Outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind, addressing the nation on the last day of his office on Sunday, said during his tenure in the highest constitutional post of the country, whenever there was a doubt over anything, he used to turn to the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.
"....whenever I was in doubt, I turned to Gandhiji and his famous talisman. His advice of recalling the face of the poorest man and asking myself if the step I am about to take will be of any use to him," he said in a televised address, and urged his fellow citizens to contemplate the Mahatma's life and teachings at least for a few minutes every day.
Kovind said during his tenure in the office of President, he received full cooperation, support and blessings from all sections of society.
"I will especially cherish the occasions when I had an opportunity to meet our brave jawans of the armed forces, paramilitary forces and the police. Their patriotic zeal is as amazing as it is inspiring," he said.
The President shared his childhood memory, referring to the time when he was growing up in a small village and the nation had only recently achieved Independence.
"There was a fresh wave of energy to rebuild the country; there were new dreams. I too had a dream, that one day I would be able to participate in a meaningful way in this nation-building exercise," he said.
Stressing that a young boy living in a mud house could not have any idea about the highest Constitutional office of the Republic, he said: "But it is testament to the strength of India's democracy that it has created pathways to let each citizen take part in the shaping of our collective destiny. If that Ram Nath Kovind from village Paraunkh is addressing you today, it is solely thanks to the inherent power of our vibrant democratic institutions."
In his address, he also touched upon the freedom struggle by which India gained Independence.
"I have always strongly believed that no other country has been as fortunate as India in having a galaxy of leaders, each of whom was an exceptional mind, within a span of a few decades in the early twentieth century," Kovind said.
"From Tilak and Gokhale to Bhagat Singh and Netaji, from Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Syama Prasad Mookerjee to Sarojini Naidu and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay - nowhere in the history of humankind have so many great minds come together for a common cause," he added.
About the present times, the President said that he believes the National Education Policy will go a long way in making it possible for young Indians to connect with their heritage and also find their feet in the 21st century.
He also stressed on healthcare which is an essential part of our lives. "The pandemic has underlined the need to further improve the public healthcare infrastructure. I am glad that the government has accorded top priority to this task. Once education and healthcare are in place, economic reforms will let citizens find the best course for their lives," he underlined.