We must continue with our democratic principles and way of life, says President Patil

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil on Monday called on the people of the country to reflect their aspirations and choices, through democratic means and continue with democratic principles and way of life.

Addressing the nation on the eve of 61st Republic Day celebrations, President Patil said: "The nation found expression in the very opening words of the Constitution -We, the people of India. This was a strong affirmation that the impulses of the nation and its future would be guided by its people."

"They (people) would reflect their aspirations and choices, through democratic means. They would also enjoy the fundamental rights that guarantee their freedoms and dignity," said the President.

"Today is a reminder that upholding the values, determining the direction and propelling the growth of our nation is a task that must be fulfilled by every citizen of the country...... Foremost amongst what we must continue with, is our democratic principles and way of life. We have ably demonstrated that we are a functioning democracy, by time and again, choosing our governments through the ballot and by taking democracy to the grassroots," said President Patil.

Deliberating on the true meaning of democracy, Patil said it is very much more demanding and it is the rule of law, rule of reason.

"India has shown to the world, it is the rule of non-violence. Democracy involves a pattern of behavior, in which every individual must act responsibly, show respect towards dissimilar opinions and address differences in a constructive and accommodative manner."

Patil said this would build harmony and tolerance - values which are intrinsic to our philosophy; these form the bedrock of a society that embraces the diversity of language, religion and culture to create a composite whole.

"These values must be followed uninterruptedly in a nation that is, as vast and as varied, as ours," she said.

Stressing on the need to adopt secularism, our constitutionally chosen path, Patil said : It (secularism) "entails respect for all religions, its place in our national life is unalterable."

"India is a land where followers of different religions have lived together for centuries. We must maintain social cohesion. Our tradition of living in accord with each other must continue to form an integral part of the rhythm of life of our future generations," Patil added.

Patil said: "We, the people, belong to a civilization that has deep reverence towards nature, we must also be sensitive inhabitants of the Planet, in which climate change has become a major challenge."

"We must judiciously use its resources, work to conserve its rich flora and fauna as well as adopt environment friendly approaches.

Use of energy efficient technologies and renewable sources of energy, are some steps that can reduce the carbon footprint," the President added. (ANI)

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