Why No ‘Award Wapsi’ Now?

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Casteism is as abominable as communalism. And yet, why is it that casteism, prevalent since last three millennia, has not been evoking the kind of repulsion and condemnation that “communalism” stirs up? There have been countless heinous crimes against the Dalits before and after independence but the nation has not witnessed any moral revulsion as was in the case of religious intolerance underscored by the recent “award wapsi” phenomenon involving over 100 writers, artists, intellectuals and academicians.

While the Muslims, as a community, aggressively fight communalism, the miniscule Christians get international support in their fight against religious intolerance but when it comes to casteism,  the Dalits, lowest in the Hindu caste pyramid, and rendered meek and mentally weak,  get only lip service from politicians, media and the intellectual class. And this is despite the fact that numerically, the Dalits account for roughly 170 million, only a tad less than the 172-odd million Muslims and several millions more than the 2.3-odd crore Christians. Is it because Dalits are not an assertive and captive vote bank?

Caste discrimination drove 26-year-old Ph.D. student Rohith Vermula, a dalit, to hang himself at University of Hyderabad on January 17. And as usual, an avalanche of predictable angst erupted across the country. Some inquiry commissions will be set up to study the unfortunate incident, the VC will be replaced, and the Opposition will disrupt Parliament proceedings for a few days.  And after the customary lip service, life will be as usual and Dalits will continue to face discrimination.

Way back in August 1977, former PM Indira Gandhi hit international media headlines as she rode on an elephant to reach Belchi village in Bihar where eight Dalits were massacred by upper caste men. Gandhi subsequently won the perception battle against the Janata Party government, but the lot of Dalits remained the same.

In October 2011, Rahul Gandhi grabbed media eyeballs by having dinner with a Dalit family in Mendaki village of Uttar Pradesh, a symbolic gesture by a Hindu Brahmin. The Gandhi scion did not follow up on his revolutionary act. And what followed was that, three years later, yoga guru Ramdev kicked up a storm saying that Rahul visits the houses of Dalits “for picnics and honeymoon”. The CPM and BSP demanded his prosecution under SC/ST Act for “demeaning” Dalit women while Congress activists filed an FIR against Ramdev under section 171 g (IPC). The matter ended there.

Last month, Parliament witnessed a two-day discussion on the ”Commitment to India’s Constitution”  on the 125th birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar, Dalit icon and architect of the Constitution. A sub text was BJP’s ploy to usurp the non-Hindutva icon to send out a message to the Dalits.  But the half-hearted attempt ended up on a sour note with the ruling party and the Opposition trying to score political points.

In a heated exchange of words with BJP members, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, himself a Dalit, shouted: “Ambedkar and we are from this country. Aryans (referring to the Hindi heartland) came from outside. We are the original inhabitants of this land. Despite facing insults for 5,000 years, we have been here and we continue to live in this country”.

A few days later, Parliament passed The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill that inter alia provides for stringent action against those involved in crimes against SCs and STs.

In October last, a nine-month-old Dalit girl and her toddler brother were burnt alive by a group of upper caste men over a caste feud in Faridabad, adjoining the national capital.  There was another round of outcry and shame.  While politicians, including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, made a beeline to the village to commiserate with the grieving family, former Army chief and union minister V.K. Singh made the most insensitive comment  drawing an analogy to the incident with stones being thrown at a dog. The Congress, BSP, CPM, Trinamool Congress, JDU and NCP stalled Parliament demanding his resignation for a few days.

It is time that Dalits looked beyond the political class for succour. Even Dalit politicians have only been using them to further their career.

In 2001 November, SC/ST organisations in Delhi had organised mass conversion of Dalits (some 50,000 reportedly converted that day) to Buddhism to protest “casteism” in Hinduism. And a prime mover behind this campaign was Ram Raj, then chairperson of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations. He took “deeksha”, changed his name to Udit Raj.

“Quit casteism, quit Hinduism. We want to destroy casteism. We are not treated as citizens of this country by the Hindutva forces,” Raj thundered while addressing the gathering.

