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Conscious effort for preserving the history of unsung heroes of freedom struggle in last six years: Modi
We are proud of our Constitution and our democratic tradition: PM
Ahmedabad, March 12, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the country had been making a conscious effort for the last six years to preserve the history of unsung heroes of the freedom struggle in the last six years and asserted that India was proud of its Constitution and its democratic traditions.
Flagging off a "Padyatra" from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and inaugurating the curtain raiser activities of the "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav", a series of events to mark the 75th anniversary of India's independence, Modi said such efforts to preserve the history of the freedom movement were being made in every state and every region.
Mahatma Gandhi, along with 81 volunteers, had initiated the famous Dandi Padyatra from March 12 to April 6, 1930, as an act of non-violent civil disobedience against the then British colonial regime. The Padyatra flagged off by the Prime Minister today will cover a journey of 241 miles from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Navsari and conclude on April 5, 2021, lasting 25 days. The marchers numbering 81 will participate in the Padyatra and different groups of people will be joining it on the way to Dandi.
Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel will lead the first lap of the march of 75 km.
Modi also launched various other cultural and digital initiatives for the India@75 celebrations.
Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Patel were amongst those present on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering at Sabarmati Ashram, the Prime Minister noted the launch of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ 75 weeks before 15 August 2020 and said it would continue till August 15, 2023.
He paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi and great personalities who laid down their lives in the freedom struggle.
The Prime Minister reiterated five pillars -- Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolves at 75 -- as the guiding force for moving forward, keeping dreams and duties as inspiration.
He said that Azadi Amrit Mahotsav means "elixir of energy of independence".
"It means elixir of inspirations of the warriors of freedom struggle; elixir of new ideas and pledges and nectar of Aatmnirbharta," he said.
Referring to the Salt Satyagraha and its symbolism, Modi said salt was never valued on the basis of mere cost. "For Indians, salt represents honesty, trust, loyalty, labour, equality and self reliance. At that time, salt was a symbol of India's self-reliance. Along with the values of India, the British also hurt this self-reliance. People of India had to depend on salt coming from England. Gandhiji understood this chronic pain of the country, understood the pulse of the people and turned that into a movement," he said.
The Prime Minister recalled the important moments in freedom struggle like the first war for Indian independence in 1857, Mahatma Gandhi's return from abroad, reminding the nation of the power of Satyagraha, the call for complete independence by Lokmanya Tilak, the Delhi March of Azad Hind Fauj led by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the slogan of Delhi Chalo.
He added that the work of continuously awakening this flame of the freedom movement, in every direction, in every region, was done by Acharyas, saints and teachers in every corner of the country.
He said that, in a way, the Bhakti movement prepared the stage for the nationwide freedom movement.
"Saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabu, Ramakrishna Paramhans, Shrimant Shankar Dev created the bedrock of a countrywide freedom struggle. Similarly, saints from all corners contributed to the consciousness of the nation and freedom struggle. There are so many Dalits, Adivasis, women and youth from across the country who have done innumerable sacrifices," he said.
He noted the sacrifices of unsung heroes like Kodi Katha Kumaran, a 32-year-old man from Tamil Nadu, who did not let the country's flag fall on the ground even after being shot in the head by the British. He also mentioned Velu Nachiyar of Tamil Nadu who was the first Maharani who fought against the British rule.
The Prime Minister remarked that the tribal society of the country, with its valor and bravery continuously worked to bring foreign rule to its knees.
"In Jharkhand, Birsa Munda challenged the British and the Murmu brothers led the Santhal movement. In Odisha, Chakra Bisoi waged a fight against the British and Laxman Nayak spread awareness through Gandhian methods," he said.
He listed other unsung tribal heroes who fought against the British like Manyam Virudu Alluri Siraram Raju in Andhra Pradesh who led the Rampa movement and Pasaltha Khungchera who took on the British in the hills of Mizoram. He noted other freedom fighters from Assam and Northeast like Gomdhar Konwar, Lachit Borphukan and Serat Sing who had contributed to the independence of the country. He said the country would always remember the sacrifice of Nayak tribals in Jambughoda in Gujarat and the massacre of hundreds of tribals in Mangadh.
Highlighting the efforts to preserve this history, Modi noted that the revival of the site associated with the Dandi Yatra was completed two years ago. The site where Netaji Subhash hoisted the tricolor in Andaman after the formation of the country's first independent government has also been revived.
He added that the islands of Andaman and Nicobar are named after the freedom struggle. He said that the places associated with Baba Saheb have been developed in the form of Panchtirtha, the memorial in Jallianwala Bagh and memorial of the Paika movement have also been developed.
"We have proved ourselves with our hard work, both in India and abroad. We are proud of our Constitution and democratic traditions. India, the mother of democracy, is still moving ahead by strengthening democracy. India’s achievements are giving hope to the entire humanity. The development journey of India is filled with AatmaNirbharta and is going to give momentum to the development journey of the whole world," he said.
The Prime Minister urged the youth and scholars to take the responsibility for fulfilling the efforts of the country in documenting the history of its freedom fighters. He urged them to showcase the achievements in the freedom movement to the world.
He also urged the people associated with art, literature, theatre, films and digital entertainment to explore the unique stories that are scattered in India's past and bring them to life.