Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday hoisted the national flag on 73rd Independence Day of the nation and conveyed his message on celebrating freedom. Mukherjee who has been conferred with the highest civilian award of the country, 'Bharat Ratna' recently said that he unfurled the Tricolour flag wearing his medal proudly.
Taking to Twitter, the former president wrote that each citizen must think of freedom, not as a right to do as we please but as an opportunity to do what is right. He posted pictures of hoisting the national flag.
President of India Ram Nath Kovind conferred the highest civilian award to three distinguished individuals who had contributed immensely to the nation. Late social activist Nanaji Deshmukh, late playback singer Bhupen Hazarika and former President of India Pranab Mukherjee have conferred the honour on August 8.
Former President Pranab Mukherjee was also conferred with the nation's highest honour, as he proudly marched his way to President Kovind to receive the honour and the medal. He then shook hands with Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP Working President JP Nadda, senior BJP leader LK Advani and other dignitaries seated among the audience. expressing his pride after achieving such a feat, former president Mukherjee said that he hoisted the falg wearing his miniature medallion.
The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Instituted in 1954, the award is conferred "in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order", without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science, and public services, but the government expanded the criteria to include "any field of human endeavour" in December 2011. The recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President, with a maximum of three nominees being awarded per year. Recipients receive a Sanad signed by the President and a peepal-leaf–shaped medallion; there is no monetary grant associated with the award. Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence.
After hoisting the National flag at the Red Fort, Prime Minister Modi addressed the nation, beginning his speech by paying tribute to the martyrs and those who fought for the freedom of the nation, and then gave a 10-week report card of his new government, which he said has taken various steps in different spheres, laying particular emphasis on the Triple Talaq law and the abrogation of Article 370. He then spoke on India's fight against terror and how India is playing an important role to fight those exporting terror around the region. The Prime Minister also emphasized the importance of water conservation and sent a strong message for the farmers of the country.