A year later, in an article in Outlook, while condemning the lynching of five Dalits in Haryana’s Jhajjar district, Raj said: “If you had visited Badshahpur with me on October 22 and seen what I saw, you would have decided right then and there to give a call to all the Dalits of the area to convert to Buddhism, Christianity or Islam. Anything but Hinduism.” He concluded the article saying “VHP leaders in Delhi such as Giriraj Kishore have already claimed that the life of a cow was more precious than that of a human being.”

Twelve years later, Raj swallowed his words, joined the BJP and got elected to the Lok Sabha. The BJP had already co-opted another Dalit leader Ramdas Athawale of the RPI and Lok Janashakti Party chief Ramvilas Paswan.  While Athawale has been made a Rajya Sabha MP, Paswan has become a union minister. Dalit leaders of the Congress, Left and regional parties also shed crocodile tears. Episodic outbursts are of little use. Laws will serve only limited purpose. Only, a change in the mindset can help, but that cannot happen without a cultural cleansing

Ideological War Against Terrorism

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Although terrorists are the worst enemies of humanity and eternal moral values, yet their corporal elimination is no answer as regards fight against terror. Instead, new and progressive ideas be generated and propagated to substitute the idea of violence.

The terror attack on Indian Air Force base in Pathankot again proves that any reasonable or bold attempt by Indian Prime Minister to normalise continuing tense relations with Pakistan will not be permitted to go through smoothly by the powerful pillars of Pakistani ruling establishment- its Army and secret agency, Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and hardliner Mullahs, as they have all along been very decisive in Pakistani governance. This had already happened prior to Kargil war or in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and many times earlier and the result was a long deadlock with mounting terror strikes on Indian soil, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and brave security forces and also destroying properties worth millions.

Unfortunately, most of terrorists and their networks operating against India have their logistical support in Pakistan from where they carryout successful strikes inside India. Also, it is clear that merely discussing with the civilian government of Pakistan is not of much significance as several earlier rounds of talks have always failed. But the positive response of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for nabbing the terrorists responsible for Pathankot air base attack and the US’ pressure on Pakistan for this end have aroused some hope in India and that appears to be materialising with the report of Pakistan’s crack down on Maulana Masood Azhar’s outfit and several leaders, although there is a suspense over this report in both the neighbours. Maulana Azhar is the founder leader of the notorious terror organisation ‘Jaish-e- Mohammad’, which is the deadliest terror outfit in South Asia and had been involved in many terror cases committed into India in the past, including attack on Indian Parliament in 2001.

Difficult situation:

Unfortunately, India is still groping in the dark as to how to deal with Pakistan’s supported cross border terrorism into the country. But one thing is clear that India has always been perceived by terrorists as a soft target where they can easily enter and attack even the most secure and sensitive places. Earlier, the Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Parliament were not spared from such attacks, besides several other important public places like Bombay Stock Exchange, markets, railway stations etc.. These besides, the continuing adhocism, prevailing corruption from top to bottom and unfortunate party-politics on this sensitive issue have further added to woo the prevailing chaos which has demoralised even army, paramilitary and other security forces fighting against terror. Indeed, that has engulfed the general Indian psyche as they mostly remain detached and unconcerned, until personally affected by this menace.

Despite its frequent occurrences in India, the issue has not yet become an electoral one and no political party, nor any political leader, has come out openly against it. Is it not a self-killing public apathy? Is it not only for preserving the Muslim vote bank by these political leaders?  The vote-bank for them is more precious than the innocent lives of their fellow countrymen whose families are left to bear unbearable trauma and agony throughout their lives. Against this scenario, what should India do to protect its innocent citizens and brave soldiers besides destruction of valuable property.   Nevertheless, talks between the two governments must continue as communication gap between them will further heighten their mutual suspicions and the terrorists will exploit this situation for their nefarious designs.

