Wednesday, Oct 01, 2003
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This Day That Age
In a special message to The Hindu to mark the inauguration of the new Andhra State on the 1st of October, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Vice-President of India, said: This day is important in the history of the Andhra and of our country. Andhra people have been working for nearly 40 years for a separate State, and the present Government of India have granted it, it is now for the people to work in a spirit of good-will and co-operation, and make Andhra State contended and prosperous. Andhra played a great part in the struggle for freedom, and their sacrifices and sufferings were as good as those of any others. Today, it is their duty to show the same qualities and work for the progress of Andhra as well as of India. Unfortunately on the eve of the establishment of the separate State, this part of the country had a severe blow and suffered immense loss of life and property.
The problems ahead are serious, and require for their solution intelligent leadership and public support. As in the rest of India when freedom was won, the evils of our society have come to the surface; the baser qualities of greed, personal ambition, and love of power, are manifesting themselves. Public interest has suffered from divided and incompetent leadership. Love of freedom is love of others, love of power is love of one's self. When love of power becomes an obsession, it blinds our eyes, distorts our vision, infects our thoughts, and hardens our hearts. Democracy is a means to achieve democratic, and not personal, ends. If we are to be loyal servants of a free India, we must practise self-effacement and devotion to the public good. The new State is on trial. Policy makers and administrators should realise that a Government should not only control the governed but also control itself. All those speaking the Dravidian group of languages, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, lived together and worked together for centuries. Culturally, politically and administratively, the Andhras worked with others in South India. In recent years suspicions developed. But I do hope they will all be forgotten, and a new era of friendship will start from now. The spirit of caste and outcaste still prevails. With a sensitive and emotional people, who have had a noble inheritance, I feel that these prejudices will soon become things of the past in Andhra. The recent attack on Vinoba Bhave by the Pandas at Deoghar shows how far behind our ideals some of our people are. The faith of democracy is based not merely on the leadership at the top but the wisdom and conscience of the common people. While the top leaders may determine our future, the common people will decide our destiny. Caste prejudices should be removed from the hearts of our people, and not merely in our Constitution. If Andhra proposes, if it helps, to strengthen our national unity, it will remove the fears of many who feel that linguistic States will prove a strain on Indian unity. Great, therefore, is the responsibility of Andhra leaders and Andhra people. We cannot build a nation if our patriotism is local or communal.
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