"If Sardar Patel had lived for a few more years, Goa would not have had to wait so long for its liberation": Modi
Panaji, December 19, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today remarked that if Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Deputy Prime Minister of India, had lived for a few more years, Goa would not have had to wait for so long for its liberation.
Speaking at a function here to celebrate Goa Liberation Day, he said there was a turmoil in the hearts of the people all over India at that time because a part of the country was still not free and some country had not got freedom.
Goa Liberation Day is celebrated on December 19 every year to mark the success of "Operation Vijay" undertaken by the Indian Armed Forces that liberated Goa from Portuguese rule.
While India attained independence from British rule on August 15, 1947, Goa remained under Portuguese rule for 14 years after that. The state was finally liberated on December 19, 1961 after Indian Armed Forces were sent in by the Government of India, forcing the Portuguese to surrender. They were the last of the European colonisers to leave India.
Modi paid tributes to the heroes of the liberation struggle, including 31 Satyagrahis who lost their lives in the Satyagraha of Goa Mukti Vimochan Samiti. He urged everyone to think about these sacrifices and about heroes like Punjab's Veer Karnail Singh Benipal. “History of Goa’s freedom struggle is not just a symbol of India’s resolve but is a living document of India’s unity and integrity,” he said.
The Prime Minister felicitated the freedom fighters and veterans of "Operation Vijay" at the function.
He also inaugurated multiple development projects including the renovated Fort Aguada Jail Museum, Super Speciality Block at Goa Medical College, New South Goa District Hospital, Aviation Skill Development Centre at Mopa Airport and the Gas insulated Substation at Dabolim-Navelim, Margao. He also laid the foundation stone for India International University of Legal Education and Research of the Bar Council of India Trust in Goa.
Addressing the gathering, Modi said that the land of Goa, the air of Goa, the sea of Goa, have been blessed with a wonderful gift of nature. "And today this enthusiasm of all, the people of Goa, is adding to the pride of liberation of Goa," he said.
After paying homage to the martyrs, he also witnessed the cell parade and fly past in Miramar. He also expressed his happiness at honouring the heroes of "Operation Vijay" and veterans on behalf of the country. He thanked the spirit of vibrant Goa for providing so many opportunities, so many amazing experiences that the state has brought together today.
The Prime Minister noted that Goa came under Portuguese domination around the time when most of the rest of India was under Mughals. India witnessed many upheavals after that.
He noted that, even after centuries and the upheaval of power, neither did Goa forget its Indianness, nor did the rest of India forget Goa.
"This is a relationship that has only become stronger with time. The people of Goa also did not allow the movements for liberation and Swaraj to slacken. They kept the flame of freedom burning for the longest time in the history of India. This is because India is not just a political power. India is an idea and a family to protect the interests of humanity," he said.
He said that India is a spirit where the nation is above the "self" and is paramount. "Where there is only one mantra - nation first. Where there is only one resolve - Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat," he said.
Modi recalled that, during his visit earlier this year to Italy and Vatican City, he had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis. The Pope’s attitude towards India was equally overwhelming, he said.
He also talked of his invitation to the Pope to come to India and recalled his reaction to the invitation to visit India. "'This is the greatest gift you have given me,' the Pope had said," he said, saying this showed the Pope’s love for India's diversity and its radiant democracy. He also talked about the handing over of the holy relics of Saint Queen Ketevan to the Government of Georgia.
Noting Goa’s strides in governance, Modisaid that the natural beauty of Goa has always been its hallmark but now the government here is cementing another identity of Goa.
"This new identity of the state is that of being the foremost in every task of governance. Elsewhere, when the work starts, or the work progresses, Goa finishes it," he said.
The Prime Minister gave the example of Goa’s efforts in the areas of making the state open defecation free, immunisation, water supply, registration of births and deaths and other schemes for enhancing the ease of life for the people. He praised the performance of Swayampoorna Goa programme. He complimented the Chief Minister and his team for their achievements in governance of the state.
He also talked about the steps taken for the promotion of tourism in the state. He complimented the state for successfully holding the recently concluded International Film Festival of India.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the late Manohar Parrikar, who had served as the Chief Minister of the state as well as the country's Defence Minister. “When I see these achievements of Goa, this new identity being strengthened, I also remember my friend Manohar Parrikar ji. He not only took Goa to new heights of development, but also expanded Goa's potential. How can one remain devoted to his state, his people, till his last breath? We saw this in his life,” he said. He concluded that the nation saw the reflection of honesty, talent and diligence of the people of Goa in Parrikar.