Tough stand with progressive ideas:

As a way out, India’s soft approach to terror for vote-bank politics must stop immediately and must follow the firm and strict course like that of the US, Russia or Israel as regards prevention and war against terrorism. But above these, the eternal values of Indian cultural ethos advocating peace, love, piety and non-violence must prevail over violence because violence as a deterrent against violence will not be of much use except for a short period as a temporary relief. What is very much needed is to fight an ideological war against terrorism   by generating and propagating new progressive ideas characterised by these eternal values yet suited to the present day modern world and which may ultimately inspire them (terrorists) to give up the logic of terror for redressing their grievances. After all terrorists are the distorted selves devoid of sanity, which is caused due to some deeply agonising and unfulfilled longing marked by an extreme feeling of grave injustice to them and consequently forcing them to take the course of violence.

This habit of taking recourse to violence among present day youth who go to any extreme of macabre violence, as is being committed by Daesh or Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in Syria and Iraq, is a particular cause of serious concern today for the whole world because that poses a grave threat to the very existence of humanity in the world. In such a scenario, the irrelevance of violence and terror be so highlighted through education, religious-cultural enlightenment and global mass-movement that their substitution by the new progressive ideas, as mentioned above, be easily accomplished for establishing a new just and peace-loving society as well as a new world order characterised by truth, peace, justice, love, brotherhood and non-violence as against the present day world marked by power-politics, hierarchy, violence and injustice.

Conclusion:

Hence, now this must be clear to Pakistan that if India is bold enough for establishing friendly relations with them as it has firm faith in the Indian cultural ideas of ‘peace’ and ‘non-violence’, it will not hesitate in taking recourse to strong actions against them and the terrorists supported by them if they (terrorists) commit terror in India and then take shelter in Pakistan. Again, Islamabad must know that terrorists are the worst ever enemies against humanity and eternal moral values, therefore they ought to be fought with firm determination and iron hand, if all attempts to bring them into national and global mainstream, characterised by these values like truth, peace, love, brotherhood, non-violence and justice, result into complete failure. This can be done as nothing is beyond human endeavour.   

                                                                                                                                    Dr. Sudhanshu Tripathi,

                                                                                                                     Associate Professor, Political Science,

                                                                                                                      M. D. P. G. College, Pratapgarh (UP) 

ABVP seeks judicial probe into Rohith’s death

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‘Ultra leftists’ accused of instigating students using the caste card

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has demanded a judicial enquiry into the suicide of RohithVemula at the University of Hyderabad to bring out the ‘real’ truth behind the entire episode.

The ABVP all-India general secretary Vinay Bidre accused ‘ultra leftists’ working on the campus of misleading the nation and instigating students using the caste card. “Rohith’s suicide was unfortunate and we feel extremely sad about it. What was an issue between two student groups has been given a caste colour and a group of people are using the emotions to blame ABVP,” he said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

He said the ABVP will launch a ‘truth campaign’ across the country in all universities, colleges and expose the real truth also through roadside meetings till February 2. “We were not active in expressing our views all these days to respect Rohith and not exploit the emotions,” he said. We want to expose the Ambedkar Students Association that is defaming Dr. Ambedkar by twisting his ideology and supporting anti-national elements. Mr. Bidre also alleged some teachers with Maoist ideology and those who openly support terrorists were infusing anti-national feelings among students. Police should enquire about the non-boarders staying on the campus and discreetly working to poison the atmosphere, he said adding that an inquiry was needed to study the role of some teachers in poisoning the minds of students using caste and religion.

Mr. Bidre said he was surprised by the change in the police stand on the attack on Sushil Kumar and wanted to know if they were influenced by any and whom. “We have the FIR copy where police clearly admitted that Sushil was attacked and now they changed their stand.” The entire episode should be enquired by a judicial commission and ABVP was ready to provide the details it has on the case. He argued that there was not much support to the agitators from the HCU students and majority wants class work to go on but some groups are threatening them with attacks if they raise their voice.

Some teachers with Maoist ideology and those who openly support terrorists are infusing anti-national feelings among students.

