New Delhi: Crediting the Constitution for his rise from a "small-town poor boy" to prime minister, Narendra Modi today called himself the "pradhan sewak" of the people and not their "pradhan mantri".
In his maiden Independence Day address, that lasted for 65 minutes, the Prime Minister called upon the people to take a strong pledge towards nation building.
"My beloved countrymen! I have come here not as a 'pradhan mantri' (PM) but a 'pradhan sewak' (prime servant). And, hearty greetings from this 'pradhan sewak'.... This is a national festival and this should also be an opportunity for us in building the character of our nation," Modi said.
Recalling his humble roots in a small-town in Gujarat, Modi extolled the virtues of the Constitution and praised its architects.
"It is a virtue of the Indian Constitution that a small-town boy from a poor family is today hoisting the national flag on Independence Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort," he said, as the crowd broke into an applause.
The 63-year-old leader, first prime minister to have been born in India after Independence, spoke on a wide-ranging issues such as rape, female foeticide, toilets for women, jobs for youth, cleanliness and need for strengthening the manufacturing sector.
Asking every individual to contribute in nation-building, Modi said it was time to go beyond the "mera kya, mujhe kya" culture.
"Today when you approach somebody for work, they ask 'isme mera kya (what is there in it for me)' or 'mujhe kya (It doesn't concern me)?' It is time that people do service in the interest of the nation and not for personal gains," he said.
Sporting a traditional Rajasthani safa (headgear), Modi also exhorted the youth of the nation to become "job creators" and not mere "job-seekers".