President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday urged people, particularly the youth, to remain non-violent when fighting for a cause and stressed on the need to "hold fast to constitutional methods" of achieving social and economic objectives.
His remarks come in the backdrop of protests against the new citizenship law although he made no reference to them.
In his customary address to the nation on the eve of 71st Republic Day, Kovind cited Mahatma Gandhi's gift of 'Ahimsa' (non-violence) to humanity.
"When fighting for a cause, people, particularly the youth, should not forget the gift of Ahimsa Gandhiji gave to humanity. Gandhiji’s talisman for deciding whether an act is right or wrong also applies to the functioning of our democracy," he said.
Concluding his speech by quoting Babasaheb Ambedkar "If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgment we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives", the president said "these words have always lighted our path. These words will continue to show us the way ahead to new glories".
He said modern India comprises three organs - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary - which are necessarily interlinked and interdependent.
"Yet, on ground, the people comprise the State. 'We the People' are the prime movers of the Republic. With us, the people of India rests the real power to decide our collective future," he said.
Stressing that both the government and the opposition have "important roles to play", the president said "while giving expression to their political ideas both must move forward in tandem to ensure that development of the country and welfare of its people are promoted consistently".
In his televised address, Kovind said Gandhi's ideals remain relevant in the nation-building efforts.
"It becomes easier for us to follow these constitutional ideals, if we keep in mind the life and values of the Father of our Nation. By doing so, we will be adding a meaningful dimension to our celebrations of 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji," he said.
Recalling the importance of January 26, he said that even before 1947, this day was celebrated 'Purna Swaraj Day' (complete independence day) from 1930 to 1947.
Kovind said though the Constitution gave rights to all the citizens of a free democratic nation, but also placed on responsibility to always adhere to the central tenets of the democracy - justice, liberty, equality and fraternity.
The president said the present third decade of the 21st century will be "the decade of the rise of New India and a new generation of Indians.
"More and more of those born in this century are participating in the national discourse. With the passage of time, we are gradually losing living links with our great freedom struggle, but there is no reason to worry about the continuity of the beliefs that guided it," he said.
Kovind said with advances in technology, the young minds of today are better informed and more confident. "The next generation remains strongly committed to the core values of our nation. For our youth, the nation always comes first. With them, we are witnessing the emergence of a New India," he said.
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