January 25, 2015 8:11:45 pm
Atrocities of rape, murders, harassment on roads, kidnapping and dowry deaths have made women fearful in their own homes, President Pranab Mukherjee said in the capital on Sunday while asking countrymen to take a pledge to protect their honour.
Addressing the nation on the eve of 66th Republic Day, he said “it pains me to see that Mother India is not respected by her own children when it comes to the safety of women”.
“Atrocities of rape, murders, harassment on the roads, kidnapping and dowry deaths have made women fearful even in their own homes,” Mukherjee said.
The President said only a nation that respects and empowers its women can become “global power”. “Every Indian must take a pledge to protect the honour of women from violence of any kind. Only a nation that respects and empowers its women can become a global power,” he said.
Mukherjee said Rabindranath Tagore saw women not only as deities of the household fire, but also the flame of the soul itself. “Where have we failed, as parents, teachers and leaders, that our children have forgotten all tenets of decent behaviour and respect for women?
We have enacted many legislations but, as Benjamin Franklin had once said and I quote: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are”, he said.
The President said the country’s future will remain both visible and elusive “if we do not discover the ability to continually cleanse ourselves of retrograde habits and social ills”.
Over the past century, some have died, others have faded, but many still exist, he said. “We are celebrating, this year, the centenary of Gandhiji’s return to India from South Africa. We can never cease to learn from a Mahatma.
The first thing he did in 1915 was to keep his eyes open and his lips sealed. It is advisable to follow his example,” Mukherjee said.
He said while the country is rightly focused on 1915, perhaps “we should cast a glance on what Gandhiji did in 1901, the year when he returned home for his first break.”
“The annual Congress session was held that year in Calcutta, then the capital of British India. Gandhiji was a delegate. He went to Ripon College for a meeting. He discovered that the whole place had been dirtied by fellow-delegates.
“A shocked Gandhiji did not wait for any allotted cleaner. He picked up a broom and cleaned the area. No one followed his example in 1901. 114 years later, let us follow his example, and become worthy children of a magnificent father,” the President said.
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