By Manoj Sinha
FRIENDS, an individual or a nation turning 75 invites anxiety. What next? That’s the query which often acquires the shape of a puzzle. But, for us, India turning 75 is a moment for joy and celebration, and indicates a fresh resolve towards nation building.
A New India — as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for in his address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 2017– should emerge on the 75th anniversary of Independence in 2022 from the joint strength of all.
Next 75 weeks will lay a spread to celebrate “Azaadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav” to mark 75 years of independence.
The impressions of resistance against Britishers are still young and failed to age in our nation’s memory. March 12 is a major milestone in India’s freedom struggle against the British imperialism. The day captures Mahatma Gandhi’s another non-violent feat to achieve freedom through Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram in 1930.
The country’s destiny is on the cusp of a change. The emerging New India is eager to come out of shackles of impediments that have held the nation hostage from realization of human potential and development which stalwarts like Gandhi had dreamt off.
The celebrations should hold the spirit of freedom movement, express gratitude to the martyrs, and reflect glory of Sanatan Bharat and Modern India which glows under the twin light of spirituality of mystics and contribution of our scientists; Prime Minister Modi had outlined his views on the 75-week long events.
Friends, now is the time for each one of us to take a pledge again on our duties towards the nation – that’s what Gandhi and constitution-maker BR Ambedkar had told men and women to vow for post Independence. We all have the rights to life and I’m sure there is scope for more.
But, ponder over what Gandhi told us then which is so relevant even now. “The true source of rights is duty. If we all discharge our duties, right will not be far to seek. If leaving duties unperformed we run after rights, they will escape us like a will-o’-the-wisp. The more we pursue them, the farther they fly”.
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History testifies that India has stood for “Vasudev Kutumbhakam” every time the crisis has stared at humanity. Latest insight into the country’s potential and determination was writ large in the compassionate way we distributed vaccines to other countries in our fight against covid 19.
Free India also managed a spirited economic recovery offsetting financial costs Britishers had imposed through its various schemes. Over less than seven decades since 1947, India’s per capita income reportedly grew six times. Similarly, other economic parameters too jumped up significantly.
Friends, the culture of our country teaches us that one must visit the pilgrimage site before starting the festivities. Today my desire is fulfilled. I’ll be visiting the holy birthplace of Brigadier Rajendra Singh, who is an epitome of unmatched valour and sacrifice. I have read the stories of Brigadier Rajendra Singh many a times and have lived through the tales of his and soldiers’ gallantry at Uri in October 1947. If we have been able to save the soul of Jammu and Kashmir from the Pakistani Invaders, it is due to warriors like Brigadier Rajendra Singh.
Like Brigadier Singh, Maqbool Sherwani, Women Self Defense Corps protected the composite culture of Jammu and Kashmir and every inch of the land by putting their lives at stake. With the same spirit, our government is making efforts to develop every inch of the UT’s land to the standards of mainstream.
In order to commemorate 75 years of Indian Independence in a befitting manner, the tales of our saviours like Brigadier Rajendra Singh, Maqbool Sherwani, Subedar Major Swaran Singh, Ram Saran and others must reach the entire population of Jammu and Kashmir.
In Mandukya Upanishad, a word, Jagrit, is used to demonstrate awakening. The celebration will be a glory of our cultural heritage with the fragrance of talent pool, strength of our youth power and vision of scientists and technology experts. This occasion too in my mind will sow seeds of a new awakening for the people of Jammu Kashmir.
One of the stalwarts of the freedom movement, Lokmanya Tilak, was much ahead of times. His contribution during the freedom struggle we all respect and cherish. Another visionary but less told facet to his personality was the support he had lent to small entrepreneurs and industrialists to have businesses of their own, a great proponent of what we now popularly call “start-ups” and “atmanirbhar (self-reliance)” India. Tilak took to crowd funding to establish “paisa fund”, a corpus for financing village enterprises and local factories. Borrowing from Tilak’s vision, Jammu Kashmir has created an ecosystem for startups. Within few months, the administration has registered 69 startups to allow entrepreneurs explore and realize business opportunities in different sectors.
One of the fundamental laws of life is this: dignity to every human being is the master key to bring peace and development. And, I seek the support of every citizen of J&K with the spirit of Jan Bhageedari to usher in a new era of growth. Jan Bhageedari is highly relevant, one could even say imperative, for good governance and inclusive development. Our ancient seers, freedom fighters had taken similar steps to build the idea of New India that is most modern and yet carries the values of people’s participation. With this spirit, we have to work towards sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development so that prosperity reaches all. That is the top most priority of my administration.
I would like to reiterate on the occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav that we have to provide our youth prospects for the future, invest more in education and skills and strengthen the position of girls and young women in the society.
During the next 75 weeks of celebration, we must demonstrate our shared commitment to the fundamental values of harmony, Sarv Dharm Sambhav, freedom, democracy and the duties. Let us together celebrate 75 years of the country’s independence and start building the India our founding fathers wanted.
In Bhagwad Geeta, Krishna says, “अहं सर्वस्य प्रभवो मत्त: सर्वं प्रवर्तते। इति मत्वा भजन्ते मां बुधा भावसमन्विता। I am the source of all, Arjuna. From me everything evolves.”
On the eve of the nation turning 75, Jammu and Kashmir must strive to reach milestones set out by our founding fathers.
The Writer is Lt. Governor of Jammu & Kashmir.
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