New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, whose term as the President of India ends tomorrow, is addressing the nation. This is his last address as the head of the country. He will hand over the post to Ram Nath Kovind, who will take oath tomorrow as the 14th President of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the farewell function for Mr Mukherjee, lauded the 81-year-old leader and said, ” Under President Pranab Mukherjee, Rashtrapati Bhavan became a ‘Lok Bhavan’.” Yesterday, Mr Mukherjee attended a farewell ceremony in parliament’s Central Hall, where all the lawmakers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi gathered to meet him.
I am overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude for the people of India for the trust and confidence they reposed in me.
I have received much more from the country than I have given; for that, I will remain ever indebted to people of India.
For development to be real, the poorest of the land must feel that they are a part of the nation’s narrative.
5 years ago, when I took the oath of office of President, I promised to preserve, protect & defend our Constitution.
Each day of these five years, I was conscious of my responsibility.
How successful I was in discharging my responsibilities will be judged, over time, by the critical lens of history.
For the past fifty years of my public life my sacred text has been the Constitution of India.
My temple has been the Parliament of India and my passion has been the service of the people of India.
The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance.
Plurality of our society has come about through assimilation of ideas over centuries.
The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special.
We derive our strength from tolerance; it has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries.
There are divergent strands in public discourse; we may argue, we may agree or we may not agree.
But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion.
Otherwise, a fundamental character of our thought process will wither away.
The capacity for compassion and empathy is the true foundation of our civilization.
We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal.
Only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of the people in the democratic process.
Power of non-violence has to be resurrected to build a compassionate and caring society.
As I had said on assuming office of the President, education is the alchemy that can take India to its next golden age.
A reordering of society is possible through the transformative power of education.
Our universities should not be a place for rote-memorizing but an assembly of inquisitive minds.
Creative thinking, innovation and scientific temper have to be promoted in our institutions of higher learning.