Thursday, December 9, 2021

16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the inaugural address at the 16th Pravasi Bharitya Divas 2021 virtually. Prime Minister extended his best wishes to all for 2021! Mr. Modi said, today, the Internet might have connected the Indian Diaspora from every nook and corner of the world, but we all are attached to Mother Bharati and towards each other with affection.

He said, there is a tradition to honour all the colleagues who have enhanced the pride of Mother Bharati all over the world with the “Pravasi Bharatiya Samman” every year. About 240 dignitaries spread over 60 different countries have been honoured since the journey, which began under the guidance of Bharat Ratna late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Similarly, thousands of colleagues from all over the world have participated in the Bharat Ko Janiye (Know India) Quiz competition. These numbers show that they may be away from the roots, but the new generation’s attachment is growing as much. The 15 winners of this quiz competition were also present in the virtual event.

Prime Minister congratulated and extended his best wishes to all the winners. He said, all of them deserve accolades for taking part in the quiz competition. He requested all the participants of this quiz competition that they should try to connect 10 more people when the next quiz competition is held. Mr. Modi observed that technology is the easiest way to awaken the curiosity of the new generation to know India so that they can create an identity of India in the world. He urged the diaspora to take this idea forward.

Prime Minister said, the past year has been a year of many challenges for all of us. But amidst these challenges, the way our Indian Diaspora has worked and discharged its duty around the world is a matter of pride for India as well. This is our tradition and these are the custom of this land. There is a strong trust in Indian-origin colleagues all over the world for social and political leadership from here.

The Chief Guest of the event was the President of Suriname Mr. Chandrika Parasad Santokhi. He is a shining example of the spirit of service. Prime Minister Modi said the President of Suriname’s affection for India have touched the hearts of all of us. Mr. Modi said Indians will also have the opportunity to accord a grand welcome to the President of Suriname in India. In the past year, overseas Indians have further strengthened their identity in every sphere.

Addressing the virtual conference in Bhojpuri dialect, the Suriname President Mr. Santoki said, Suriname is prepared to take the first step in doing so by ending visa permits for visitors from India to Suriname. He added that the Suriname diaspora is an integral part of India’s soft power and vice versa India was also an important part of Suriname’s soft power. He said that the free movement between the two nations without the hassles of visa issuance would enable prosperity in key areas of opportunities such as education, information technology, and science. The importance of the Indian diaspora can and must be one of the mutual benefits. If we approach the opportunities in this way, we can achieve great things for our countries. President Santokhi said, in this interconnected world we all live in, we value international relationships based on respect and mutual benefits.

President Ram Nath Kovind delivering the valedictory address said, our Diaspora is our face to the world, and champions India’s cause on the global stage. It has always come to India’s aid, whether it is for advocacy regarding international issues of concern to India, or contributing to the Indian economy by way of investments and remittances. The President said that it was on this very day in the year 1915, that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi Bharatiya, returned to India to give a much wider base to our social reforms and freedom movement. During the next decades, Bapuji changed India in many fundamental ways. Before that, during his two decades of stay abroad, Bapu had identified the basic principles underlying the approach India should adopt for its growth and development. The President said that the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is also an occasion to recall Gandhiji’s ideals for individual and collective life. Gandhiji’s emphasis on Indian-ness, nonviolence, ethics, simplicity and sustainable development remain our guiding principles, he added. President Kovind also conferred the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards to 30 individuals and organisations.

Script: Kaushik Roy, AIR: News Analyst

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