Independence Day Signals New Resolve to Strengthen National Character
AUGUST 16, 2019
By TIOL Edit Team
THE Independence Day (ID) is a solemn occasion for citizens to reflect over their collective achievements & review the road ahead. And this spirit resonated well on 73 rd ID.
The President’s ID eve Address to the Nation and PM’s ID speech thus marked a new resolve to make India stronger & vibrant. Both of them offered enough ideas whose adoption can help us strengthen our national character.
President Ram Nath Kovind appositely drove home the need to follow citizens’ fundamental duties without making any direct reference to them.
Mr. Kovind observed that infrastructure is shared treasure of all citizens. Civic-minded citizens respect & safeguard infrastructure in the same way as security forces guard national frontiers.
He stated: “Whether you guard our nation at the frontiers or check that hand before it throws a stone at a passing train or any other public property – just like that, for the sake of it; or perhaps in anger – in some measure you protect a shared treasure. This is not just a matter of obeying laws; it is of answering to an inner conscience”.
He referred to highly productive first session of Parliament held after return of NDA to power. President hoped that this improved legislative practice should also be embraced by State assemblies. He felt such work culture helps elected representatives build trust with voters.
As put by Mr. Kovind: “Nation building, at the end of the day, is about creating that optimal partnership between voters and their representatives, between citizens and their government, and between civil society and state”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi echoed this vision in his address to the Nation on 15th August 2019. He mooted a paradigm shift in relationship between Government and the citizens.
Mr. Modi called for creation of a new environment that paves for gradual reduction in Government’s involvement in lives of citizens. He felt this change would give people the choice to shape their own destiny within the national framework.
Mr. Modi stated: “Citizens should not feel pressure of the government but at the same time during a crisis the government must not be found wanting. The government should neither be exerting nor wanting, but let us all move forward with our dreams. The government should be always standing by us, as a companion. In case the need arises, the people should be assured that Govt. is always there to back them up. Can we create such a system?”
He underscored well the importance of community action as an indicator of national character and national resolve to grapple with challenges. He lauded public’s active role in building toilets – an initiative that would make India open defecation free soon.
With this perspective, he called for community action to get rid of single-use plastics. He seamlessly extended his appeal for collective action to other domains as well. Comparing corruption & nepotism to termites, he said Government’s actions alone can’t cure such chronic problems.
Mr. Modi said: “I believe that there should be change in the system, but at the same time there should be a change in the social fabric. Along with the change in the social fabric, a change in the mindset and beliefs of the people running the systems is also very essential. Then only the desired results can be achieved”.
His most significant appeal for reshaping national character fell in the domain of demography. He rightly, though belatedly, pointed out that population explosion posed multiple challenges. He stated: “This rapidly increasing population poses various new challenges for us and our future generations”.
In his first term as PM, he did not address this problem that has offset lion’s share of development attained since 1947. He, however, avoided disclosing any carrot-&-stick initiative to control population explosion that worried even British rulers & some of the greatest freedom fighters.
Mr. Modi pointed out that those parents who embraced small family norm not only served families better but also contribute for the good of the nation. “They express patriotism”, he believed.
PM appealed: “I would like all the people of our society to watch their lives closely and see how much they have served their families by limiting increase in family size. It is about how the family has moved forward in just a generation or two, how the children have got education, how the family is free from disease, how well the family fulfils their primary needs. We should learn from them”.
As national character is shaped by thought trends, he extended his appeal for change in mindset to wealth creation. He appealed to the public to not doubt wealth creators.
He pertinently emphasized: “The need of the hour is to recognise and encourage the wealth creators of our nation. They should receive more honour. If wealth is not created, wealth cannot be distributed. Further, if wealth is not distributed we can not uplift the poor sector of our society. Such is the importance of wealth creation for our country which we need to facilitate further”.
He also called for collective will to take up the challenge of becoming five trillion dollar economy in five years.
He rightly said: “Fulfilling our responsibilities with a new confidence and a new resolve to build a new India should be our mantra”.
The ball is now in citizens’ court. Each of us has to realize that fundamental duties enshrined in the Indian Constitution are as important as fundamental rights. A perfect balance between the two is the right indicator of national character. This should be etched in the mind of all stakeholders.