                                                                                                                                                           Vinay Bidre

                                                                                                                                    ABVP All-India General Secretary

 

Are We In Our Country?

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Truth has become yet again causality in the implosion of frenzied emotions.

Pakistan had orchestrated serial bomb blasts in Mumbai through its stooges and massacred 300 innocent Indians in cold blood. Yakub Memon, who played a major role in the massacre, was hanged last year after two decades of procrastination. All Indians are happy with the dispensation of justice, though delayed. But the minions of Pakistan, moldy minded pseudo- intellectuals and some crooked politicians in India howled at the top of their lungs for hanging a convicted traitor.

Hyderabad Central University has come into focus in the wake of protests staged by the fans of Yakub Memon in the university campus for his hanging. In the sanctum sanctorum of the temple of learning, they held prayer meetings for the traitor who slaughtered hundreds of innocents, they howled and wailed beating chest condoling his death in funeral processions holding placards displaying ‘if one Yakut Memon is hanged every house will have a YakubMemon’. This made the onlookers dumb founded.

A student from the same university took a serious umbrage to these activities. He did not hinder or block the actions of admirers and fans of Yakub Memon. Neither, he physically assaulted any one, nor he scold any one. Simply, he had posted Facebook status expressing his anguish in his own way as to how heinous it was for these rowdy elements to indulge in violent protests in the university campus for this cause. There is nothing objectionable in it. If a traitor can be openly supported and can be eulogized as a martyr by a group of students, why does this student not have a similar freedom of expression to condemn it?

Yakub’s aficionados did not think so. In a midnight attack on his room in the hostel assault, a gang of thirty fanatic followers of Yakub assaulted the student. How grievously was he hurt is immaterial here. It is admitted by these student leaders themselves that the student was dragged out his room, beaten black and blue, dragged him to the security post and made him apologize for the post on Facebook and forced him to remove his comments.

Is it not high-handedness and tyrannical? One can understand if this incident had happened in Pakistan’s Hyderabad where a Pakistani was hanged by India and if an Indian student there supported the hanging and Pakistani students assaulted him. It is the state of affairs there and it may be seen as a reflection of fierce nationalist sentiments of the people of Pakistan. Don’t we have the freedom to express nationalist views and condemn the anti-national elements in universities in our country? Are the human rights and constitutional rights meant only for anti-nationals and not for nationalists?

The particular student who was attacked is form an ordinary backward class family. He belongs to a caste that qualifies him for the so-called ‘social justice’ sloganeered by our great intellectuals day in and day out. His mother tried to get justice for her son from the university. The anti-national elements in the university obstructed her efforts to get justice. She was forced to knock the doors of court of law, which sought an explanation from university. University suspended five of the students form the hostel. When the protests were going on against the suspensions, one of them unfortunately committed suicide.

Whole of India focused its attention on the university since then. Everybody is expressing freely their own views on the happenings at university and the background of the unfortunate suicide. There is nothing wrong in it. One cannot overrule ones expressions. One cannot insult one’s sentiments and emotions. The merits and demerits of those arguments are not a point of debate.

Mother of the student who committed suicide confirmed that their caste is ‘vaddera’. His father confirmed that this caste falls under BC communities. If this is true, the dead student was not a Dalit. Media propaganda that the student was a dalit scholar is undoubtedly false.

Well, it is not appropriate to say that the brewing agitation regarding the injustice to Dalits is not correct just because the dead student Rohit was not a Dalit. The same sense of social injustice and inequality that is bothering the Dalit students elsewhere in the country is also acutely paining the Dalit students and faculty of this university too.

There is no doubt that these feelings have to be understood with necessary sympathy and solidarity by all those who strive for the welfare of the society and try to mollify their mental agony. There are many reasons for this accumulated impatience and dissatisfaction among Dalits. There could be many mistakes by university too and some of its decisions and actions may be inappropriate. The manner in which Dalit students were suspended is not beyond suspicion. All these matters should be investigated thoroughly. Culprits, whoever they may be, should be punished. The atmosphere of unrest dominating in the university campus should be put to an end and the undesirable tendencies must be stopped.

