Martyrs’ Day marks a solemn occasion on which we pay our respectful homage to Mahatma Gandhi, whose visionary leadership of our freedom movement helped India overthrow the tyrannical yoke of British rule. On this day, let us resolve to stand united and commit ourselves to the core ideals which Bapu stood for—adherence to truth, non-violence, peace, honesty and austerity, as also dedicate ourselves to transcending narrow social evils such as casteism, communalism and chauvinism in any form. How did Mahatma Gandhi bring the entire nation together as one under his inspiring leadership in India’s struggle for Independence? Bapu relied solely on truth, satyagraha and peace thereby binding the many complex strands that comprise Indian society, into a cohesive whole.
Gandhiji’s pioneering statesmanship resulted in an unprecedented awakening among Indians across all social segments culminating in the nation’s emancipation from colonial rule. One can say without the faintest shadow of a doubt that few individuals in history have influenced world leaders as Gandhiji did. Bapu left behind an abiding legacy and the lasting record of an eventful life, which, in his own words, remains his message to posterity.
Martyrs’ Day is a sombre occasion for us to recall the sacrifices of Gandhiji and our great patriots who fought for the freedom of the nation against the might of the British Empire with single-minded determination. Today’s youth need to bear in mind that our hard-won freedom is the fruit of the sacrifices of thousands of nationalists. They should draw inspiration from the indomitable will and unflinching courage of innumerable sons and daughters of Mother India who gave up their youth and sacrificed their lives so that future generations could breathe the air of freedom and walk with dignity. Treading in the footsteps of these great patriots, youth must channelise their energy and commit themselves to the path of India’s progress. I would like to remind them of Mahatma Gandhi’s immortal words—”You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
A world of opportunities beckons to the youth of today as the country stands poised on the springboard of an unprecedented curve of progress. The young men and women of our country must commit themselves with earnestness to the mammoth task of nation-building driven by Bapu’s timeless exhortation that “the future depends on what you do today.” It is imperative for them to rise above considerations of region, religion and caste. I would urge our younger generation to bear in mind the underlying philosophy behind the words “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”(The whole world is one family)—a message which has guided us for centuries. They must put their shoulder to the wheel and fight against pervasive evils like poverty, social discrimination and illiteracy. We need to remind ourselves constantly that Bapu’s mantra of non-violence, rooted in the age-old principle of ahimsa bears special relevance today.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Gandhiji’s thrust on khadi and cottage industries finds resonance in an Atma Nirbhar or self-reliant Bharat. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought in its wake a host of unforeseen events, but has not been without a silver lining. With ingenuity, application, foresight and innovation, our industrialists, entrepreneurs, technologists, researchers and scientists were able to come up with a wide spectrum of high-quality solutions manufacturing thousands of products from ventilators to PPE kits, from medicines to vaccines to finished products across various segments. Bending every sinew in their body to serve the nation, they responded enthusiastically to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rousing call of vocal for local. In short, the Bharat of Gandhiji’s dreams is an Atma Nirbhar Bharat which makes each one of us brim with national pride. Therefore, we must dedicate ourselves to the cause of building a new India which is united, strong and self-reliant, powered by diligence and innovation.
MartyrsDay serves as a reminder to us of the statesmanlike leadership of MahatmaGandhi, India’s apostle of peace, who stands tall as a guiding light of truth, non-violence, humanity and compassion in the firmament of the greatest world leaders of all time. It is also an occasion to bow our heads in reverence to countless other nationalists who devoted their lives to the cause of the liberation of India from oppressive British rule. Martyrs’ Day symbolises a time for us to pay homage to their memory and draw inspiration from their selflessness and spirit of sacrifice.