The President of India customarily delivers an address to the nation on the eve of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and besides extolling the virtues of the father of the nation, he also spoke on the importance of a cleaner India, bringing the spotlight back on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet scheme -- the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
Read the full unedited statement by Mukherjee, delivered on Saturday, October 1, right here:
Gandhi Jayanthi is an occasion when we remember the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhiji, who continues to inspire millions of people across the world.
Gandhiji's ideals of non-violence, freedom, equality and religious tolerance have eternal value. Gandhiji taught us the value of harmonious co-existence and mutual respect. He displayed a rare constellation of abilities and showed how individuals can advance social and political change. He had an exemplary passion for justice and an indefatigable spirit of service to mankind. The hallmark of his personality was austerity and transparency. Gandhiji believed that cleanliness was next to godliness.
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, let us imbibe wisdom from Gandhiji's thoughts and actions to address the challenges that confront our nation. Let us ensure that Gandhiji's views on truth, morality and ethics remain integral to India's national consciousness. Let us make concerted efforts to realize the dream of a 'Swachh' and 'Samarth' Bharat. Let us pay tribute to the father of our nation by keeping alive in our hearts and minds at all times the principles of tolerance and non-violence.