There can be no second thought on this. However, the common man who is witnessing how the university campus has become a political battle field has simple questions. Aren’t the misdeeds committed by the admirers of Yakub Memon responsible for the whole problem? Why nobody is talking about it? Don’t we have to punish the perpetrator for destroying the sanctity of the university campus? Don’t we need to condemn the attack on the student who questioned these? When Islamic terrorism is spreading its wings worldwide through ISIS agents and some of those agents are caught in Hyderabad and many other places and when Pakistan’s direct attack on Pathankot stunned the country, if institutions of higher learning become arena for terrorist supporters, shouldn’t we consider this as a serious national security issue?

If bad policies of university officials are detrimental to students’ interests, they can protest for resolutions. Student bodies have every right to fight for taking strong action against officers responsible for injustice; they can go to any extent within their limits.

One fails to understand why to drag the union ministers in to it? If a student union brings to his notice the anti-national activities of the supporters of Yakub Memon what is wrong on the part of  Minister Dattatreya to write a letter to the concerned ministry to verify facts and take steps to stop such anti-national activities? Isn’t it his responsibility as a Member of Parliament representing the local people? Has this letter anything to do with the legitimate agitations by the Dalit students and Dalit faculty for their grievances and rights. Is it not a treason to eulogize and take out demonstrations in praise of a condemned terrorist who is responsible for massacre of hundreds of people? Isn’t it the bounden duty of Human Resources Minister to instruct university to examine the complaint by fellow minister and take necessary action? Considering the importance of matter, is it wrong to follow up periodically after six months on the status? How can it be termed as applying pressure on university to initiate inappropriate decisions? Is there a proof to show that the minister asked to take specific action against specific person? If that is not the case, why should the central minister be criticized? When the entire episode is wrongly portrayed as injustice against Dalits, is it wrong if the minister clarifies that it is not a Dalit versus non-Dalits issue?

When the student in his suicide note itself clearly indicated that no one is responsible for his death and asked not to bother anyone for his death, what kind of logic it is to insinuate that the central ministers are responsible for his death and demand for the inclusion of their names in the FIR and for their resignation?

We should note that Rohit who committed suicide was not a coward. He was brave enough to proclaim that he would tear away any saffron flag that he sees and that he hates ABVP, RSS and Hinduism. He was a wise man who could find out that Vivekananda is a pseudo intellectual. It is difficult to believe that such a person committed suicide frightened by a single letter from Dattatreya and by normal reminders form ministry to the university. It is hard to believe that he would have decided to stop his just fight abruptly and commit suicide. It is preposterous to assume that ministers Smriti Irani or Bandaru Dattatreya came in an invisible form to put a noose to his neck. There must be some strong reason behind his desperate suicide. What is it?

“ASA , SFI anything and everything exists for its own sake. Seldom the interest of a person and the organizations match’. (ASA- Ambedkar Student Association, SFI – Student Federation of India)”

This is what Rohit wrote in his suicide note and struck it out on his own! When student unions are insisting for inclusion of names of two central ministers in FIR, is it not appropriate to look into the role of those student unions whose names were referred in the suicide by Rohit? The Hindu reported that the sim card used by Rohit was missing. Did Smriti Irani came down form sky and took away the sim?

Is it not necessary to have a thorough investigation on all these doubts on the suicide? Is it that even the criminal punishments should be handed own people as desired by the student unions even before the investigation?

