Calling for a nation built on the principle of equality for all people, and one that combines “the wisdom of an age-old Bharat and the science of contemporary India”, newly elected President Ram Nath Kovind said onTuesdaythat each citizenwas a “nation builder” and “a custodian of the legacy that we will pass on to coming generations”. In his first address inside the Central Hall of Parliament after being sworn in as the 14th President by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, Kovind said,“We need to sculpt a robust, high growth economy, an educated, ethical and shared community, and an egalitarian society,as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi and Deendayal Upadhyaya ji (the Jana Sangh leader)”. Addressing a gathering that included Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime MinisterNarendra Modi, SpeakerSumitra Mahajan, Union ministers, governors, chief ministers, Supreme Court judges, MPs and diplomats, Kovind said,“We must combine tradition and technology, the wisdomofanage-oldBharatand the science of contemporary India. There is no dichotomythere, no question of choice.” Stressing that “nations are not built bygovernments alone”, Kovind said, “The government can at best be a facilitator, and a triggerforsociety’s innate entrepreneurial and creative instincts… Each citizen of India is a nation builder. Each one of us is a custodian of India’swell-being and of the legacy that we will pass on to coming generations.”
Elaborating on this idea, the President underlined that from farmers to scientists, from doctors to entrepreneurs, they contribute to build the nation in their own way. “That farmer toiling in the blazing sun to feed fellow citizensisanationbuilder… Thatscientist concentrating tirelessly and 24×7 to send an Indian space mission to Mars,or invent a vaccine, is a nation builder…That nurse or doctor helping the sick to recover and fighting disease in a remote village, is a nation builder…. that young person who founds a start-up and becomes a job creator is a nation builder,” he said, while also referring to the security forces and people in various otherwalks of life. Striking a strong nationalistic note — he concluded his speechwith“Vande Mataram”— Kovind said that India of the 21st century“will be one that is in conformity with our ancient values as well as compliant with the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. \..”We take pride in the soil andwaterof India;we take pride in the diversity, religious harmony and inclusive ethos of India; we take pride in the culture, heritage and spirituality of India…,” he said. “India’s voice counts in today’s world.
The entire planet is drawn to Indian culture and soft power. The global community looks to us forsolutions to international problems -whetherterrorism, money laundering or climate change,” said the President. Kovind also described India as the land of the Buddha and invoked Mahatma Gandhi, who “led” the freedom struggle, Sardar Patel, who “integrated our nation”, and Babasaheb Ambedkar, the “principal architect of our Constitution”. However, he made no reference to members of the Nehru-Gandhi family.