As India celebrates 75 years of its Independence, it is also time to remember the Father of our Constitution, Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, who gave wings to the dreams and aspirations of the weaker and poorer sections of our society. Though governments have contributed towards nation-building since Independence, it is the Narendra Modi Government which has realised the unfulfilled dreams of Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Today is also the Birthday of our beloved Prime Minister with whom I have had a very long and memorable association. I have seen him work as the organisational man, as Chief Minister and now as Prime Minister. It is the zeal of Modi ji and his monumental work for the upliftment of the downtrodden and weaker sections of our society; his concern for the Dalits, Adivasis and women, which has impressed me the most. Modi ji, as a true disciple of Babasaheb, has been striving hard to make India an egalitarian society.
The influence of Babasaheb Ambedkar on Modi ji is clearly visible in all his actions, his programmes and policies. From being an organisational man, to the Chief Minister and now as the Prime Minister, Modi ji has always followed the path shown by Babasaheb. In the form of “Panchteerth”, Modi ji has given to the nation and to the world a gift to cherish for life. It is Modi ji who not only decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of Babasaheb as “SamrastaDiwas” but also gave India its “Constitution Day” on November 26. It was on the initiative of Prime Minister Modi that the United Nations celebrated the 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb.
Two important actions of the Narendra Modi Government which realise the unfulfilled missions of Babasaheb Ambedkar ji are the abolition of Article 370 and the making of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Despite strong objections of Ambedkar ji, Article 370 became part of our Constitution which stalled integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India. It is due to strong commitment and willpower of Modi ji that Article 370 was abrogated thus leading to unification of Jammu and Kashmir with India.
Similarly, Prime Minister Modi has been working on mission mode to make a strong, self-reliant India. Ambedkar ji knew that only “Atmanirbhar Bharat” can make India a developed nation. Previous governments lacked the will and commitment to take India on the path of self-reliance. It is Modi ji who started this course correction and showcased to the world the prowess of India. Today the world acknowledges our strength.
As President whenever I used to interact with Prime Minister Modi on social issues and governance, it is deep-rooted corruption in our system that used to worry him the most. He used to say that it is the poor people who suffer the most from this. In the past eight years we have seen Modi ji waging a decisive battle against corruption and ensuring that the fruits of all the government schemes reach the poorest of the poor. Today beneficiaries of government schemes get money directly transferred into their accounts. All the schemes of the Narendra Modi Government reflect compassion for the poorest of the poor.
Another area of deep concern for Modi ji is the control of our democratic system by dynasty politics. He has always been vocal about how dynasty politics has been usurping the rights of genuine and hardworking political workers. First as the organisational man, later as the Chief Minister and now as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has always promoted leaders and workers based on merit. The war which Modi ji has waged against the dynasty politics has already started to show its impact. Merit-based politics, and not DNA-based, will make our democracy more vibrant and stronger.
Padma Awards is one area which signifies the Modi style of governance. From being an award which looked like “extraneous consideration” for the affluent class, Padma awards have found its lost connection with the “aam admi”. These awards are now specifically dedicated to those who are rooted “down to earth”.
Here I would also like to talk about two of the important initiatives of the Narendra Modi government which has written a new chapter of growth and development in the most backward areas and impacted lives of those living at the bottom of the pyramid – the Aspirational District Programme and the Adarsh Gram Yojna. It is the unique quality of outside-the-box thinking of Modi ji, his impeccable planning and flawless execution that has brought tangible changes in the lives of the poorest of the poor. There are several social welfare schemes which are great examples of this, a shining example of this is the PradhanmantriGareeb Kalyan Anna Yojna, the world’s largest free ration scheme which benefited over 80 crore people as Indians valiantly fought Corona pandemic.
I have seen very closely how Prime Minister Modi led from the front India’s fight against the deadly virus. It was due to his hand-holding and encouragement that our scientists and doctors succeeded in developing not one but two ‘Made In India’ vaccines which not only gave us safety cover but also took care of several other nations. The Prime Minister also undertook the mammoth task of vaccinating over 100 crore Indians when the pandemic was at its peak, thus kickstarting the world’s largest and fastest vaccination programme. When the Covid paralysed developed countries, Prime Minister Modi strengthened and expanded our health infrastructure. Through his timely policy initiatives, Modi ji also ensured that our economic growth is not stifled.
Last 8 years under Prime Minister Modi have been remarkable. Modi ji draws inspiration from several leaders, but the imprint of Babasaheb Ambedkar on his style of governance is omnipresent. I see Modi ji as the true follower of Bharat Ratna Ambedkar ji who used to say that Indianness is our true identity, and to build a strong nation we all have to rise above caste, creed and religion. Following the footsteps of Ambedkar ji, our Prime Minister has made “Nation First” his motto, while good governance, social cohesiveness and discipline are the hallmarks of his government.
The writer is former President of India