President Kovind’s Independence Day message: No place for violence in society

New Delhi: Amid growing concerns over mob violence and lynchings, President Ram Nath Kovind on August 14 asserted that violence had no place in a civilized society and asked citizens not to be distracted by “contentious issues and extraneous debates.”
President Kovind said India was now at the cusp of achieving many long-awaited goals, such as universal access to electricity, eliminating open defecation, homelessness and poverty, among others.
Addressing the nation on the eve of India’s 72nd Independence Day, the President recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s mantra that the power of ahimsa (non-violence) was greater than the power of hinsa (violence).
“The power to stay your hand is far greater than the power to strike with your hand. Hinsa has no place in the society,” the President said.
Covering a wide range of issues in his speech, President Kovind said women were entitled to a life of their choice and security to fulfill their potential, either as “sheet anchors in our families or critical entrants to institutions of higher learning and workforce”. “The choice is theirs; as a nation and as a society we must ensure that they have the right and the ability to exercise that choice,” he said.
Kovind said that every Indian who did not jump the queue and respected the civic space and rights of those ahead in the line lived up to the principles of the country’s freedom struggle. “It’s a very small gesture. Let us try and abide by it,” he said.
The President said that every Indian – from farmers providing food security to the country’s armed and police forces guarding the border, battling terrorism and ensuring law and order – who does his or her job with sincerity was upholding the principles of freedom struggle.
He said Independence Day was always special, but there was an unusual significance this year as October 2 would mark the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma.
President Kovind also asked young students to spend time in villages to observe and participate in social welfare programs and described it as University Social Responsibility.
“I am gratified by the idealism and the passion of our young people. There is a spirit to achieve something for oneself, for one’s family, for wider society and for our country. This is the most moral education we can wish for. The outcome of education is not merely a degree or a diploma, but the commitment to help improve the life of another in a way that is sustainable. This is empathy and fraternity in action. This is the Indian spirit. This is India, because India belongs to the people of India – not just to the Government,” he said.

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