DR RAJENDRA PRASAD STATEMENTS ON BECOMING THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF INDIAN REPUBLIC ON 24 JANUARY 1950
INDIAN REPUBLIC – 60 GLORIOUS YEARS
FROM THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY DEBATES
“I recognize the solemnity of this occasion. We, have after a long struggle reached one stage, and now another stage begins. It has been your kindness to place on me a very heavy responsibility. I have always held that the time, for congratulation is not when a man is appointed to an office, but when he retires, and I would like, to wait until the moment comes when I have to lay down the office which you have conferred on me to see whether I have deserved the confidence and the goodwill which have been showered on me from all sides and by all friends alike.
When I sit listening to laudatory speeches–and although I have, tried to cut that down to some extent, here also I have had to submit to it to a certain extent,-I am reminded of a story in the Maha Bharat, which is so full of piquant situations, and the solution that was found by Shree Krishna, who solved all those difficult and apparently insoluble problems which arose was this. One of those days, Arjun took a vow that he would perform a certain thing before the sun set on that day and that if he did not succeed, he would bum himself on a pyre. He unfortunately, did not succeed. And then the problem arose as to what was to be done. In fulfilment of that vow, he. would have to bum himself. This, of course, was unthinkable so far as the Pandavas were concerned. But Arjuna, was adament in his resolve. Shri Krishna solved this problem by saying, “if you sit and praise yourself or listen to praise by others, that would be equivalent to committing suicide and burning yourself; So you had better submit to that and your vow will be fulfilled.” Very often I have listened to such speeches in that spirit. Because, I have felt that there, are many things which I am not able to fulfil, which I am not able to accomplish, and the only way in which I can fulfil these things is to commit that kind of suicide. But, here, I am in a somewhat different situation. When our prime Minister and our Deputy Prime Minister speak with emotion about me, I cannot but reciprocate that kind of emotion. We have lived and worked together for mare than quarter of a century and in the closest association we have fought. We have never faltered; we have jointly succeeded also. And now that I am placed in one chair and they are occupying other chairs side by side, and there are other friends whose association I value equally well who will be sitting by their side to help and assist me and when I know that I have the good will of all the members of this House and of a very large circle of friends outside this House. I feel confident that the duties which have been imposed upon me will be discharged to their satisfaction: not because I can do that, but because the joint efforts of all will enable the duties to be so performed.
The country today is facing very many problems and my feeling is that the kind of work which we have now to do is different from that which we used to do two years ago. It requires greater devotion, greater care, greater application and greater sacrifice. I can only hope that the country will throw up men and ,women who will be able to take up the burden and fulfil the highest aspirations of our people. May God give us strength to do that.”