The sense of oneness pervading our country, from one part of the country to the other, to be re-emphasized in the context of the heated controversy we have had on the question of the re-organisation of states. We should not think that our unity is a matter of course and it need not be thought of or cared for. It should also not to imagine that it is capable of bearing all kinds of strains to which it may be exposed. The fact is that our unity, although very ancient and well rooted, needs to be nurtured and strengthened, at least at the present moment. We know that although our cultural unity is ages old, it failed to give us political unity, and we succumbed to foreign invasions times without number. Fortunately, now we have attained political unity also. Under the circumstances, it will be easier for us to reinforce and preserve our cultural and political unity. But politics plays havoc occasionally and it is necessary to beware of it.
Let us not, therefore, imaging that this political unity does not require our careful attention from day to day. Imagine, what would be our state if this political unity were to be lost? As it is, India is the second biggest nation in the world. With the exception of China; there is no other country which has got such a large population and is governed by one constitution and ruled by one set of ministers. I do not think there has been another instance of an election in which something like 180 millions people were enfranchised. A second general election will be coming during the next few months. In this age numbers count more than anything else. India, with more than 360 million people, can play a great part in the world today. But imagine what would happen if we were again to be separated, one from the other, and instead of having one India we had a number of independent states. It is necessary that today we, who are 360 million people stand united as one man. Unity does not mean dull uniformity. A distinctive feature of our nation is unity within diversity. Here in these parts woman are wearing jewels. Each little bit of stone that is there has its own value and its own position, and yet the whole jewels are quite different from the individual stones. As a whole piece of jewelry, it is not only very valuable but much more beautiful. India is like such a piece of jewelry with all its variety, let us not break any of the stones which constitute the whole piece of jewelry. Each one of the stones must be preserved in its place, in all its glory, in all its beauty and in all its splendor. Then alone will the jewelry shine at its best.
There is no occasion for undesirable rivalries. We should all help each other in a spirit of co-operation and good will. I know that occasionally there are differences. That cannot be avoided. But we should try to keep them within bounds. They should not be permitted to destiny the fundamental unity of the country. Mahatma Gandhi used to tell us; “Be prepared always to give, not to take”. This is true not only of individuals but also of groups and communities. If every group thinks of the other, there will be no group left un thought of the trouble arises because instead of caring for others we thing of our own particular group. The result is that the group alone tries to safe guard its interest and no outsider bothers about it. If each group were to think of others and not of itself. This will make a difference. It is therefore necessary in the interests of the country that we think of the nation as a whole and not of narrow groups within it. This is all the more necessary in the present context when certain regrettable incidents have happened. I am hoping that this is only a passing time.
Fortunately, you have had no such trouble here; I hope you will not have it in future either. I am quite sure you will thin of the country as a whole, for you are in one corner of it, although a very big corner. If you look at the map of India from this corner, you will find that either you are at the foot or at the top. In whatever position, your responsibility is great. If you are at the foot, you have to carry the whole weight of the body; if you are at the top, the head has to share the burden. I therefore hope that you will never forget the country or ignore its interests. We are acquiring a new place in world affair. Our Prime Minister has been devoting himself whole heatedly to the maintenance of world peace. You can understand with how much greater force, emphasis and authority he can carry forward this mission if he is convinced that in his own country there is no trouble at all.
We are, at the present moment, engaged in working out the Second Five Year Plan. The First Plan has proved to be more successful than we thought it would in the initial stages. Let me hope that the Second will be even more successful than the First. That can happen only if all the people co-operated in the working of the plan and put their shoulders to it. There are people who are trying to maintain the balance in different parts of the country; you can rest assured that they will not neglect the interest of any region. But there is such a thing as priority. Even when we go to the temple, everybody cannot get darshanat the same time, we have to go one after another. Similarly, when we go to a river to bathe, it is not always possible for all to bathe together. To stand in the queue and to take your turn does not mean you are being neglected. It only means that steps are being taken to see that everyone gets an opportunity. Unless this is done, equality of opportunity cannot be ensured. Similarly, in the manner of the Five Year Plans, every-body has to be thought of, but not at the same time. And you may rest assured that no one will be ultimately neglected.
(From speech of DR. RAJENDRA PRASAD First PRESIDENT OF INDIA)