Prime Minister's Office
azadi ka amrit mahotsav

English rendering of PM’s address at Christmas Programme at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg

Posted On: 25 DEC 2023 4:44PM by PIB Delhi


Firstly, I'd like to wish all of you, as well as people around the world, and especially the Christian community, many, many greetings on this important festival. Merry Christmas!

It brings me great joy that you all have gathered at my residence on this special and sacred occasion. When the Indian Minority Foundation proposed to celebrate Christmas together, I suggested, why not to celebrate it at my place, and that's how this program came about. Therefore, it's a very happy occasion for me. Anil ji has been very helpful, and I am particularly grateful to him. So, I happily accepted it. I am also very grateful to the Minority Foundation for this initiative.

My relationship with the Christian community is not new; it's very old, a very intimate connection, and we have had very warm relations. During my tenure as the CM of Gujarat, I often interacted with the Christian community and their leaders. In Maninagar, from where I used to contest elections, there is a large population of Christian community, and hence, I had a natural bond with them. A few years ago, I was also fortunate to meet The Holy Pope. It was truly a memorable moment for me. We discussed various topics for a long time, including social harmony, global brotherhood, climate change, and inclusive development, aiming to make this Earth a better place.


Christmas is the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also an occasion to remember his life, message, and values. Jesus lived the values of compassion and service. He worked towards creating a society where there is justice for all and for an inclusive society. These values serve as a guiding light in our journey of national development.


In various streams of social life, we find common values that unite us. For example, the Holy Bible emphasizes using the gifts and abilities given to us by God to serve others. And this is what ‘Sewa Parmo Dharmah’ (Service is considered the highest duty) all about. Truth is given great importance in the Holy Bible, and it is said that truth alone will show us the path to liberation. Coincidentally, the focus on understanding the ultimate truth is also found in all the sacred Upanishads, aiming for self-liberation. We can move forward together by focusing on our shared values and heritage. The collaboration, harmony, and the spirit of ‘Sabka Prayas’ (collective effort) will propel the 21st century modern Bharat to new heights.


In one of his Christmas addresses, The Holy Pope prayed for those working to eliminate poverty, wishing them blessings. He believes that poverty diminishes a person's dignity. These words of The Holy Pope reflect the sentiment that is inherent in our development mantra. Our mantra is ‘Sabka Saath-Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas-Sabka Prayas’.

As a government, we are ensuring that the benefits of development reach everyone, and no one should be left untouched. Many members of the Christian community, especially the poor and marginalized, are benefiting from the ongoing development in the country. I remember when we established a separate ministry for fisheries, many members of the Christian community, particularly the brothers and sisters from the fishing community, publicly appreciated our step. They also honoured me.


On this occasion of Christmas, I would like to say that Bharat proudly acknowledges the contribution of the Christian community for the country. The Christian community played a crucial role in the freedom movement. There were many thinkers and leaders from the Christian community actively participating in the freedom struggle. Mahatma Gandhi himself mentioned that the conceptualization of the Non-Cooperation Movement took place under the guidance of Principal Susil Kumar Rudra of St. Stephen's College.


The Christian community has consistently played a vital role in guiding society. The Christian community is actively engaged in social service and your community has always been at the forefront of serving the poor and marginalized. Christian institutions continue to make significant contributions across Bharat in crucial areas such as education and healthcare.


With the goal to build a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047, we are advancing our development journey at a rapid pace, making continuous efforts. In this journey of development, our most important allies are our youth. It is essential that our youth remain physically, mentally, and emotionally fit and healthy to ensure sustained development. Several campaigns are underway to achieve this goal, such as Fit India, the use of millets, focus on nutrition, awareness of mental health, and the anti-drug movement, all of which have become mass movements. I urge leaders of the Christian community, especially those associated with education and healthcare institutions, to raise awareness on these issues.


There is a tradition of giving gifts during Christmas. I have received a truly sacred gift just now, and therefore, on this occasion, let's consider how we can gift a better planet to future generations. Sustainability is the need of the hour. Living a sustainable lifestyle is the central message of the Mission LiFE. It is an international movement which is led by Bharat.

This campaign inspires pro-planet people to adopt a pro-planet lifestyle. What Samapti ji has suggested in the small book about bringing the colour green is also a way forward. For example, we can incorporate practices like reusing and recycling, using biodegradable materials, adopting millets – Shree Anna -- as part of our diet, and purchasing products with minimal carbon footprint into our daily lives and can bring about significant positive impacts. I believe that the socially conscious Christian community can take leadership and play a major role in this mission.


Another aspect is Vocal for Local. When we promote local products, when we become ambassadors for ‘Made in India’ products, it is also a form of serving the nation. The success of the Vocal for Local mantra has connected millions of small entrepreneurs to employment and self-employment. Therefore, I urge the Christian community to continue to guide and lead in becoming Vocal for Local.


Once again, we wish that this festive season strengthens us as a nation, bringing all the countrymen closer. May this festival strengthen the bonding that unites us in our diversity!

My heartfelt wishes to all of you once again! I am grateful to you for taking time to join us, especially those coming from Mumbai at this age. I continuously receive blessings and guidance from many of you, but today, I got the opportunity to meet all of you.

I thank you once again. I express special gratitude to these children who, with their voices and emotions, have made this festival very special. My heartfelt blessings to these children!


DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.





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