Australia: President Ram Nath Kovind Finds Similarity Between 'Bharat Mata' and 'Parramatta'
President Ram Nath Kovind (Photo Credits: PTI)

Parramatta, November 22: Loud slogans of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' echoed in Parramatta as President Ram Nath Kovind commenced his speech at the ceremony to mark unveiling of Mahatma Gandhi's statue on Thursday. "You welcomed me with chants of Bharat Mata ki Jai. I find a lot of similarities between Parramatta and Bharat Mata, so will you join me in chanting the same," said the President. Soon the air was filled with a chorus of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' slogans as the energetic crowd repeated after President Kovind, followed by chants of 'Vande Matram'.

President Kovind, who unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the elaborative and colourful ceremony, threw light on Gandhi Ji's peaceful, bloodless revolutions and spoke about the growing bilateral relations between Canberra and New Delhi. "Mahatma Gandhi belongs not just to India, but to the entire world. His universal teachings have a special resonance in all corners. In these times of strife, his powerful message of non-violence and peaceful co-existence stands all the more relevant. His favourite bhajan or song " Vaishnava Jan To TeneKahiye" the essence of which is compassion, kindness and goodness for others, for once and for always, without letting pride enter one's mind. This captures the inner voice of the Mahatma," he said. India, Australia Ink 5 Pacts as President Ram Nath Kovind Meets PM Scott Morrison.

He thanked singer Heather Lee for giving her voice to the song as a tribute to India's Father of the Nation. Many others, across the five continents, have also paid a similar tribute to his thought and legacy, the President added. "Gandhiji and the Australian society strike a common cord. He, as you do, had the deepest regard and respect for multi-cultural ethos. He said and I quote - "I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible." unquote. As a country which is home to people from every part of the world, Mahatma Gandhi's legacy could not be more relevant to its values and ethos," he explained.

President Kovind stated that Gandhi Ji's statue in Paramatta symbolizes the historic bond between the two nations. "The statue to be unveiled today on the initiative of Paramatta City Council also symbolizes the historic bond that ties our nations together. As the world's largest democracy and as a country that celebrates its diversity and openness, we take immense pride in our relations with Australia. The vibrant link at the people-to-people level adds vigor and vitality to this relationship. I am optimistic that our two countries, which share so much in common, can achieve so much more together," President said.

Interestingly, scores of Indians, belonging to the different states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab etc, had come to see a glimpse of President Kovind and other Indian dignitaries. Speaking to ANI, Dr Anjali Jain who belongs to Maharashtra, stated that she wants "India and Australia to continue to have good relations" and added that "she is lucky to witness the ceremony".

Another Indian, named Anshuman, stated that every Indian residing here is proud that the Indian President has visited Australia to pay homage to Gandhi Ji.

While addressing the event, the President Kovind thanked the attendees for taking out time from their busy schedule for attending Mahatma Gandhi statue unveiling ceremony. "On this special occasion, I am especially gratified by the presence of a large number of Indian diaspora members. They serve as a living bridge between their new home and the land of their ancestors.  andhiji himself was a "pravasi" or an ex-patriate. He lived in South Africa for 21 years before he returned to India and went on to change the course of our history. I am happy to note the tremendous contribution made by hundreds of thousands of qualified, hard-working, diligent and enterprising Indian Diaspora members in the nation making of this beautiful country. I convey to them and to all Australians good wishes and love from the people of India," he stated.

In his concluding remark, President Ram Nath Kovind said, "May we all resolve today to draw inspiration from the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and work for the lasting benefit of humanity."