An initiative of the government of India to commemorate the 75th year of the country’s independence, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an embodiment of all that is progressive about the nation’s socio-cultural, political and economic identity. Former Indian ambassador Anil Trigunayat writes about the various ways India has evolved to become a force to reckon with
Acountry is not merely a geography or group of people. It is a civilisational heritage. Modern India,drawing from the civilisational ethos of ancient Bharatvarsh, stands out among the comity of nations by virtue of its intellectual achievements, philosophical discourses and universalism in thought and action. The past can be a good guide for an innovative future. Coming out of the colonial yoke, India enabled a large number of countries across Asia, Africa and elsewhere to follow suit and in turn, acquired the leadership through non-alignment to become the voice of the developing world. India’s involvement in the United Nations (UN), General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/ World Trade Organization (WTO) and a plethora of international organisations engineered its adherence to multilateralism which is also implicit in the psyche of Indians at a fundamental level.
Today’s #AmritMahotsav programme begins from Sabarmati Ashram, from where the Dandi March began. The March had a key role in furthering a spirit of pride and Aatmanirbharta among India’s people. Going #VocalForLocal is a wonderful tribute to Bapu and our great freedom fighters.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 12, 2021
It was at a time when India was struggling to survive hunger, poverty and under development.
ABOUT THE MAHOTSAV
On March 12, 2021, Indian Prime Minister Modi flagged off the ‘Padyatra’ (Freedom March) from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and inaugurated the curtain-raiser activities of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ ([email protected]), which starts a 75-week countdown to India’s 75th anniversary of Independence in 2022 and will end post a year on August 15, 2023. The objectives of the mahovsav are as follows:
• Citizen Campaign: low Cost, People intensive – The event is an intensive, country-wide campaign that will focus on citizen participation, to be converted into a ‘Janandolan’, where small changes, at the local level, will add up to significant national gains.
• ek Bharat shreshtha Bharat – The intent is to further the idea of a sustained and structured framework of connection between people of different regions of India by promoting mutual understanding of cultural activities.
• every state, every language: har rajya, har Bhasha – India writes in many languages and speaks in many more voices. To promote deeper inclusivity across the nation, regional languages will be highlighted.
• emphasis on india’s Glorious history – India’s fabric has been woven by diverse linguistic, cultural and religious threads, held together into a composite national identity. India’s shared history is the bedrock of its nationhood. This would be highlighted in the event.
• showcasing india’s development – Over the last 75 years, India has grown significantly across all sectors. From space and technology to healthcare and education, the event will showcase India’s impressive and innovative achievements across sectors since 1947.
• Global outreach – “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” will be shared and promoted around the world and also with India’s diverse diaspora across many continents. These events will highlight India’s culture and heritage on a global stage and bring awareness globally to the unique legacy of India.
Yet it became a beacon of hope and trust for the world. India is an example of unity in diversity and has emerged as an indispensable strategic actor which needs to be factored into all global calculations. India at 75 is a force to reckon with.
Today is the first day of the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence. This Mahotsav has started 75 weeks before 15th august 2022 and will run till 15th august 2023. Freedom struggle, ideas at 75, achievements at 75, actions and resolves at 75 – these five pillars will inspire the country to move forward.
With 1.3 billion voices, it can easily traverse the challenges that stare at her and the world. India’s developmental model, which has evolved with time, has been of great assistance to more than 160 countries across the world through various capacity-building programmes and efforts in the spirit of “Share and Care”.
It has helped India to create a tremendous constituency of goodwill across continents. Even during the ensuing Covid-19 pandemic, India was one country which went way beyond her call of duty to help more than 150 countries with medicines and other assistance, and has provided millions of doses of vaccines to over 90 countries. ‘Vaccine Maitri’ and ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ became the mantra during this crisis. It was no wonder that when India faced the second wave of Covid-19, many friends extended their assistance. Global solidarity for confronting global challenges is what India practices and prescribes.
India, with its continental size, is a kaleidoscope of culture, tradition, languages, art, music, films, food and festivities. These would be an integral part of the mahotsav (mega event) until August 2023 and beyond.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to seek global support for the International Day of Yoga on June 21 at the UN in 2014 was an astounding and unprecedented success. It is gaining greater acceptability across the world. It was also a stellar achievement of Indian diplomacy.
THEMES OF AZADI KA AMRIT MAHOTSAV
The six themes that will underline the mega festivals are:
Vishva Guru Bharat – Since the beginning of civilisation, India has been the guru (teacher) for the whole world. People from all around the globe converged to gain priceless wisdom from the country that showed the world its academic brilliance through Sushrutha, Kanad and Aryabhatta. The world has finally adopted ‘Namaste’ as a way of greeting, thereby establishing the fact that Indian values and beliefs can change the world for the better. From Ayurveda to Indian science, there’s more to India that the world needs to know, learn and adopt. India and its people believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ or the world is one family. It is now time for the world to imbibe the same spirit and India deserves to gain the pedestal of being “Vishwa Guru” again.
