New Delhi, Jan 25 (IBNS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said youths in India cannot be blamed for their outrage over the Delhi gangrape since the woman who died from the brutal attack was the symbol of all that India strives for.
Addressing the nation on the eve of the 64th Republic Day, Pranab Mukherjee said: "I speak to you when a grave tragedy has shattered complacency. The brutal rape and murder of a young woman, a woman who was symbol of all that new India strives to be, has left our hearts empty and our minds in turmoil."
"We lost more than a valuable life; we lost a dream. If today young Indians feel outraged, can we blame our youth?" he said.
"There is a law of the land. But there is also a higher law. The sanctity of a woman is a directive principle of that larger edifice called Indian civilization. The Vedas say that there is more than one kind of mother: birth mother, a guru´s wife, a king´s wife, a priest´s wife, she who nurses us, and our motherland. Mother is our protection from evil and oppression, our symbol of life and prosperity. When we brutalise a woman, we wound the soul of our civilization," said the President.
He said it is time for the nation to reset its moral compass.
"Nothing should be allowed to spur cynicism, as cynicism is blind to morality. We must look deep into our conscience and find out where we have faltered. The solutions to problems have to be found through discussion and conciliation of views. People must believe that governance is an instrument for good and for that, we must ensure good governance," he said.
The President also spoke on the skirmish on the Pakistan border and killing of Indian army personnel.
" In the recent past, we have seen serious atrocities on the Line of Control on our troops. Neighbours may have disagreements; tension can be a subtext of frontiers. But sponsorship of terrorism through non-state actors is a matter of deep concern to the entire nation," he said.
"We believe in peace on the border and are always ready to offer a hand in the hope of friendship. But this hand should not be taken for granted," he said.
The President said India has changed more in last six decades than in six previous centuries.
"This is neither accidental nor providential; history shifts its pace when touched by vision. The great dream of raising a new India from the ashes of colonialism reached a historic denouement in 1947; more important, independence became a turning point for an equally dramatic narrative, nation-building.
"The foundations were laid through our Constitution, adopted on 26 January 1950, which we celebrate each year as Republic Day. Its driving principle was a compact between state and citizen, a powerful public-private partnership nourished by justice, liberty and equality," he said.
"India did not win freedom from the British in order to deny freedom to Indians. The Constitution represented a second liberation, this time from the stranglehold of traditional inequity in gender, caste, community, along with other fetters that had chained us for too long," he said.
He said in the last six decades there is "much that we can be proud of."
"Our economic growth rate has more than tripled. The literacy rate has increased by over four times. After having attained self sufficiency, now we are net exporters of food-grain. Significant reduction in the incidence of poverty has been achieved. Among our other major achievements is the drive towards gender equality," he said.
He also dwelt on poverty saying the young cannot dream on an empty stomach.
"They must have jobs capable of serving their own as well as the nation´s ambitions. It is true that we have come a long way from 1947, when our first Budget had a revenue of just over Rs.171 crore. The resource base of the Union government today is an ocean compared to that drop," he said.
"But we must ensure that the fruits of economic growth do not become the monopoly of the privileged at the peak of a pyramid. The primary purpose of wealth creation must be to drive out the evil of hunger, deprivation and marginal subsistence from the base of our expanding population," he said.