Outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the nation on Sunday and expressed his gratitude to all the countrymen and public representatives for electing him to the office of President five years ago.
"Five years ago, I was elected as the President through your elected people's representatives. My term as the President is finishing today. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you and your public representatives," Kovind said.
Kovind, on the eve of demitting his office, also praised India's democratic system. "Ram Nath Kovind, who grew up in a very ordinary family of Paraunkh village of Kanpur Dehat district, is addressing all of you countrymen today, for this, I salute the power of the vibrant democratic system of our country," he said.
He said that visiting his native village and touching the feet of elderly teachers in his Kanpur school will always be among the most memorable moments of his life.
"Staying connected to our roots is the speciality of Indian culture. I would request the younger generation to continue this tradition of being associated with their village or town and their schools and teachers," Kovind said.
Kovind said that he received full cooperation, support and blessing from all sections of society during his tenure. He also cherished the occasions when he had the opportunity to meet brave jawans, armed forces, paramilitary forces and police.
"I have been inspired and energised by my interactions with citizens, during my visits across the country. Farmers and workers from small villages, teachers shaping young minds, artists enriching our legacy, scholars investigating various facets of our country, business people crating wealth for nation, doctors and nurses serving the people, scientists and engineers engineers engaged in nation building, judges and advocates contributing to the justice delivery system to the country, civil servants who run the administration smoothly, social workers actively connecting every social segment with development, preachers and masters of all sections who maintain the flow of spirituality in society, you have continuously helped me discharge my duties. In short, i received the support and blessing from all sections of society," he said.
Kovind said that the heroic stories of those who fought for the country's independence are being remembered today. "There were many uprisings across the country in the 19th century. The names of many of the heroes who brought hopes of a new dawn have long been forgotten. Contributions of some of them have come to be appreciated only in recent times."
"From Tilak and Gokhale to Bhagat Singh and Netaji, from Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee to Sarojini Naidu and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay – nowhere in the history of humankind have so many great minds come together for a common cause," he said.
Emphasising that the country is getting equipped to make the 21st century "the century of India", Kovind highlighted the importance of healthcare and education and said these, along with economic reforms, would enable citizens to pursue happiness by discovering their potential.
In his last televised address to the nation, Kovind said, "The pandemic has underlined the need to further improve the public healthcare infrastructure. I am glad that the government has accorded top priority to this task.
"Once education and healthcare are in place, economic reforms will let citizens find the best course for their lives, he said, adding "I firmly believe that our country is getting equipped to make the 21st century, the century of India".
He said the National Education Policy will go a long way in making it possible for young Indians to connect with their heritage and also find their feet in the 21st century.
Concluding his farewell speech, Kovind again expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all countrymen and wished the best for everyone's future.
Droupadi Murmu was elected to be the next President of India on Thursday after she comprehensively defeated opposition's presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha. She will take oath at the Central Hall of Parliament on Monday, July 25.