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Republic Day Speech
India is celebrating its 62nd Republic Day Today. This Day is the commemoration of India's acquiring the status of a Sovereign Republic on Jan 26, 1950. On this day, the Indian Parliament adopted the Constitution for Indian Union, realizing the long-cherished dream of Indian people. Let me briefly dwell on the historic struggle that led to the institution of this day. It will be a fitting tribute to the courage of all those great leaders and patriots, who had sacrificed their good life for the cause of Freedom.
The British laid foundation for their rule in India with the battle of Plassey in 1757. Since then, the British East India Company went on to annex various Indian territories to their empire. With the battle of Buxar, they brought major parts of South India under them. Later they followed up their conquests with the annexation of Maratha and Punjab region. They made English the teaching medium in schools, and instilled British values and culture among the upcoming Indian generation. This way they consolidated their dominance in India. The 200 years that India remained under the spell of British rule is a story of gradual subjugation of Indian masses through their superior military power and administrative skills. During this period, India was like a warehouse of the Imperial Empire of Britain, with the East India company plundering the natural resources of India, and denuding Mother India of its natural beauty and wealth.
The first awakening against this organized looting manifested in the form of Rebellion in 1857, in which Indian sepoys of the East India Company went on a rampage, protesting against the religious, social, and racial prejudices practiced by the British officers towards Indian members of the army. This rebellion served as turning point in the history of modern India, and India was brought under the direct control of the British Parliament, and a viceroy was appointed as the representative of the British Crown.
The first war of Independence in 1857 has created growing political awareness among Indian people. Indian National Congress was founded in 1885 in Mumbai by an English man A.O. Hume. This Movement gradually gathered strength, and became the embodiment of Indians' dream of freedom. Mahatma Gandhi along with stalwart leaders like Bala Gangadhar Tilak, Gopalkrishna Gokhale, Vallabhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Jawaharlal Nehru had spearheaded the Indian Independence Movement through a series of non-violent forms of struggle like Civil Disobedience, and Non-cooperation movements. Finally, Gandhiji's weapon of Non-violence won over the guns of the British, and India became Independent on Aug 15, 1947.
Since Independence, India has been on a journey of progress. The 5-year plans instituted by the government has resulted in growth both on agricultural and industrial fronts. Science and Technology grew by leaps and bounds, making it possible for India to develop nuclear technology, and to send its satellites to space. The greatness of Indian democracy is that despite its ever-growing population, the country was able to notch up remarkable growth in the areas of industrialization, literacy, employment generation, poverty alleviation, internal security, defense, and social welfare. All these while offering all kind of freedoms to its citizens.
Recent trends in the National politics in the country show that the politicians, who are duty-bound to protect these freedoms and ensure equitable distribution of wealth thru political and administrative measures, becoming enslaved by the lure of wealth. Corruption, favoritism and communalism have become so rampant that recently scams involving lakhs of crores of rupees were exposed in the media. If before it was the British who were looting Mother India, now it is her own sons who are bleeding her.
Another curse of our times is the terrorism based on religion. Under the influence of money and false religious propaganda, a section of our youths became tools in the hands of our enemies. These misguided youths are on a war path against the Indian nation, rendering the hard-won freedom meaningless.
On this solemn occasion, I call upon my fellow citizens to be vigilant against the divisive forces that are hell bent on fragmenting our nation. The catastrophic terrorist attack that our nation witnessed in Mumbai in 2008 is a bleak reminder of how the enemy is trying to destroy our hard-won freedoms. Let us use this opportunity to re-affirm our faith in freedom and to defend it at any cost.