President Pranab Mukherjee greeted the nation on the eve of 70th Independence Day and remembered the heroes who fought for the independence and said that India’s democracy has grown from strength to strength.

“Warm greetings to all my brothers and sisters in the country and abroad on the eve of 69th anniversary of our Independence,” Mukherjee said.

“I respectfully bow to the heroes of independence struggle who fought, suffered and sacrificed their lives to win freedom,” he added.

The President said, “When we gained independence in 1947, nobody believed that India will survive as a democracy, yet, seven decades later, one and a quarter billion Indians with all their diversity have proved those forecasts wrong”.

“Our democracy built on pillars of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity has grown from strength to strength,” he added.

“One unique feature that has held India together is our respect for each other&’s cultures, values and beliefs,” Mukherjee reminded, adding that “in networked environment of today, a caring society can only be developed by harmonizing religion with modern science”.

Talking about the growth, Mukherjee said, “As we build an India of smart cities, towns and villages, we must ensure they are humane, hi-tech and happy places”.

“India will grow, only when all of India grows; the excluded ones have to be included in the development process,” he added.