I am delighted to be amidst you all here on the occasion of the Annual General Meeting of the Indian Parliamentary Group and to release the Lok Sabha Calendar for the year 2018.
Three days from now, we will be ushering in a new year, filled with hopes of many exciting things to look forward to as a nation and as individuals. I hope the year 2018 will bring a time of joy, prosperity, peace and happiness to all in our country and around the world.
The Indian Parliamentary Group (IPG) will be completing seven decades of its existence in about a year from now. Since its inception, it has served as the bridge between our Parliament and various other Parliaments of the world and in maintaining a smooth exchange of Parliamentary Delegations, Goodwill Missions, correspondence, documents, etc., and organizing conferences, seminars and symposia on parliamentary subjects of topical interest.
I hope this annual general meeting of the IPG today will provide an opportunity to review its various achievements, devise new plans and set new goals for the coming year. Such a meeting is also meant to infuse new energy and commitment in the members to carry forward its agenda in the future. I wish you all a fruitful discussion and successful meeting.
As I am about to release the Lok Sabha Calendar for the year 2018, I am reminded of the various themes that the Lok Sabha Calendar has portrayed in each succeeding year in the last two decades.
In recent years, the Calendar for the year 2016 provided the glimpses of Parliament House majestically illuminated on various occasions to celebrate our abiding faith in parliamentary democracy. Likewise, the 2017 Calendar showcased the imposing Parliament House Estate with special focus on the greenery surrounding it.
The theme of this year is unique and motivating. The Calendar for the New Year 2018 shows the noble and inspirational words and passages inscribed and crafted in the majestic domes, arches, chambers and various other places in Parliament. The sublime messages, universal and timeless, in these inscriptions are rare pearls of wisdom in themselves and an authentic source of our history and philosophical traditions.
It is in Parliament that the entire range of activities of a nation is discussed and its destinies are shaped and moulded. The deliberations of that august body are naturally to be inspired by the highest traditions of truth and righteousness. These inscriptions in the Parliament House from Rigveda, Mahabharata, Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, Panchatantra and Kautilya’s Arthashastra give the visitor insights into the timeless values on which the country’s way of life is anchored.
I take this opportunity to pick one of my favourite inscriptions (from Rig Veda), which is also included in the 2018 Calendar.
సంగచ్ఛధ్వం సంవదధ్వం సంవో మనాంసి జానతామ్ |
దేవా భాగం యథా పూర్వే సంజనానా ఉపాసతే ||
సమానో మన్త్రః సమితిః సమానీ
సమానం మనః సహా చిత్తమేషామ్ |
సమానం మన్త్రమభిమన్త్రయే వః |
సమానేన వో హవిషా జుహోమి ||
సమానీవ ఆకూతిః సమానా హృదయాని వః |
సమానమస్తు వో మనో యథా వః సుసహాసతి ||
(ఋగ్వేదం - సంవననసూక్తం)
(Let us all gather in the Assembly and speak with one voice. Let our minds be of one accord. May our counsel be the same. Let the Assembly consist of equals. Let our minds be alike and also our thoughts. Let our hopes and aspirations be the same and let our hearts beat in unison, so that we may live in harmony and happiness.)
The profundity of this thought and its inspiration to parliamentarians to be united in spirit and purpose in order to achieve the great things in society that we all aspire for – unity of purpose, peace and social harmony, happiness for all – cannot be lost on anyone.
As the Presiding Officer of the Rajya Sabha, it will be my honest advice to all members to reflect more on this particular quotation.
Before I conclude, I commend the initiative of the Hon’ble Speaker, Smt. Sumitra Mahajan ji whose sagacious guidance has produced this beautiful Calendar. Today, we are accustomed to wallpapers on our screens – laptop, PC, mobile, tablet, etc. – that are changeable at short intervals but this Calendar will be the “wallpaper” that we will glance at a lot of times for the coming year.
With these words, I now release the Lok Sabha Calendar for the year 2018.
I once again wish you all and your family members’ health, happiness and prosperity.