Commending India to play its historic international role, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said nation building for the country must ultimately mean contributing to building a better world ~ a world that is composite, cohesive, and at peace with itself and at peace with nature.

Addressing the nation on the eve of its 69th Republic Day, he said the ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, of the World being One Family, might sound impractical in today’s times of tensions and terrorism but it inspired India for thousands of years, and could be felt in the “very texture of our Constitutional values.” He said “the principles of compassion, of assisting those in need, of building capacities of our neighbours, or even of those further away, underpin our society.

These are the very principles that we bring to the international community.” The President said Independence and the adoption of the Constitution were a great legacy which the nation got from its leaders. But nation-building was a grand project, and it needed self-less efforts by all sections.

Presenting a vision for the country, and how it could be achieved, he laid stress on what good citizenship mean. He said “A civic-minded nation is built by civic-minded neighbourhoods, whether in our cities or our villages.

Where we respect the nextdoor person’s space, privacy and rights. Where we do not inconvenience our neighbours – while celebrating a festival or while resorting to a protest or on any other occasion.

Where one can disagree with another viewpoint ~ or even with a historical context – without mocking a fellow citizen’s dignity and personal space.”

He said a disciplined and morally upright nation could be built by disciplined and morally upright institutions… “Our schooling system has to encourage our children to think and to tinker, not just to memorise and reproduce,” he said.