Ideas, Achievements & resolve – The idea is to celebrate the notion of India – being the ‘best in class’ in social, political and economic realm – shared by every Indian. The country has traversed a long way since independence and has a long way to go. Achievements in different spheres, including agriculture, science and technology, will be highlighted during the course of the events. The Aatmanirbhar Bharat Design Centre, being developed as part of the Museum complex at Red Fort (New Delhi), shall focus on indigenous products from all the states and union territories. Furthermore, initiatives igniting the challenger spirit in every citizen will be fostered, such as #RiseUp pledge across social media platforms. Programmes of similar nature will not just devote each individual towards nation-building but will also aid Indians overcome challenges in their everyday life.
Aatmanirbhar Bharat – The idea of a self-reliant nation in every aspect is being achieved by the pioneering vision of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the pandemic, India has demonstrated that it can cope up with dire situations. Aatmanirbharta also gives a financial cushion to several businesses and encourages entrepreneurs to produce maximum goods and services within the country. Within this year, India has not only started the world’s largest self-made vaccination drive but it is also exporting vaccines to countries across the world. The whole concept of self-reliance will reduce unemployment at many levels. India is a big and rapidly-growing market for a majority of the product categories and with the mantra of ‘vocal for local’, the promulgation of local brands, manufacturing and supply chain will provide a big boost to India’s economy.
India’s rich Cultural heritage – The Indian word for culture is ‘sanskriti’. From time immemorial, Indians have described their culture as ‘Human Culture’ (manav dharma/ sanskriti). It has a universal appeal. The principle of ‘Unity in Diversity’ is the implicit law of nature, the Universe and life. People belonging to diverse communities, speaking different languages, having different food, performing different customs harmoniously co-exist in India. Thus, the soul of the cultural heritage of India lies in the fact that it’s an allembracing confluence of religions, traditions, customs and beliefs. Over the years, numerous styles of art, architecture, painting, music, dance, festivals and customs have developed in India and this wide variety has made the Indian culture unparalleled, to which the entire world still looks up to.
Celebrating Unsung heroes – During the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, events, exhibitions (online and offline), publications and museums, highlighting the unsung or unacknowledged heroes of the Indian freedom struggle, will be planned. Many freedom fighters do not find a place in the conventional freedom movement storyline. One such example is Veer Gundandhur, who led the tribals of Bastar in the freedom struggle. Then there are Velu Nachiyar, Bhikaji Cama, and many more whose contributions are yet to see the light of the day. The ideals of human resolve, kindness and selflessness will be celebrated and promoted during the course of the events. With the element of inclusion in the conventional storyline, local history shall find a place under the “Dekho Apna Desh”. Chief secretaries from every state and UT are planning historical events of local importance. The idea of unsung heroes will be intricately linked to the Visit India Year 2022, wherein regional art, culture, heritage, wellness and yoga shall be promoted.
Independence 2.0 – Over the years, the notion of India has largely revolved around the narrative of ‘diversity’. Keeping the larger vision for the nation in mind, both for contemporary times and for the future, the emphasis now lies on local manufacturing (‘Made in India’ and ‘vocal’ about ‘local’). Before the nation approaches the global level, the creation of world-class products promoting investments and value pricing remains the focus. This shall lead to the establishment of a level-playing business ecosystem, keeping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind. Not only will sustainability remain a key, but increased participation of local craftsmen and artisans shall also be witnessed as well.
For a successful Independence 2.0, the sentiments of India’s rich cultural heritage will be tapped. All the aforementioned elements (such as Visva Guru Bharat, Aatmanirbhar Bharat) will be imbibed in spirit while implementing this vision. Along with imbibing ethos, marketing battles will also have to be fought in the fast-evolving consumer world. Once this is achieved, then the same ethos will be carried at the global stage – with Indian products competing across international categories, thus walking on the path towards the longawaited aspiration of India as ‘Nation of the Future’.
Other major initiatives like International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) have earned India the right to be at the forefront of fight against climate change. As India aims to be the third largest economy, led by talented youth into the Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven Industrial Revolution 4.0, it has embarked on a journey to become ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (selfreliant India) and an integral part of the global value and supply chains with ‘Vocal for Local’ facilitating a paradigm shift in the post-Covid era.
PM Modi has enthused the nation, saying that, “When an Indian takes one step forward, the nation sprints by 1.3 bn [billion] steps”. In the international domain, India is taking the lead as it chairs the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in 2021 and G20 in 2023, and aspires for its rightful place at the high table of UNSC (United Nations Security Council) as it promotes peace and development across the world through the dynamic five ‘S’ vision for foreign policy, namely Samman (respect), Samvaad (dialogue), Sahyog (cooperation), Shanti (peace) and Samriddhi (global prosperity).
PM Modi, while speaking at the UN, said, “India is a nation that has given Buddh [in a reference to Lord Gautama Buddha] and not yuddh [war]. That is why we have an abiding commitment against terrorism. Terrorism goes against the founding principle of the United Nations, and for the sake of humanity, it is crucial that the world unites against it. A divided world is in nobody’s interest.” We can rightly be proud of our achievements in the last 75 years, although a lot many challenges remain. But to rise to the dreams of our freedom fighters for a resurgent, resilient, robust and reliant India, we have to be innovative across the spectrum, while dedicating ourselves to the service of the nation.
Anil Trigunayat is India’s former ambassador to Jordan, Libya and Malta. He takes keen interest in the Middle East and Africa, and Russia. He is a Distinguished Fellow of Vivekananda International Foundation and the president of Millennial India International Chamber Of Commerce Industry & Agriculture
Top Image: twitter.com/MinOfCultureGoI