New Delhi: Former President Pranab Mukherjee, on Saturday expressed gratitude on being conferred with Bharat Ratna, saying “I’ve received much more from the people and from this country than I have given to it”.
“I would like to express my deep gratitude to the people of this country… I always say it, and I would like to repeat it, that in my public life I’ve received much more from the people and from this country than I have given to it,” Mukherjee told media here.
“At the same time, with all humility, I accept this honour. I have conveyed my appreciation by talking to the President of the Republic. I also convey my deepest gratitude to the people of this country,” he added.
The former President also wished the nation on the occasion of 70th Republic Day.
“I convey Happy 70th Republic Day to all. 70 years ago, we began a new yearning. And today we have covered a long distance from where we started. India has always celebrated diversity, enjoyed plurality and one unique image of India which inspires all of us – a huge multitude of people, more than 1.3 billion occupying a land mass of 3.3 million square -kilometres, using in their daily life 122 languages and 1600 dialects practising seven major religion in their daily life belonging to three ethnic identities – Dravidians, Caucasians and Mongolites – yet under one Constitution,” Mukherjee said.
“This uniqueness is possible because of the Constitution we adopted. That provides the glue which keeps all these different groups of people together. Today, we can take the re-dedication to pursue our path of Constitutionalism which is a sacred text for all of us and which has promised not only to give an instrument for administration but an instrument to make the peaceful socio-economic transformation,” he added.
The 83-year-old served as President from 2012 to 2017.
Mukherjee’s political career spanned about five decades, during which he held various key posts in the Congress as well as in the governments led by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh.
Along with Mukherjee, late legendary singer Bhupen Hazarika and late social activist Nanaji were also awarded Bharat Ratna.