Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday recalled the significant historical moments that took place in the old Parliament building over the last 75 years.
Addressing a special five-day session of Parliament that began here on Monday the Prime Minister initiated the discussion in the lower house on the ‘Parliamentary journey of 75 years starting from Samvidhan Sabha – achievements, experiences, memories and learnings’. From tomorrow proceedings of the Parliament will be held in the new building.
The Prime Minister said it was an “emotional moment” to bid goodbye to the building that served as the Imperial Legislative Council before India’s independence and was recognised as the Parliament of India post-independence.
He pointed out that even though the decision to construct this building was made by foreign rulers, it was the hard work, dedication and money spent by Indians that went towards its development.
In the journey of 75 years, PM Modi said, this house has created the best of the conventions and traditions which has seen the contribution of all and witnessed by all.
“We might be shifting to the new building but this building will keep on inspiring the coming generation. As it is a golden chapter of the journey of Indian democracy”, he said.
Here are the key highlights from his speech
1. The PM spoke about G20 success as an achievement for India.
The Prime Minister said that the success of G20 is of 140 crore Indians and not of any particular individual or party. He underlined the success of more than 200 events in more than 60 places in India as a manifestation of the success of India’s diversity.
“India will always feel pride for the inclusion of the African Union in G20 during its presidency,” he said recalling the emotional moment of the inclusion.
Pointing out the negative tendencies of a few people to create doubt about the capabilities of India, the Prime Minister stated that a consensus was achieved for the G20 Declaration and a roadmap for the future was created here. Underlining that India’s G20 Presidency lasts till the final day of November, and the nation intends to utilize it to the fullest, the Prime Minister supported the Speaker’s resolution to conduct a P20 Summit (Parliamentary 20) under his chairship.
In his last speech in the old Parliament building PM Modi said, “It is a matter of pride for all that India has carved a place for itself as ‘Vishwa Mitra’ and the entire world is seeing a friend in India. The reasons for that are our ‘Sanskaars’ that we gathered from Vedas to Vivekanand. The Mantra of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas is uniting us to bring the world with us”
2. The PM remembered the addresses of all leaders from President Rajendra Prasad, APJ Abdul Kalam to Ramnath Kovind and Droupadi Murmu.
PM Modi He referred to the times of former Prime Ministers from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.
"The echoes of Pandit Nehru's 'At the stroke of the midnight...' in this House will keep inspiring us. In this House itself, Atal ji had said, "Sarkarein aayegi-jaayegi, partiyan banegi-bigdegi, lekin ye desh rehna chahiye. (Governments will come and go. Parties will be made and unmade. This country should survive, its democracy should survive). This echoes even to this day..." PM Modi said.
He also touched upon the contributions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Ram Manohar Lohia, Chandra Shekhar, Lal Krishna Advani and others who have enriched the discussions in the House and emboldened the voice of the common citizens.
The Prime Minister recalled moments of pain when the nation lost three Prime Ministers while still in office- Pandit Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi.
He recalled the dexterous handling of the house by the speakers despite many challenges. He said they created reference points in their decisions. He remembered that 17 Speakers including two women- from GV Mavlankar to Sumitra Mahajan to Om Birla everyone contributed in their way, taking everyone along. The Prime Minister also acknowledged the contribution of the staff of the Parliament.
3. PM Modi recollected his personal journey from the platform of a railway station to Parliament
The Prime Minister recalled the "emotional moment" when, as the first-time MP, he came to Parliament and paid his obeisance by bowing to the building.
“It is the power of the democracy of India that a poor child who used to earn livelihood on a railway station reached Parliament. I never imagined that the nation would give me this much love, respect and blessings,” he said.
".When I first entered this building (Parliament) as an MP, I bowed down and honoured the temple of democracy. It was an emotional moment for me. I could have never imagined that a child belonging to a poor family, living on the railway platform would ever be able to enter the Parliament. I never imagined that I would get so much love from people," he said.
4. Prime Minister Modi shared various records made in the Parliament
Giving a rough estimation, the Prime Minister informed that more than 7500 public representatives have served in both Houses where the number of women representatives is approximately 600. He informed that Indrajit Gupta has served for almost 43 years in this House, and Shafiqur Rahman had served at the age of 93 years. He also mentioned Chandrani Murmu was elected to the House at the age of 25.
5. The PM said echoes of representatives turned Parliament into a pilgrimage
“Parliament is where Bhagat Singh and Battukeshwar Dutt had created panic among the British with their valour and courage”, PM said in his speech.
Recalling the scepticism during the initial years of the Independence about the viability of the new nation, the Prime Minister said that it is the strength of the Parliament that all the doubts proved wrong.
Throwing light on the ritual of Naad Brahma when a place turns to pilgrimage owing to the constant incantations in its vicinity, the Prime Minister said that the echoes of the 7500 representatives have turned the Parliament into a pilgrimage even if discussions cease here.
6. PM Modi recalled the work of Babasaheb Ambedkar and Syama Prasad Mukherjee
Recalling the first Council of Ministers, the prime minister remembered how BR Ambedkar included best practices from all over the world. He also mentioned the brilliant water policy made by Babasaheb in the Nehru Cabinet. The Prime Minister mentioned the emphasis of Ambedkar over industrialization for the empowerment of Dalits and how Syama Prasad Mukherjee brought the first Industrial Policy as the first Industry Minister.
7. The Prime Minister spoke about 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat' and shared historic occasions witnessed in the parliament from the Green Revolution to Cash for Votes and historic decisions like OROP, GST and the scrapping of Article 370.
"The House will always say proudly that (abrogation of) Article 370 became possible due to it. GST was also passed here. One Rank One Pension was witnessed by this House. 10 per cent reservation for the Economically Weaker Section was successfully allowed the country for the first time without any dispute," Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said that it was in the Parliament building that Lal Bahadur Shastri emboldened the spirits of the Indian soldiers during the war of 1965. He also touched upon the foundations of the Green Revolution which was laid down by Shastri. PM Modi highlighted that the war for Bangladesh’s independence was also a result of the house under the leadership of Indira Gandhi. He also touched upon the attack on democracy during the emergency and the reemergence of the power of the people after the emergency was lifted.
The Prime Minister mentioned the formation of the Ministry of Rural Development under the leadership of former PM Charan Singh. “The reduction of the voting age from 21 to 18 also took place in this house”, the Prime Minister asserted. He recalled the nation adopting new economic policies and measures under the leadership of PV Narasimha Rao at a time when the country was reeling under economic distress. He also spoke about ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’, under PM Vajpayee and the formation of the Tribal AffairsMinistry and the advent of the nuclear age under his aegis.
8. In his speech, Prime Minister Modi recounted various new states created in the parliament
He highlighted the creation of three new states during Vajpayee's leadership including Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand and lamented the attempts to usurp power in the creation of Telangana. He also pointed out that there were no celebrations in either state as the bifurcation was carried out with malicious intent.
9. The PM said that the 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament was an attack on the soul of India.
Prime Minister said that the attack on the building was an attack on the Mother of Democracy itself. “It was an attack on the soul of India”, he said. He acknowledged the contributions of those who stood between the terrorists and the House to protect its members and paid tributes to bravehearts who lost their lives in the attack.
10. In his speech, the Prime Minister said that the shifting of the Parliament to the new building is a “link of the past with the future”
The Prime Minister underlined that the present members of the House are extremely lucky as they get the opportunity to become a link of the past with the future as he mentioned bidding farewell to the old building tomorrow.
“Today’s occasion is a moment of pride for the 7500 representatives who have derived inspiration from within the walls of the Parliament”, PM Modi said.
PM Modi applauded the contribution of unsung contributors like workers, security persons, journalists and others who have dedicated their lives to reporting the proceedings of the Parliament. The Prime Minister said that bidding farewell to the Old Parliament will be an even tougher task for them as they have been connected with the establishment more than its members.
The Prime Minister concluded his address by expressing confidence that the members will move to the new building with great zeal and enthusiasm.