President Ram Nath Kovind addressing the nation on August 14 evening on the eve of the 73rd Independence Day.
The address in Hindi was broadcast and telecast from 7 p.m. followed by the address in English, on the national network of All India Radio (AIR) and over all channels of Doordarshan.
Following the address in Hindi and English, Doordarshan broadcast the address in regional languages on its regional channels. All India Radio too broadcast regional language versions from 8 p.m. onwards on its respective regional networks.
Highlights of the President’s address:
Addressing the nation on the eve of India’s 73rd Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind remembered the martyrs responsible for the country's freedom.
In this year, the 150th birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi, we must give heed to his thoughts and views, the President said. The path shown by him is relevant today as it was then he said, adding that the Mahatma knew of the challenges the country is facing today. He stressed the importance of addressing environment related issues and sustainability.
He said it is extraordinary that the country will celebrate both the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi as well as the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev this year, congratulating the entire Sikh community.
He said the people of Jammu and Kashmir will benefit from the "recent changes in J&K and Ladakh", referring to the reorganisation and the abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution. It will enable the people to access and enjoy the same rights and benefits that the rest of India enjoys, he said.
He congratulated voters for turning up in large numbers and making the 2019 General elections, the largest democratic exercise in the world, a success.
Nation building is a continuous process
He recalls that the 2019 Parliamentary session, which passed 30 Bills in both Houses, was very productive. Many important Bills were passed and there was lucid debates, he said. He hoped that the State Assemblies would follow in its example.
"Nation building is a continuous process of which gaining independence was a main milestone...Key institutions and policy makers must work in tandem for this nation building," he said.
Despite the diversity of the people in India, the dream of the country is not different, the dream is that of development, he said. "Indians can be very different in their tastes and habits but their dreams are the same." Even though the government has its part to play in realising these aspirations of the citizens, "I would argue that the greater opportunity and ability lies in the skill, talent, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship of 1.3 billion Indians," he said.
Infrastructure to enable growth
The government has to build financial infrastructure to enable growth.
Transport infrastructure similarly, are being strengthened, he said. He brought up development of roads in rural parts of the country and cheaper air fares.
The President said universal availability of toilets and household water have meaning only if they empower the women of India, enhance their dignity and become a catalyst for them to go out into the world and achieve their ambitions.
India has always had a live and let live behaviour, India's culture has been that of tolerance and embracing the ideas of others. This is what we bring to our diplomatic sphere as well, he said. In domestic discourse and in foreign policy, let us be aware of the magic of India, he said.
Inculcating curiosity in the young
The greatest gift we can give our young and the youth is to inculcate a culture of curiosity, he said. Let us listen to our children, "I say this with the confidence that India will listen to the feeblest of voices," he said.
Quoting the Tamil poet Subramania Bharati, who gave voice to the freedom movement, the President read out,
"Manthiram karpom vinai thanthiram karpom,
vaanai alappom, kadal meenai alappom,
chandira mandalaththiyal kandu thelivom,
Santhi theru perukkum saaththiram karpomi ”
Interpreting it in English, he said, "We will learn both scripture and science, we will explore both heavens and oceans, we will unravel the mysteries of the moon, and we will sweep our streets clean too."
"May those ideals and may that urge to learn and to listen and to become better, may that curiosity and may that fraternalism, always be with us. May it always bless us, and always bless India," he concluded, wishing the citizens of India on the eve of Independence Day.
Read the President’s in full here .