Vande Mataram! Solemn Observance of 75th Independence Day at St Aloysius College
Mangaluru: The 75th Independence Day of our nation was observed in solemnity by St Aloysius College and its Students Council 2020-21, with the formal hoisting of the tricolour in front of the Administrative Block. Cadets of all the three wings of the NCC enhanced the solemnity of the programme with their impeccable March and grand salute to the national flag. The melodious rendering of the patriotic songs by the College Staff Choir added to the grandeur and patriotic emotion among the audience.
The Chief Guest for the solemn ceremony was Dr Jenifer Lolita C-Regional Joint Director, Dept of Collegiate Education, Mangaluru region, and guest of honour was Harsha Paul- Asst Professor and HoD of Microbiology, St Aloysius College, Mangaluru. Rev Dr Praveen Martis SJ-the Principal of St Aloysius College presided over the ceremony, joined by Dr Santhosh Goveas- Asst Director-Students Council; Dr Alwyn D’sa -Registrar; Dr Ratan Mohunta- Director-Students Council; Gavin Abner Pinto- President of Students’ Council, among others.
In her address, Dr Jennifer Lolita congratulated the college for celebrating Independence Day despite the pandemic. She also said that today’s youth is tomorrow’s future in the making of New India. She motivated the students to give their best to the nation. She also spoke about the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters and leaders to give us Independence.
Also speaking on the occasion, Harsha Paul enumerated the issues and concerns that the country has been facing and highlighted the significant role that the youth can play in addressing these concerns. He reminded the audience about the sacrifices made by several young freedom fighters and persuaded the youth to continue to preserve and practice freedom in its TRUE sense. He alluded to some of the significant clues from the previous addresses by the present and former Presidents on similar occasions which have an inspirational dimension for the youth of India. He invited all to continue the great heritage of peace and brotherhood in the country for a better future. (READ MORE OF HIS SPEECH BELOW)
Rev. Dr Praveen Martis, SJ, the Principal, in his presidential address highlighted the contribution of the Mahatma and all other freedom fighters in bringing freedom to our nation. He reminded the audience of the vivid memories of the midnight address of our first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nehru who posed a challenge to all Indians whether they had the courage to live and take forward the practice of the values of freedom. He reiterated the same pertinent question to the audience and advised all to reflect on the challenge. He recollected the great heritage of our civilization encapsulated in the life and mission of Mahatma Gandhi, values like peace and non-violence which are our great gifts to the world. He advised the youth to show solidarity with all without any distinctions and unite to take efforts to re-establish the great civilization values of India. (READ MORE OF HIS SPEECH BELOW)
The cadets of NCC- Army, Navy and Air Wings led by Cadet Manish of NCC Wing treated the audience with a parade with the strident March. The welcome address was delivered by Gavin Abner Pinto, while Ms Aparna Prashanth-Vice President of the Students Council expressed sentiments of gratitude to all who had been responsible for the success of the solemn event. Ms Lisha Pereira member of the Students Council compered the event efficiently. Melodious songs by the choir led by Dealle and team of St Aloysius College was a soothing treat for all. Directors of different blocks, Controller of Examination, Deans, Heads of departments, members of the faculty and students witnessed the solemn ceremony.
FULL SPEECH OF GUEST OF HONOUR HARSHA PAUL:
As I reflect on this day, my salutation goes to every martyr who sacrificed their life and every soldier who is guarding the borders from the hostile forces and to every farmer toiling to get the food for us. It wouldn’t be out of place to recollect the famous slogan “Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan” given by the second prime minister of Independent India Lal Bahadur Shastri. I also salute and greet every soul in the health sphere struggling to save lives, especially during this ravaging pandemic, all teachers going out of their ways to educate in the days of the new norm, every worker from white and blue-collared jobs rendering their duties, each and everyone who is in one way or another responsible to keep this country strong, healthy and clean.
