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Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav: Cherish the gift of freedom, says Nagaland Chief Minister

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Mar 12, 2021 8:06 pm
Neiphiu Rio with NLA Speaker Sharingain Longkumer and home commissioner Abhijit Sinha with students dressed up as Mahatma Gandhi at Nagaland Civil Secretariat Kohima, on Friday. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent
Kohima, March 12 (EMN): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Friday urged the citizens to cherish the most beautiful gift of freedom and continue to work with renewed vigour and passion towards making the nation even stronger and greater in every respect.

He was addressing the gathering on the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav at Nagaland Civil Secretariat Plaza Kohima, as the state joined the rest of the country in commemorating 75 years of India’s Independence through 75 weeks of celebrations.

Highlighting the significance of the day, Rio said that ‘in 1930, 91 years ago, the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi had started his famous, inspiring and epochal Dandi March’. He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who launched the 75-week Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav at Ahmedabad in Gujarat, flagged off the re-enact of the historic Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram.

“At one level the march from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi, a coastal village in Gujarat, about 385 kilometres away, was intended to protest against the nefarious provisions of the salt tax imposed by the British government. However at another level, following the declaration for total independence by the Indian National Congress in December 1929 and celebration of Independence day across the country by the people on the 26 January 1930,” the chief minister said.

He stated that the march had deeper, profound implications, triggering the wider civil disobedience movement against the foreign rule that had provided the spark and ignited the flames of the freedom movement across the length and breadth of the country in the hearts of millions of people.

Rio maintained that before independence, India had many challenges- ‘economically weak as a result of the colonial rule, millions living in abject poverty, stagnant agriculture, poor industrial base, weak infrastructure, existence of huge social disparities among the people, and many such formidable challenges’.

“As the biggest democracy in the world even then, we had big dreams and with unfailing zeal and attitude we embarked on a journey which has seen us overcoming all the obstacles on the path and making spectacular strides in every sphere,” he said.

He asserted that after attaining its independence, India has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, successfully created a vibrant and large economy which compares well with the biggest economies of the globe, built infrastructure which rivals the best in the world, become a formidable space and nuclear power, and has one of the largest militaries in the world.

He went on to say that the country has over the decades able to strengthen the democratic processes and foundations by empowering, particularly the marginalised communities and sections of society, and brought about significant social and economic equality among the people.

He stated that Nagaland, which came into existence about 16 years after India’s independence, has also been moving shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the country ‘to turn all the dreams in reality’.

‘We now boast of very good literacy rate, the quality of our human resources are second to none, the road network over the decades have grown substantially to cover every nook and corner of the state, the availability of power is there across the state, the healthcare sector has seen tremendous improvement; in fact, we have made progress in every area,’ he said.

Stating that people of the state, like everyone else in the country, now enjoy a much-improved quality of life when compared to a few decades ago, he expressed gratitude to ‘those who have taken up a great deal and task in building the state over the decades, diligently worked hard, giving their blood, sweat and tears, in helping reached this stage’.

Neiphiu Rio receiving a bouquet from a student dressed up as Mahatma Gandhi at Nagaland Civil Secretariat Kohima, on Friday. (EM Images)

Rio said the state as well as the entire nation has made substantial progress and remarkable achievements but pointed that there are still a lot of ground to cover to be considered a developed state.

In this regard, the chief minister said: “As part of the celebration, we need to double our effort to further our developmental goals and ensure that no individual is deprived of his or her fundamental rights.” He stressed on the importance of working together to achieving this vision.

He went on to urge the people to recall the life and message of the father of the nation who always advocated peace, non-violence and purity of means, and be guided by such ideals as Nagas ‘continue to strive for early political solution, a matter intricately linked to our identity and history’.

The programme was attended by several legislators, government functionaries and officials. Students dressed in white clothes and holding walking sticks depicted the march of Mahatma Gandhi and volunteers entered the venue carrying banners with Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav messages written on them. Cultural items were also performed at the event.

The chief minister also inaugurated a photo exhibition on the theme ‘Celebrating 75 Years of India’s Independence’ organised by the Bureau of Outreach and Communication, Ministry of Information and  Broadcasting (MIB) at Secretariat plaza.

Earlier in the day, over 150 volunteers from NSS and NYK undertook a march from High School Junction, Kohima to the Nagaland Civil Secretariat, Kohima. The state’s Home Commissioner, Abhijit Sinha, flagged off the march.

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Mar 12, 2021 8:06:07 pm