President of India Pratibhatai Patil’s extended greetings to all living in India and overseas on the occasion of the 64th Independence Day. She also gave special greetings to members of armed forces and paramilitary forces who guard our frontiers, and our internal security forces.
In her address to the nation, the President of India said that, “This significant day in our nation’s calendar takes us back to the events that made our country, a free nation. It is to Mahatma Gandhi — the Father of our Nation, to all the other leaders of our freedom movement, and to the millions of people of our country, who fought with bravery and courage, that we pay homage. Our independence was won on the principles of truth and nonviolence. Today, our nation stands at a threshold.”
The President said that Independence Day is a time for introspection and preparing ourselves for the challenges ahead. “The real strength of a nation is judged not by the challenges it faces, but by its responses,” the President said.
Terming corruption as a cancer affecting our nation’s political, economic, cultural and social life, she said, “It is necessary to eliminate it. Government, Parliament, judiciary and society at large, should ponder about this, and find out ways to handle it in a manner that is practical, implementable and sustainable. There cannot be just one panacea or remedy to deal with it, but a system of transparency and accountability should be put in place at various levels, and, then, effectively enforced. It would require preventive and punitive measures, as well as adoption of rational approaches as we pursue the anti-corruption agenda.”
Voicing concern on the skewed gender ration, President Pratibhatai Patil said, “Our census sadly shows that there has been a decline in the gender ratio in the 0 to 6 age group. It has touched a low level of 914 girls as compared to a 1,000 boys. It reflects the continuing preference of boys in our society and the bias against the girl child. We need to fight social prejudices which have resulted in this situation, and also work to eradicate the practices of dowry, child marriage and female feticide, which we are continuing to battle even in the 21st century.”
Echoing the sentiments of millions of Indians, the President recalled the words of Swami Vivekananda, “this national ship of ours my countrymen, has been plying for ages, carrying civilization and enriching the whole world with its inestimable treasures !”