Remain non-violent when fighting for a cause: Kovind

Remain non-violent when fighting for a cause: President Ram Nath Kovind in Republic Day address

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind addresses the nation on the eve of the Republic Day. RB/PTI

In the backdrop of on-going protests against CAA that had also turned violent at some places, President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday urged people, particularly the youth, to remain non-violent when fighting for a cause and evoked the imagery of Mahatma Gandhi to bat for non-violence.

“When fighting for a cause, people, particularly the youth, should not forget the gift of Ahimsa Gandhiji gave to humanity. Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals remain relevant in our nation-building efforts. It should be part of our daily routine to introspect on Gandhiji’s message of truth and nonviolence, which has become all the more necessary in our times.,” Kovind said In his customary address to the nation on the eve of the 71st Republic Day.

Calling Republic Day a Celebration of the Constitution, Kovind quoted from Babasaheb Ambedkar to say, "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, however, did not make mention of CAA protests as such in his speech even as he stressed on the need to "hold fast to constitutional methods" of achieving social and economic objectives.

Kovind said that Gandhiji’s talisman for deciding whether an act is right or wrong also applies to the functioning of our democracy.

“Government and opposition both have important roles to play. 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,” he said at a time when the government and the Opposition is locked into a fierce political spat on the issue of CAA, NRC, Bheema Koregaon.

Kovind underlined that though the Constitution gave rights to all the citizens of a free democratic nation, but also placed a responsibility to always adhere to the central tenets of the democracy - justice, liberty, equality and fraternity.

"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.

 Showering praise on the young generation, 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.

Maintaining that strong internal security is essential for the development of the country and therefore, Kovind recorded his “unreserved praise” for the armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces and the government’s “concrete steps” to strengthen internal security.

Kovind in his televised address also spoke of several welfare schemes launched by his government and the Gaganyan mission of ISRO. He also spoke high of the contribution of the Indian diaspora spread across the world.