a society is measured by both survival and strengthening of its values, institutions and instruments of governance. Our national narrative has been shaped by the principles of its past, triumphs of today and is now ready to own the future by powering its latent potential.

Fellow Citizens:

12.   Our national ambition is to raise the quality of life of Indians by quantum leaps and raise generations enlightened by learning, patriotism, compassion, honesty and a sense of duty.  Thomas Jefferson had said and I quote: “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty (unquote). We must strive for the highest quality in our educational institutions so that we can take our place, within a visible future, among the knowledge leaders of the 21st century. I would urge, in particular, that we lay special stress on the culture of books and reading, which takes knowledge beyond the classroom and frees imagination from stress of the immediate and the utilitarian. We must be a creative people, nourished by innumerable, interlinked rivers of ideas. Our youth must lead the way to mastery of technology and communication in a universe where the cloud has become a library without frontiers, and vast opportunity awaits within the computer in your palm. The 21st century is within India's grasp.

Fellow Citizens:

13.   This future will remain both visible and elusive if we do not discover the ability to continually cleanse ourselves of retrograde habits and social ills. Over the past century, some have died, others have faded, but many still exist. We are celebrating, this year, the centenary of Gandhiji's return to India from South Africa. We can never cease to learn from a Mahatma. The first thing he did in 1915 was to keep his eyes open and his lips sealed. It is advisable to follow his example. While we are, rightly, focused on 1915, perhaps we should cast a glance on what Gandhiji did in 1901, the year when he returned home for his first break. The annual Congress session was held that year in Calcutta, then the capital of British India. Gandhiji was a delegate. He went to Ripon College for a meeting. He discovered that the whole place had been dirtied by fellow-delegates. A shocked Gandhiji did not wait for any allotted cleaner. He picked up a broom and cleaned the area.  No one followed his example in 1901. 114 years later, let us follow his example, and become worthy children of a magnificent father.

Jai Hind!


My dear compatriots,

1.    Now I would like to speak a few words on my own behalf. First of all, I would like to express my deep satisfaction on the growing connect between the Indian community in Cote d'Ivoire and Embassy of India in Abidjan. I can confidently say that since my arrival in April 2014, there is a lot more interaction between you and us and that makes us WE.

2.   I have been constantly revising my estimates to get a realistic picture of number of Indians in Cote d’Ivoire. When I addressed you on the Independence Day 2014, I had pegged the figure at 1000. But today my assessment says that the number of Indians in Cote d’Ivoire is more than 1500.

3.    I want to take today's opportunity to urge each and every Indian in Cote d'Ivoire to ensure that all of you are registered with the Embassy. Kindly make sure that you yourself, your family members and any Indian employee that you may have is registered with us so that we have a fuller picture of Indians living in Cote d'Ivoire. I also wish to announce today that registration of Indians by the Embassy will be done the same day helping you to avoid making an extra trip to the Embassy.  

4.   Many of you may not know that the Embassy has a functional website which is regularly updated. It contains all forms for various services which can be easily downloaded. The embassy's website address is on the snack boxes that you would be receiving afterwards.

5.   I wish to convey best greetings to each one of you on behalf of my family, my Embassy staff and my own behalf on this solemn occasion of the 66th Republic Day of India.

6.   With these words, I would like to thank each one of you for your participation this morning. I would also like to thank everyone who has contributed directly or indirectly in organising this function.

7.    Now kindly repeat after me three times – Jai Hind, Jai Hind, Jai Hind.

Thank you.