President Ram Nath Kovind today said he wanted every citizen of the country to become a nation- builder by adopting the Gandhian concept of “trusteeship”. Addressing a function organised to felicitate Jain monk Acharya Shri Padmasagarsuriji on his 83rd birthday here, Kovind linked the monk’s work with Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of trusteeship and urged him to spread the message further for the betterment of the society. “Acharyashri is doing a great work of identifying, preserving and cataloguing ancient manuscripts. However, he has refused to take the credit for such a great work, as he said he only utilised what the society gave to him and now he is giving it back,” said Kovind, who is on a two-day visit to Gujarat. “This is the concept of trusteeship given by Mahatma Gandhi. Citizens need to understand that we are indebted by what this society and the country has given to us. I want Acharyashri to spread this message of trusteeship through his millions of disciples. I want every citizen of this country to be a nation-builder,” the president said. During his address, Kovind recalled his connection with his “second home” Gujarat prior to assuming the country’s top Constitutional office.
“Though I came to Gujarat for the first time after becoming the president, my relation with Gujarat is almost 45 years old. I used to visit the state quite frequently in the past. Though I was born in Uttar Pradesh, I used to tell people that Gujarat is my second home,” he said. Kovind said he knew Acharyashri since 1994 when the latter had lunch at his residence during his journey from Delhi to West Bengal. The president also hailed Gujarat for giving two prime ministers – Morarji Desai, with whom he had worked closely, and incumbent Narendra Modi.
Kovind began his tour by visiting the Mahatma’s Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad earlier in the day. The President is supposed to take part in the foundation- stone laying ceremony for the link-IV of the ambitious SAUNI (Saurashtra-Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana) project near Jasdan town in Rajkot district tomorrow, where he will address a gathering. He will also visit the Ghela Somnath temple near Jasdan, around 60 kms from Rajkot.