Unity of India… Happy Republic Day to all my fellow Indians..

The hands of men and women, old and young, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, people belonging to backward classes indeed, of everybody who is living in India, should be strengthened. They should have the courage and they should have the strength, which will take this country along the road of development. All of us should work hard. It is not only a question of manual labour; it also concerns the mind. Let new ideas be brought in from different sources, so that in this scientific age India could progress.

Whenever I happen to meet scientists I have only one message for them; “Do something which is of use to the whole of the country.” But if along with this a scientifictemper is not cultivated, if we remain prisoners of superstitions, if we continue to quarrel among ourselves, if we tolerate communalism and do not fight against it, if we let casteism or regionalism develop and grow or if we start quarrelling in the name of language, how will we be able to preserve the unity of India?. If unity is not preserved, how will we protect our independence? Do not think that if we have won freedom once, we will be able to preserve it for all time to come. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. We have to think about it and do something about it every day.  We have to preserve that freedom for our poorer masses, particularly for the people who are backward and are living in backward areas. We should make freedom a reality for them.

— Excerpts from Smt. Indira Gandhi’s last speech at Bhubaneswar just a day prior to her assassination in 1984.

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