Personally, today is a very special day for me and I cherish this day very much. Coincidentally, on this very date, last year, I got discharged from hospital after having a mild Covid-19 infection and to unfurl the flag this year is a great feeling which means a lot in my life. Once flying at high altitude on a clear and bright day with a view extending to the far horizon, my mind cogitated looking at the wonders of landscape thousands of feet below. Sunlight shining upon the pastures below, the pools coruscating and the effulgence of snaking streams amazed my mind and wondered about the creation of this land by God. The land where I reside and what we fondly call India, aka Hindustan / Bharath, our motherland. Rakesh Sharma, the first and the only Indian astronaut who went to space, on April 3rd in 1984, again, coincidentally, my birth date, quoted the verse “Sare Jahan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara” from the poem written by Muhammed Iqbal which no one can dispute.
The land where tradition and modernity conflate, art and science flourish, offers a myriad of worlds to explore and experience. An ancient country of sages and philosophers and a modern country with prospering software techies and exuberant millennials. The country was ruled by numerous dynasties and emperors who had left behind a panoply of tradition, culture, art, literature and architecture. The vibrancy and colours in the attire of people in different parts of the land bring forth the brilliance and radiance of the rainbow. Jawarharlal Nehru in his book “The discovery of India” brings out succinctly the diversity and heterogeneity of the nation. The country prides itself on its own rich and oldest language Sanskrit along with legions of other languages and countless dialects. The contribution of cypher to the world of mathematics and astronomy in the past have been reckoned by all over the globe. The board game, Chaturanga, popularly known as chess has been played from the times of yore. Yoga which has become a fad all over the world is again another contribution of India. The classical dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam and legions of folk dances and songs have their own charm and elegance and attract artists and singers from across the world.
The medical compendium the Sushruta Samhita by an ancient Indian physician and surgeon Sushruta and practices of Ayurveda are unique gifts to the world by this country. The land is the place of origin of two of the most popular religions- Buddhism and Jainism. A smorgasbord of delicacies and ambrosia across the breadth and width of the country could not be found anywhere in the world. The varied colours, shapes and fragrance of flowers make this land an abode of numerous gods and saints. Where else one finds the country where movies and cricket are newfound religions of both young and old, where cricket matches are watched with religious fervour and movie stars are worshipped as gods.
The country with the second most and largest young population has made rapid strides on many fronts. The country has made tremendous progress in food crops and milk production. Progress in space science and nuclear technology has made others look up and watch with awe and astonishment. The country has made great strides though, it still has its own share of challenges and hurdles to overcome. As verses from Robert Frost’s poem goes, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” holds true even to this day. Yes, indeed, we have to go miles before to make the dream of every Indian come true as Ravindranath Tagore lucidly had set forth in Gitanjali poem 35. “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”
Our motherland would be second to none and will be much stronger and richer when everyone joins, as the lyrics of the song “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, Bhane Sware Humara” echoes. Yes, I am an optimist as the lyrics in the song by Sonal Rawal says. “Hum Honge Kamyab Ek Din” Hope that “Ek Din/ Acha Din” wouldn’t be very far. As we enjoy and celebrate this independence, let us re-dedicate ourselves with the motto of ‘Swastathe” (healthy –mind and practices), “Swachathe” (clean-environment and governance), and “Sadrudathe” (rigid /strong economy and technology) commingling with justice, equality, fraternity and liberty as enshrined in the preamble of our constitution. I am sure that these seven mantras would make our country heaven on earth as the seven notes make empyrean music. May the hearts and minds fill with peace and love in every soul of my motherland and let every child shout in joy Jai Ho. Let the words of our anthem Jay hai, Jay hai …. be on the lips of every fellow citizen forever and ever. Finally, I conclude with the opening verse from Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s poem “Vande Mataram” -Mother, I bow to thee. Once again, I wish you all a happy and safe independence day. Jai Hind
FULL SPEECH OF PRINCIPAL OF ST ALOYSIUS COLLEGE REV DR PRAVEEN MARTIS SJ:
Today is an auspicious day for our country. Today we enter the 75th year of our independence. Today we re-dedicate ourselves to contribute to the progress and prosperity of our nation, to the welfare of all our people, to the unity and integrity of our country.
