0903 GMT September 18, 2019
Citizens do not just make up and preserve a republic, they are its ultimate stakeholders and, in fact, pillars, stressed Indian President Ram Nath Kovind in his address on the eve of the 69th Republic Day of India marked annually on January 26.
“A republic is its people … Each one of us is a pillar,” Kovind added in his message, read out by Indian Ambassador to Tehran Saurabh Kumar in a ceremony held in the Iranian capital on Friday to mark the 68th anniversary of the country’s Republic Day.
Commenting on the previous (67th) anniversary of the occasion, Ambassador Kumar said, January 26, 1950 is the day on which the Constitution of India came into effect.
“This Constitution, of course, has been the basis for all the progress the country has made. It is the basic law of the country. It is very important for us to celebrate the day to remind ourselves of the country’s founding fathers and, of course, the people who drafted the Constitution. The governance of India takes place on the basis of the basic law provided in this document.”
The Indian president added in his message that the Republic Day is a day to remember with gratitude “the enormous efforts and sacrifices of millions of freedom fighters whose blood and sweat gave us independence and created our republic”.
He said in the message that India becoming a republic was the second major milestone in the nation- building process.
“Independence had come a little over two years earlier. But it was with the framing and adoption of the Constitution – and the birth of the Republic of India – that we truly achieved the ethic of equality among all citizens, irrespective of religion, region or community. This ethic of equality complemented the liberty that had come at independence.”
On June 15, 1947, after 90 years of struggle starting from 1857, India achieved independence from Great Britain.
Kovind’s message added independence had come after a great struggle in which millions had participated.
“They gave their all; many gave their lives. Inspired and led by Mahatma Gandhi, the men and women who took us to freedom could have rested on the gaining of independence. They could have let down their guard and remained satisfied with political freedom.”
However, the president added in the message, they did not rest and instead redoubled their efforts.
“They immersed themselves in the process of writing a Constitution. They saw the Constitution not just as a basic law for a new nation, but as a scripture for social transformation.”
Having started with a flag-hoisting ceremony, the function, held at the Indian Embassy in Tehran on the occasion of the Indian Republic Day, came to an end after a short video was shown to commemorate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), which is celebrated every year on January 9, to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community to the development of India.
January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led the country’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.