PTI Photob/ Shahbaz Khan
I'm Your 'Pradhan Sewak' and Not 'Pradhan Mantri': Modi

Crediting the Constitution for his rise from a "small-town poor boy" to prime minister, Narendra Modi today called himself the "pradhan sewak" of the people and not their "pradhan mantri."

In his maiden Independence Day address, that lasted for 65 minutes, the Prime Minister called upon the people to take a strong pledge towards nation building.

"My beloved countrymen! I have come here not as a 'pradhan mantri' (PM) but a 'pradhan sewak' (prime servant). And, hearty greetings from this 'pradhan sewak'.... This is a national festival and this should also be an opportunity for us in building the character of our nation," Modi said.

Recalling his humble roots in a small-town in Gujarat, Modi extolled the virtues of the Constitution and praised its architects.

"It is a virtue of the Indian Constitution that a small-town boy from a poor family is today hoisting the national flag on Independence Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort," he said, as the crowd broke into an applause.

The 63-year-old leader, first prime minister to have been born in India after Independence, spoke on a wide-ranging issues such as rape, female foeticide, toilets for women, jobs for youth, cleanliness and need for strengthening the manufacturing sector.

Asking every individual to contribute in nation-building, Modi said it was time to go beyond the "mera kya, mujhe kya" culture.

"Today when you approach somebody for work, they ask 'isme mera kya (what is there in it for me)' or 'mujhe kya (It doesn't concern me)?' It is time that people do service in the interest of the nation and not for personal gains," he said.

Sporting a traditional Rajasthani safa (headgear), Modi also exhorted the youth of the nation to become "job creators" and not mere "job-seekers."

The Prime Minister also announced a vision of "Come and Make in India" inviting manufacturers from across the world to invest in India, and help boost India`s industrial growth.

He called upon the youth of India to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit and work towards manufacturing in India, the various items that add to our import bill. Let "Made in India" become a synonym of excellence, he added.

Modi, who was spoke from the ramparts of the 17th century Mughal monument without the usual bullet-proof glass cage, also lauded the security forces of the country for guarding our borders.

"India was described as a country of snake charmers. But, our IT professionals are proving to the world our capabilities... And, we are moving towards a 'digital India', and that should mean long-distance eduction in the remotest village or a telemedicine facility in a place where doctors cannot reach," he said.

Invoking Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, Modi asked people to embrace their ideals and build a "clean and strong nation" that can become the leading light for the whole world.

"Swami Vivekananda called India as a 'jagat guru' (world leader) and if we can put our energies together, we can again achieve that goal...If 1.2 billion people can take one step, the nation will take 1.2 billion steps further," Modi said.

"Many would ask whether a prime minister should be talking about toilets and cleanliness from the Red Fort on Independence Day and not about big things. I say, for others they may be small issues but for me they are very big issues," he said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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