Script by Manish Anand, Senior Special Correspondent, The New Indian Express
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed India’s Covid vaccination drive, saying it’s exemplary for the world. In 15 days, India has vaccinated over three million frontline workers, which in speed is ahead of the US and the UK. Also, India is showing global leadership in the vaccination drive by sharing the much sought after Covid-19 vaccines with the neighbourhood and other countries.
A year has gone by since India reported the first Covid-19 case and the journey since then has been much more eventful. Prime Minister Modi understandably stressed India’s collective response to mitigate the outbreak of the pandemic. That was reflected in a number of listeners of the radio programme writing to share their pride in India sharing the ‘Made in India’ vaccines with the other countries.
While the European countries are battling the second wave of the pandemic, there’s a sense of relief in India with the Covid-19 graph flattening. In this backdrop, India has acted with credible speed by vaccinating over three million Corona Warriors. PM Modi was forthright in saying that an advanced country such as America took 18 days and Britain 36 days took to achieve the same feat.
PM Modi noted that the Brazilian President J Bolsonaro in his tweet had thanked the people of India for the vaccines. The tweet had carried a Ramayana inspired drawing, depicting Lord Hanuman flying with the life-saving vaccines.
That people in Brazil can relate to episodes of Ramayana speaks volumes of India’s cultural connect with the global community. In this context, PM Modi shared that he has been getting similar messages from Presidents and Prime Ministers of different countries of the world.
True, the global praise for India’s sharing of the vaccines with other countries continues to pour. The State Department of the US, the World Health Organization and others have rightly hailed the Indian gesture.
The two vaccines from India, Covishield and Covaxin, are much in demand worldwide. They have been hailed by the scientific community for being effective against the novel coronavirus. More reassuring is the fact that more vaccines are in the pipeline, which may strengthen the global fight back against the pandemic.
PM Modi rightly stressed that India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign deservingly gains much credence. The world indeed counts on Indian vaccine and medicine capabilities in such an hour of a global health emergency.
Culture indeed brings India much closer to the far off countries. The ancient tradition of Yoga has for years been the torchbearer of the Indian culture. The PM Modi in this context told his listeners of the extent of the global acceptance for Yoga. PM Modi informed that the Chilean Congress has passed a proposal to declare 4th of November as National Yoga Day. The day, the PM said, is in tribute to José Rafael Estrada setting up the first Yoga institution in Chile. Sharing another anecdote to stress India’s cultural connection with Chile, PM Modi said that the Vice President of the Chilean Senate is Rabindranath Quinteros, the name being inspired by India’s icon and the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
This year India will launch ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Independence. PM Modi in the radio programme read out a few letters of the listeners who wrote about their experiences of visiting historical places. The PM Modi rightly said that the freedom struggle was fought with full might in all parts of the country. Innumerable heroes gave up their lives in their pursuit of freedom.
Therefore, the PM Modi called upon the young writers to write about the saga of the struggles of the freedom fighters to keep their memories alive. The government has unveiled an initiative for young writers. PM Modi stated that the initiative will yield a rich wealth of literature from writers who have studied Indian heritage and culture deeply. Such writers will be called thought leaders. This indeed is an initiative to record the local icons who fought for Independence of the country.
The spirit to recognize the historical icons is indeed in line with the vision behind selecting the Padma awardees. The PM Modi in this context rightly called upon the listeners to read about the Padma awardees of this year, who have been selflessly working for the betterment of the society.