Greetings to all; tomorrow our State completes 9yrs of its existence. From being an impoverished part of UP to the Uttarakhand of today, we have come a long way. We now have the power to mould our destinies, in our own hands.
Let us begin by saluting the heroes of our State. Undoubtedly the first salute goes to the women of Uttarakhand. Innocent, warm hearted and hardworking, an average woman’s daily struggle, in the hills, is legendary. Working over twelve hours a day, she ploughs the land, take care of the livestock, raise children and look after her in-laws. Risking life and limbs, she climbs trees and roams the jungle to gather fodder for livestock and then carries it home on her back! And this 20kg fodder load is very light compared to the 35kg cooking gas cylinder she carries on her back from the road head, up a steep mountain path, a path on which you and me could barely carry ourselves. And where, would you ask me is her husband? Lazing at home? Well, most able bodied men in villages migrate to plains in search of jobs, leaving behind the lady to be the “man of the house”. With no avenues to earn in villages, is there any other choice? Who would leave the comfort of home, the company of friends and the fresh mountain air to work in dhabas in the dust and heat of plains, sharing one dingy room with four others? If we are to improve the lives of our women, we must ensure their husbands earn enough in the village itself. But do we care?
Our second salute should go to Mother Nature, who has been kind enough to bestow our State with unparalleled beauty. Snow capped mountains and the two rivers, Yamuna & Ganga, are the identity of our State. We must appreciate them in words and deeds. But dear fellow Uttarakhandi’s, why is it that while we call Ganga, Mother, we wash our clothes & throw polythene bags in it? Why do we litter the beautiful places we go to enjoy nature in? And dear Mantriji, why is it that while in every meeting you call upon the youth to protect the environment of Uttarakhand, you build environmentally disastrous dams, tunnel our rivers through mountains and close your eyes to illegal felling of trees? If we do not wake up now, we will loose the bounty Mother Nature has bestowed on us.
Our final salute should go to those who helped create Uttarakhand, the Uttarakhand agitationists. Their love for our land motivated them to struggle for decades for creation of Uttarakhand. We must always remember those who laid down their lives for our Statehood. Incidents at Rampur Tirah, Khatima & Mussorie should never be forgotten. But dear members of Uttarakhand Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, now that the State is formed, instead of working for its welfare and development, why is it that you are now agitating to be given pensions, reservations and discounts in almost all government activities. Why do you want to weigh your love for Uttarakhand in money?
Let us now end by taking a pledge. No matter who we are, or where we are, we will care about our State and devote time every month in improving it. After all, the power to mould our destinies is now in our hands.
Jai Uttarakhand, Jai Bharat,
Dr Nitin Pandey
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