New Delhi, Mar 12, 2021: The Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for concerted efforts to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, corruption and other social evils like gender discrimination as part of building an economically stronger India. That will be a real tribute to our freedom fighters, he said.

In a Facebook post on the occasion of the launch of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’- a 75-week festival to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Vice President said that this was a defining moment in our national journey and an opportunity to recollect the legacy bequeathed to us by the Mahatma and the countless freedom fighters. He said that it is our solemn duty to remember and celebrate the extraordinary spirit of our freedom fighters, their supreme sacrifices, and their lofty ideals.

Referring to the padayatra which commenced today from Sabarmati to Dandi over 25 days, retracing the footsteps of Bapu during the historic Salt March, Shri Naidu said it is a befitting celebration of India’s hard-earned Independence and marks a unique way of mapping the nation’s eventful journey since Independence.

He said the padayatra symbolizes our commitment to draw inspiration from the past and work together to meet the current and evolving challenges with a single-minded devotion, courage and confidence.

Remembering the great Dandi March, Shri Naidu said that it electrified the nation at that time with a simple but powerful symbol of salt. He said Gandhiji, with his unwavering commitment to non-violence and an iron will to take what is rightfully ours, showed the British and the world that India will not bow down to force and repression.

Shri Naidu also stressed the need to educate youth on the lives of our great heroes and how thousands of courageous men and women of our great nation stood in the frontlines of the freedom struggle and helped India overthrow the yoke of colonial rule.

The Vice President reminded that as we enjoy the fruits of our independence, we must also understand that this vision of freedom is fully realized only when we achieve the goals and promises we have set for ourselves in the Constitution. He advised objectively evaluating our journey so far and setting sights on new frontiers of development. The Vice President advised that for India to become more prosperous and stronger, it is of vital importance for the people and particularly the youngsters, to adopt a healthy lifestyle. “We should also go back to civilisational roots, uphold universal values, remain environmentally conscious and always live in harmony with nature. It is our duty to handover a greener and healthier planet to future generations”, he said.

Shri Naidu also added that we must all resolve to be at the forefront to fight and foil attempts by forces that try to divide people on superficial grounds. He recalled how at the time of Independence, many had speculated about the resilience of India’s integrity, with its vast area and diverse cultures. Saying that India has proved them conclusively wrong, Shri Naidu said that India’s diversity and our common civilizational values actually give strength to the unity of the nation. He observed that we believe in the liberty of the individual and the peaceful co-existence of all communities, and recognise the common bonds that unite all of us. “This ‘Bharatiyata’ is what keeps us united”, he emphasised.

Remarking on the vision of our leaders- while fighting for independence and drafting the constitution, Shri Naidu said that a deep commitment to the development and welfare of our people is embedded in our Constitutional values. He referred to schemes like Saubhagya Yojana, Ayushman Bharat and Kisan Samman Nidhi as efforts of Government in ensuring an ‘ease of living’ and deliver the fruits of benefits to everyone. In this context, Shri Naidu also observed how the governance model has evolved from a top-down and monolithic approach to a decentralized, citizen-centric, and participatory approach.

The Vice President observed that going forward we must carry the same spirit and vow to forge a stronger and more prosperous India. He advised that we must focus on upskilling our youth to meet the new demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and realize our demographic dividend. He reminded that it is our duty to include the marginalized sections—the differently-abled, women, elderly and transgender persons in our democratic process and enable them to partake of the benefits of development. He advised that we must ensure that every citizen has access to good education, health, employment and nutrition. “We must strive to become Atma Nirbhar or self-reliant in all areas—that is the greatest tribute we can pay to our freedom fighters”, the Vice President said.

Concluding, the Vice President urged the people to come forward in large numbers, participate pro-actively in the Mahotsav, and strengthen the roots of our democratic republic. He wished the Mahotsav a grand success.