|HE the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari and Hamad Bin Khalifa University president HE Dr Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali al-Thani join the Indian ambassador in cutting a cake to mark the Republic Day celebrations of India at a ceremony held at Grand Hyatt Doha yesterday. Senior Qatari officials and members of the diplomatic community attended the event.|
The strides that India has made in the last six-and-a-half decades since the South Asian nation became a republic were recalled at a function held at the Indian embassy yesterday to celebrate the 65th Indian Republic Day. India became a Republic on January 26, 1950.
After hoisting the tricolour and singing of the national anthem by schoolchildren, Indian Ambassador Sanjiv Arora read out Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to his compatriots on the eve of the celebrations.
The speech, made in Hindi and later in English, touched on the cardinal principles of democracy. While deliberating on the topic, he also recalled the famous words of Rabindranath Tagore – “the human mind flourishes best when it is free from fear, when it has the liberty to roam into spheres unknown”.
Greeting the community members, the envoy explained how the country has overcome major challenges over the years and how important the fundamental right of democracy is for every Indian. “For those in power, democracy is a sacred trust and those violating the trust are committing sacrilege against the nation.”
Highlighting the country’s strong adherence to democratic values, ideals and principles, the president’s address reminded that democracy in India has never been betrayed by the people. “Its fault-lines are the handiwork of those who have made power a gateway to greed.”
In the speech, the ambassador also mentioned as to how much corruption has contributed to weakening the democratic foundations of the country. “If governments do not remove these flaws, voters will remove governments,” he said while reading the president’s statement.
Democracy, he said, is a physician that heals and 2014 should become a year of healing after the fractured and contentious politics of the last few years.
While recalling the slowdown in the economy in the last couple of years, the president insisted that there is no room for despair whatsoever. “Revival is already under way and it is evident from the growth recorded in agricultural output.”
India, it was told, is much more than what it is as a geography and has a glorious history of ideas, philosophy, intellect, industrial genius, craft, innovation and experience.
Stressing that India had an illustrious past as a major educational pioneer, it was pointed out that the country housed more than 33,000 colleges and 650 universities. “Education is no longer just the privilege of the elite, but a universal right. It is the seed of a nation’s destiny. We must usher in an education revolution that becomes a launching pad for the national resurgence.”
A select group of children from the country’s Indian schools sang patriotic songs. Many Indian expatriates were present at the function. Besides the principals and managing council members of the country’s Indian schools, representatives of various forums affiliated to the Indian Cultural Centre were also in attendance.
In the evening, a cake-cutting ceremony was held where senior Qatari dignitaries were among those in attendance. Source; Gulf Times