CM Kejriwal may have several political issues and hostilities with Smriti Irani in Delhi politics. He may have seen this issue as an good opportunity to express his resentment against her and Modi government, so grabbed this like a loaf of fish by a hungry cat. Part time politician Rahul Gandhi may want to bring down Modi government before goes to jail in National Herald case and get power back. Other political powers, which were ‘impatient’ before Bihar elections may want to bury BJP in the coming election in state. There is nothing wrong in assuming that all these are craving to get political mileage from the unfortunate death of a student. Whatever may be the plans of the political vultures waiting for opportunity to bring down Modi government, how come the university students and their unions allow themselves to be pawns in their political games? Is it appropriate to demand for removal of central ministers without investigation even after suspension of students is revoked? Do student agitators determine who should be the ministers in the central government?

We cannot foresee what twists and turns this matter may take at this stage. It is true that if writing a letter by central a minster to another minister itself is a crime punishable under SC, ST Atrocities Act and if it is an offense to say supporting and eulogizing a Pakistani traitor is wrong, where will this lead us to? The situation begs the basic question – Are we in our country?

Indian President’s Address To Nation on The Eve Of Republic Day 2016

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My Fellow Citizens:

  1. On the eve of the sixty-seventh Republic Day of our nation, I extend my warm greetings to all of you in India and abroad. I convey my special greetings to members of our Armed Forces, Para-military Forces and Internal Security Forces. I pay my tribute to the brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in defending India’s territorial integrity and in upholding the rule of law.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. On twenty-sixth January 1950, our Republic was born. On this day, we gave ourselves the Constitution of India. This day saw the culmination of heroic struggle of an extraordinary generation of leaders who overcame colonialism to establish the world’s largest democracy. They pulled together India’s amazing diversity to build national unity, which has brought us so far. The enduring democratic institutions they established have given us the gift of continuity on the path of progress. India today is a rising power, a country fast emerging as a global leader in science, technology, innovation and start-ups, and whose economic success is the envy of the world.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. The year 2015 has been a year of challenges. During this year, the global economy remained subdued. Unpredictability ruled the commodity markets. Uncertainty marked the institutional responses. In such troubled environment, no one nation could be an oasis of growth. India’s economy also had to face the blowback. Weak investor sentiments led to withdrawal of funds from emerging markets including India putting pressure on the Indian rupee. Our exports suffered. Our manufacturing sector is yet to recover fully.
  1. In 2015, we were also denied the bounty of nature. While large parts of India were affected by severe drought, other areas reeled under devastating floods. Unusual weather conditions impacted our agricultural production. Rural employment and income levels suffered.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. We can call out these challenges because we are aware of them. There is a great virtue in acknowledging a problem and resolving to address it. India is building and implementing strategies to solve these problems. This year, with an estimated growth rate of 7.3 percent, India is poised to become the fastest growing large economy. Contraction in global oil prices has helped maintain external sector stability and control domestic prices. Despite occasional setbacks, industrial performance this year has been strong.
  1. Aadhaar, with its present reach of 96 crore people, is helping in direct transfer of benefits, plugging leakages and improving transparency. Over 19 crore bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is the single largest exercise in the world at financial inclusion. The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana aims to create model villages. The Digital India programme is an effort to bridge the digital divide. The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana targets farmer’s welfare. Increased spending on programmes like MGNREGA is aimed at enhancing employment generation to rejuvenate the rural economy.
  1. The Make-in-India campaign will boost manufacturing by facilitating easy conduct of business and improving competitiveness of domestic industry. The Start-up India programme will foster innovation and encourage new-age entrepreneurship. The National Skill Development Mission envisages skilling 300 million youth by 2022.
