Our country will be celebrating its 71st Independence Day on 15th August 2018. On the prior eve of this anniversary I extend my good wishes to all of you. On August 15, 1947, we became a free nation. Sovereignty and the responsibility for our destiny moved from the British crown to the people of India. Some have called this process a “transfer of power”.
It was much more than that. It was the culmination of a dream for our country – a dream seen by our forefathers and freedom fighters. We were free to live our social and moral life freely. This spirit of empathy and of social service and volunteerism is very much alive in India. There are so many people and organizations that work quietly and diligently for the poor and the disadvantaged.
They could be running schools for street children, caring for stray animals and birds, and providing water to hard-to-reach tribal communities in remote areas or cleaning rivers and public places. They are nation builders in action, and we need to draw inspiration from them.
We should also work with unity and purpose to ensure that the benefits of government policies reach all sections of society. For this, the partnership between citizens and government remains essential:
The single most critical factor for building our nation is to equip our coming generation. We need to ensure that not one child is left behind. As such I would urge you, as fellow nation builders, to help educate less-privileged children in our society. Help teach a child other than your own. Enrol and pay the school fees or buy the books of at least one child other than your own. Just one!
Our India is at the door of great achievements. In a few years, we will become a fully literate society. We must set the bar higher, and aim to become a fully educated society. We are all stake-holders in this mission. If we achieve it, our country will change before our eyes. And we will become agents of this defining change.
Two thousand five hundred years ago Gautam Buddha said, “अप्प दीपो भव…Be a lamp unto yourself…” If we follow his teachings, acting together, with the passion of our freedom movement, we can collectively be the 125 crore lamps that light up the path to a New India.
Once more, I wish all of you the very best on the eve of our 71st Independence Day.