Honorable President of Indian National Congress, Smt. Sonia Gandhi,
Honorable Dr. Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India,
President John Kufuor of Ghana,
President OBasanjo of Nigeria
Her Majesty Queen Mother of Bhutan Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck,
Honorable Amre Moussa,
Prime Minister Nepal of Nepal,
Mr. Kathrada, The freedom fighter,
And my fellow Mr.Anand Sharma,
Honorable leaders, friends and fellow students,
It’s a tremendous honor for me to have been invited to the commemoration of a personality with whom I was familiar even in my younger age and as a teenager. Being an Afghan and being closed to India geographically, emotionally and politically, Of course Pandit Nehru was for us very often a name of household conversations. But for me as an Afghan, Pandit Nehru became closer as I began to get an academic introduction to him through my years as a student in Shimla. My first introduction to this great personality of the world and the great son of India was when I in the 1st year of college began to learn the English language. And by going through my syllabus of English language a book called “Tribute to the English language” had an essay of Pandit Nehru. In that essay a part of it read this way “and I came out of the coal mine with my head spinning around me”. This was the of Pandit Nehru visiting during the colonial rule a coal mine somewhere in India. Seeing the plight of the coal mine workers in the foreign rule and the connection between the two when he came out he said, I came out with my head spinning around me. For me at that time this was the curious question, why was he coming out of the coal mine with his head spinning around him.
Later on, as I studied, his Discovery of India one of the most remarkable books that anyone can read. I found out that by that he meant Independence for India.
Independence for India as an end in itself but also independence for India as the means to the better improved life of the people of India and India’s connection again to the surrounding region of India and to the rest of the world.
So, through that essay I learnt the connection of Pandit Nehru and all of the freedom fighters of India to the people of India to the masses of India.
A remarkable story that Pandit Nehru tells in his Discovery of India is of his meetings with large gathering of people. During the campaign for Independence, during the struggle of Independence, Pandit Nehru writes that he would go to meetings and people would say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. And he kept hearing this and he kept hearing this and one day he asked “who is this Bharat Mata? What is this Bharat Mata?” And someone from the crowd called back ‘Dharti’. And he said “Dharti yes”, “the plants of India, the rivers of India, the mountains from Himalaya to Kanyakumari perhaps”. But also he told him “the people of India” All the people of India and we say all the people of India that’s exactly the essence of his message. No one is left out, of independence and the movement forward for India’s Social and economic change, an epic story by all proportions, of a nation struggling for independence through such a quality of leadership without violence as the Mahatma would ask, and in pursuit of a greater good for the man-kind. As the leaders of the Indian movement for independence would ask.
And then linking free India to the rest of the world, In full light of India's civilization, and culture and heritage and the beauty of the presence.
Pandit Nehru has been 2nd only you know of who…. Mahatma Gandhi. His disciple, his tyrant but also his intellectual counter-part, faithful and yet challenging.
The story ladies & gentleman inspires all of us and through the struggle for Independence, India not only gained independence but it transmitted a broader, bigger message to all of the humanity of Non violence, of the greatest values that man - kind holds so dear of peace and of co-existence.
After independence as the honorable president of the Indian National Congress just mentioned India through the work of Pandit Nehru and his associates became the greatest democracy on earth.
Many years ago, during one of India’s election's, the Times Magazine or the News Week had a remarkable beautiful headline “India’s elections the greatest show on earth”. Indeed the greatest show on earth. And through democracy and through the revitalization of India’s institutions in the modern configuration of it. The parliamentary democracy, the freedom of expression, the freedom of media and the reinvigoration of Indian culture and music and languages and the millennium old civilization and its presentation. once again to the world and its connection once again to the world.
Nehru’s world view one of equality, one of cooperation and one keeping away more remarkably from the military blocks that led to the non-aligned movement.
All of this as an Afghan and as Afghan’s inspired Afghan people. Our country was among the first to participate in the non-aligned movement. Our country also very luckily had a role and an association with India’s movement for independence.
Raja Mahendra Pratap, Molvi Rahmatullah, Molvi Vaidulla in the 1915-16 came to Afghanistan and established a government in exile in Afghanistan for a while. Subsequent to that, the frontier Gandhi, Farukh Abdul Gaffar Khan as he is called in India and later in 1940s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and all personalities and leaders who came to Afghanistan and from whom Afghanistan learnt as well.
So, we are as Afghans happy in many-many ways to be associated with this great struggle for independence and to have learnt from the tolerance that it should even today to the colonizing force.
We too ladies and gentleman in the past thirteen years have emulated followed in the footsteps of India and its great leaders in trying to bring democracy to Afghanistan, In trying to recognize a multi ethnic country.
The freedom of the press, the freedom of speech and the principle of social harmony, indeed the practice has improved Afghanistan and because of that it is today that I stand before you as the former president of Afghanistan. It is democracy and the well of the Afghan people that brings me here.
Nehru as a nationalist, would say that he cannot tolerate alien domination. Nehru also as a nationalist would say but this also should lead India to economic and social change. It is this principle that we hold dear all over the world.
India is today indeed has a responsibility based on the principles that it evolved for itself and as an example for the rest of the world. There are many around the world who still are under one from the other of domination and in need. And I am certain that India’s duty today will fulfill their responsibility in providing assistance and help to the rest of us around the world.
“The woods are lovely dark and deep
but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep
and miles to go before I sleep”
This lovely poem of Robert Frost was found on Pandit Nehru’s desk the day after he left us.
His dream is fulfilled in many ways. I am sure his spirit is happy today seeing a great, strong and developed India.
And it is this dream and eagerness to continue to work that keeps us alive and working in Afghanistan as well. Though the woods are lovely dark and deep but we in Afghanistan have miles to go further and miles to go further and India’s help has been with us. And I am sure will continue with us as we move further.
Thank you very much