New Delhi, Aug 27 (PTI) Calling for the creation of a stronger and self-reliant country as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said India's concept of self-reliance is not about being ultra-nationalist and protectionist, but to become a more significant partner in global welfare.
He also underlined the need to nurture entrepreneurial talent among the youngsters of the country to make India 'Aatmanirbhar' (self-reliant) in the times to come.
Naidu said the country must tap into the entrepreneurial talent and technological skill of every citizen and harness local resources to attain self-reliance and serve the humanity at large.
The vice president made these remarks while addressing a webinar on Acharya Vinoba Bhave's contribution to the dissemination of Gandhi's philosophy for social uplift and the Bhoodan movement.
Speaking of the timelessness of Gandhi's ideas, Naidu said he remains our beacon even today because he was an innovator who constantly experimented.
He said Gandhi had the courage to take up causes that were most challenging like untouchability, according to an official statement.
'We admire him for his sincerity, his honesty and his deep empathy for the people he was serving,' Naidu observed.
He said India's freedom struggle was not merely a political movement, but also a call for a national resurgence and socio-cultural awakening.
Naidu opined that empowerment of the masses was a key component of the freedom movement and said Gandhi wished for the country to stay united against the colonial rule, take great pride in its culture, language and rediscover its inherent strengths.
Noting that Gandhi showed civility even in disobedience, the vice president said he had internalised the ancient Indian ethos of 'share and care'.
Describing Bhave as an ideal disciple of Gandhi, Naidu said he believed that the essence of Indianness is a caring attitude and a spirit of sacrifice and service.
Speaking of Bhave's Bhoodan movement, he said much like Gandhi, Bhave brought about a change without coercion and violence, and demonstrated that positive, lasting changes are possible with people's active participation.
Referring to the long walk of about 70,000 km undertaken by Bhave over the course of 14 years, which resulted in the donation of 42 lakh acres of land for landless farmers, the vice president mentioned that Vedire Ram Chandra Reddy of Pochampalli was the first person to donate 100 acres of land in response to the appeal.
Naidu called for equitable opportunities for growth to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and region, and said people must essentially value individuals as individuals rather than as members of some social or economic group.
Underscoring that Bhave's Sarvodaya movement and Gramdan concept exemplified the Gandhian ideal of village reconstruction and rural uplift, the vice president said the belief in the goodness of human beings and that the rich will share their prosperity with the disadvantaged population were central to these initiatives.
'It was a cooperative system for socio-economic upliftment of the villages,' he explained.
Naidu was of the view that a fitting tribute to Bhave on his 125th birth anniversary this year would be to work in an integrated manner for the rural population, which is 60 per cent of the country's total population.
Referring to the COVID-19 health emergency, he said in these testing times, people have to come together, pool their efforts, not only to contain the spread of the virus but also to offer succour and solace, in a Gandhian way, to those who have been adversely affected by the lockdown.
'The human spirit finds its noblest expression in times of adversity like this,' the vice president said. PTI NAB RC