New Delhi: The historic events that led to the 1857 uprising against British rule re-enacted at the majestic Red Fort before the country’s top leaders and youth at a function on 11 May to commemorate 150 years of the first war of independence.
The celebrations held under tight security were attended by President A P J Abdul Kalam, vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, prime minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, NDA chairman Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee and union ministers including Arjun Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar.
Kalam, who spoke in Hindi, asked the youth to work towards making India a developed nation before 2020 and take a pledge to launch a second “freedom struggle” to achieve it.
“I wish when our Prime Minister will address the nation on 15 August 2020, it would be an address by a leader not of a developing nation, but of a developed, strong and prosperous nation,” he said.
The Prime Minister, who also spoke in Hindi, noted that the fight for freedom had united people from different religions and speaking different languages.
It is a fight for freedom and to make one’s own destiny, he said, adding these transcended religious barriers. The Red Fort complex was teeming with thousands of youth who marched 60 km from Meerut to Delhi on foot to participate in the mega cultural event involving over 2,000 artistes.
The “Jang-e-Azadi 1857” march, which was flagged off from Meerut on 7 May, reached the capital on 10 May.