Today, we salute our beloved tricolour that represents our deepest emotions and aspirations, it represents the vibrancy and diversity of a truly multicultural country. We pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and all those freedom fighters because of whose efforts and sacrifices we secured our Independence. We remember all those whose hard work and efforts keep our flag flying high and keep our country on the road to progress. We pay tribute to the brave soldiers of our armed forces, farmers, teachers, scientists, workers and millions of our countrymen who are toiling tirelessly for the progress and prosperity of the nation.
As citizens of free India, we must reflect on the values and principles which were in the minds and hearts of those who fought and sacrificed for our freedom. They drew inspiration from the values nurtured in the country through millennia. Gandhiji’s thoughts and his life were truly an expression of the philosophy of our ancient civilization in which peace and harmony, non-violence and truth, human dignity and compassion were given great prominence. Are we now forgetting these principles? Are we overlooking them? These are eternal values, which have sustained our nation, our society and also each one of us as individuals.
In the early hours of the 15th of August 1947, when our nation had just become independent, our first Prime Minister, Mr Jawaharlal Nehru spoke to the nation and asked us all one important question on the very first day became a free country: “Are we brave and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?
Today, my fellow citizens, I stand here once again and ask you the same question. Are we ready to face the challenge of the future? Are we brave enough to do so, and wise enough, in doing so? Can we rediscover the ideas and ideals that shaped our freedom struggle, and use them to take our country forward into the future? Are we willing to show the courage and the wisdom that Pandithji wanted us to show in building a new India in a new world?
India is certainly on the march. Yet we have miles to go before we can truly say that we have accomplished our trust with destiny. 74 years ago, Pandit Ji told us that the two challenges before a free India were to end the ancient scourge of poverty, ignorance and disease and end the inequality of opportunity. India has marched a great distance forward in these 74 years, but the challenge of banishing poverty remains with us still. We are yet to banish hunger from our land. We are yet to eradicate illiteracy. We are yet to ensure that every Indian enjoys good health. I remember Gandhiji’s popular bhajan, where he uses the phrase, “Patitha Pavana” which means the upliftment of the last and the lost person in the society. That was his idea of Rama Rajya. We have really a long way to go! It is a time for all of us to introspect.
Tomorrow’s India will be built by the hard work of today. I call on all of you to contribute to making the future of the nation stronger and brighter. Let everyone understand their role and responsibility to achieve this. As I said earlier, every effort counts. Nation-building demands the ability to work diligently and patiently, where the reward is the growth of the nation rather than personal promotion. It requires unity of purpose and the ability to focus on issues that unite us. It requires a spirit of conciliation. This is possible when dialogue is chosen as the channel for communication. By listening to each other, respecting each other’s viewpoints, and understanding one another, we can address issues before us.
The human spirit has a tremendous capacity to reach new horizons. With faith in ourselves, faith in our capacity to work together and faith in success, we will continue our journey. We have the talent to create a great nation, and with our collective will and hard work, we will do so. And as we progress as our flag proudly flutters on this day we can with pride cite the lines of a well-known Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.”
The Constitution of India is the Supreme Law of India. It lays down the framework defining political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles and duties of citizens. Dr B R Ambedkar is the Chief Architect of the Indian Constitution. The Constitution declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens of justice, equality and liberty and endeavours to promote fraternity among them. On this day, as we cherish our accomplishments of the 74 years, let us also resolve to look at the next 25 years or next 75 years and rededicate ourselves to promote the great universal enshrined in our Constitution and work towards safeguarding the Constitution. That will be the greatest gift we can give to our motherland.
With these words, I once again wish all of you peace, prosperity and progress on the occasion of Independence Day. Let us all join together, hand in hand, to build a new India. Jai Hind!
I end this report with a special classical Independence Song ‘Teri Mitti’ flute rendition by Reuben Machado- a faculty at St Aloysius College Mangaluru- an original classical song by Arko, sung by B Praak and soulful lyrics by Manoj Muntashir: