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Statement by External Affairs Minister on the launch of 'India for Humanity'

October 09, 2018

Namaskar and a very Good Morning,
Padma Bhushan Shri DR Mehta, the Chief Patron and founder of
Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti,
Ambassador Satish Mehta,
Secretary Tirumurti,
Additional Secretary Gitesh Sarma,
Additional Secretary Dinkar Asthana,
Excellencies,
Members of the Diplomatic Core,
Friends from Media,
Distinguished guests,
My brothers and Sisters


I am delighted to participate in the official launch ceremony of ‘India for Humanity’ on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Today the Ministry of External Affairs, in partnership with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti better known by its trademark ‘Jaipur Foot’, launches this year-long initiative to reach those around the world, and transform their lives.

It was the great Indian philosopher and thinker Swami Vivekananda who said and I quote:

"The land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness - it is India.”

It is therefore no surprise that such a wonderful initiative as this should emanate from India but is focused on all humanity.

You are all aware of the yeoman service to humanity being rendered by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti.

I may add that it is the largest organization in the world for the fitment of artificial limbs, and more so, it provides its services completely free of charge. Its iconic Jaipur Foot costs a fraction of what similar products cost produced by leading multinationals making artificial limbs, and is also much lighter than all others.

In fact, the United Nations organized a special Conference and an Exhibition to commemorate 50 years of Jaipur Foot at its headquarters in New York last May.

I take this opportunity to laud Shri D R Mehta for his untiring efforts, his unbounded passion and his single-minded determination to reach this valuable gift to all parts of the globe. We will partner him in this quest.

Excellencies,

I myself inaugurated one of the camps recently in Vietnam and the greatest gift I received was the sheer happiness visible on the face of the child, who suddenly realised that she could walk.

Friends,

Among the seven sins published by Mahatma Gandhi in his weekly Young India in 1925, one of the seven sins was"Science without Humanity”. And here Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti has proved to the world that when science is combined with humanity, you can produce something truly compassionate, which will transform the lives of the ordinary human being in any part of the world.

Mahatma Gandhi’s life is an inspiration for all. He led the world in its struggle for freedom from colonization, slavery, poverty, discrimination and above all, from human failings.

Mahatma Gandhi’s values of humanism were themselves inspired by the spiritual ethos of ancient India emanating from the deep wisdom of our scriptures as well as other great teachings.

It was Mahatma Gandhi who said (I quote):

"I am endeavouring to see God through service of humanity; for I know that God is neither in heaven, nor down below, but in everyone.”

It was this service of humanity that dominated his life and motivated him to take up different causes in his life – political freedom of India being only one of them.

This message was also evident in his favourite Bhajan: ‘vaishnava jana to, tene kahiye je peed paraayi jaane re’, which broadly means "a virtuous man is one who understands the pain of others”. With the launch of India for Humanity, we seek to celebrate the humanist values espoused by him – compassion and inclusiveness of every human being in society and service of Mankind.

As he was to say "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Friends,

Foreign policy is not merely about fostering better relations between countries. It is also about sharing what we have with others. It is about reaching out to people in other countries to see whether we can make a difference to their lives. It is about empowering our peoples lives.

It is about coming together to collectively find solutions to problems that plague our world. It is important not to forget that behind every policy we make, behind every step we take and behind every initiative we launch, there is a human being at the end who will and should stand to benefit.

Since our government took charge, we have tried to inject, inter alia a sense of caring, personal touch and compassion in our foreign policy by reaching out to stakeholders both in India and abroad, especially those who may have otherwise had difficulty to get themselves heard and their needs addressed.

Be it an Indian woman deserted by her spouse abroad or a foreigner urgently needing a visa to get medical treatment in India or an Indian citizen who has suddenly realized that his passport has to be renewed immediately.

My Ministry has spared no efforts in the evacuation of Indian citizens from crisis spots, and in this, we did not limit ourselves to just Indian nationals, but extend our hands to help people of all nationalities.

It is in this spirit that we launch this wonderful initiative India for Humanity. This initiative will touch the lives of thousands of people who are in need of such assistance and will span over one year covering several countries.

These camps will be initially held in 12 countries identified through our Missions with financial support of Govt of India. The larger aim is to provide for the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of the differently-abled around the world by helping them regain their mobility and dignity to become self-respecting and productive members of society.

We stand open to extending the initiative to more countries. As Nelson Mandela said (I quote):

"Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

India for Humanity will provide that hope for the future.

My brothers and sisters,

I invite you and your respective countries to participate in this programme and make it a success. Let us spread the message of Mahatma Gandhi through this partnership. Let us strive to make this world more inclusive for those who are less fortunate.

Let us fight misery and dependency through this small step for humanity. Let us empower our brethren, not for charity, but to give them strength and hope to stand on their own feet and earn a life of dignity with their own hands.

I would like to thank everyone present here for your support and encouragement for the initiatives of the Government of India and Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, and to pay tribute to the memory of the Mahatma. Undoubtedly, the future of our planet depends on mutual understanding and cooperation for world peace and development.

On this occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, what can be a more befitting tribute to the visionary leader, whose life itself is a message in peace, humanity and compassion! I would like to end with what the great Nobel Laurate Rabindranath Tagore said once:

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”


Thank You

New Delhi
October 09, 2018

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