  1. There will be, amongst us, occasional doubters and baiters. Let us continue to complain; to demand; to rebel. This too is a virtue of democracy. But let us also applaud what our democracy has achieved. With investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, health, education, science and technology, we are positioning ourselves well for achieving a higher growth rate which will in the next ten to fifteen years help us eliminate poverty.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. Reverence for the past is one of the essential ingredients of nationalism. Our finest inheritance, the institutions of democracy, ensure to all citizens justice, equality, and gender and economic equity. When grim instances of violence hit at these established values which are at the core of our nationhood, it is time to take note. We must guard ourselves against the forces of violence, intolerance and unreason.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. For revitalizing the forces of growth, we need reforms and progressive legislation. It is the bounden duty of the law makers to ensure that such legislation is enacted after due discussion and debate. A spirit of accommodation, cooperation and consensus-building should be the preferred mode of decision-making. Delays in decision-making and implementation can only harm the process of development.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. Peace is the primary objective of a rational consciousness as well as our moral universe. It is the foundation of civilization and a necessity for economic progress. And yet, we have never been able to answer a simple question: why does peace remain so elusive? Why has peace been so much more difficult to attain than degenerate conflict?
  1. As the twentieth century closed down with a remarkable revolution in science and technology, we had some reason for optimism that the twenty-first century would mark an era in which the energies of people and nations would be committed to a rising prosperity that would eliminate, for the first time, the curse of extreme poverty. That optimism has faded in the first fifteen years of this century. There is unprecedented turbulence across vast regions, with alarming increase in regional instabilities. The scourge of terrorism has reshaped war into its most barbaric manifestation. No corner can now consider itself safe from this savage monster.
  1. Terrorism is inspired by insane objectives, motivated by bottomless depths of hatred, instigated by puppeteers who have invested heavily in havoc through the mass murder of innocents. This is war beyond any doctrine, a cancer which must be operated out with a firm scalpel. There is no good or bad terrorism; it is pure evil.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. Nations will never agree on everything; but the challenge today is existential. Terrorists seek to undermine order by rejecting the very basis of strategic stability, which are recognized borders. If outlaws are able to unravel borders, then we are heading towards an age of chaos. There will be disputes among nations; and, as is well-known, the closer we are to a neighbour the higher the propensity for disputes. There is a civilized way to bridge disagreement; dialogue, ideally, should be a continual engagement. But we cannot discuss peace under a shower of bullets.
  1. We on our subcontinent have a historic opportunity to become a beacon to the world at a time of great danger. We must attempt to resolve the complex edges of our emotional and geo-political inheritance with our neighbours through a peaceful dialogue, and invest in mutual prosperity by recognizing that human beings are best defined by a humane spirit, and not their worst instincts. Our example can be its own message to a world in anxious need of amity.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. Each of us has the right to lead a healthy, happy and productive life in India. This right has been breached, especially in our cities, where pollution has reached alarming levels. Climate change has acquired real meaning with 2015 turning out to be the warmest year on record. Multiple strategies and actions at various levels is necessary. Innovative solutions of urban planning, use of clean energy, and changing the mindsets of the people call for active participation of all stakeholders. Permanence of such changes can be ensured only if people own these changes.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. Love for one’s motherland is the basis of all progress. Education, with its enlightening effect, leads to human progress and prosperity. It helps us develop forces of spirit which can revive lost hopes and ignored values. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had said and I quote: “End-product of education should be a free creative man who can battle against historical circumstances and adversities of nature” (unquote). The advent of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” demands that this free and creative man should also be able to master the velocity of change to absorb disruptions which are getting embedded in the systems and societies. An eco-system that fosters critical thinking and makes teaching intellectually stimulating is necessary. It must inspire scholarship and encourage unfettered respect for knowledge and teachers. It must instill a spirit of reverence towards women that will guide social conduct of an individual throughout his life. It must breed a culture of deep thought and create an environment of contemplation and inner peace. Through an open-minded approach to the wider spectrum of ideas emanating from within, our academic institutions must become world-class. A beginning has already been made with two Indian institutes of higher education finding place in the top two hundred in international rankings.

Fellow Citizens:

  1. The generational change has happened. Youth have moved centre-stage to take charge. March ahead with Tagore’s words from Nutan Yuger Bhore:

“CHOLAAY CHOLAAY BAAJBEY JOYER BHEREE –

PAAYER BEGEYI POTH KETEY JAAY, KORISH NEY AAR DERI”

Move ahead, the roll of drums announce your triumphal march;

With feet of glory, you shall cut out your own path;

Delay not, delay not, a new age dawns.

Thank you.

Jai Hind!