Most respected Vice-President of India Hidaytullaji, Hon. and Respected Dy. Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Ramrao Adikji and Hon. Shri Tidkeji, Respected Shri Madhulkarji, Shri Gaikwadji, Shri Kishor Kashikarji, Sabi Bhaiya and my dear brother-in-law, my friend and the Central Minister Shri N.K.P. Salve. Sir, may I offer on behalf of the whole Salve family, the large Salve family express to you our deep and profound greatitude for your kindness indeed to be with us here today. The unveiling of the statue of my father-in-law could not have been done by the person better than yourself. You have explained how lifelong was your association with Shri Salveji and therefore it is most appropriate this should have been done in the manner it has been done today. But it is a moment of devotion for us, and all I can say, we are deeply touched by the very kind words in which you have referred to my father-in-law, the various anecdotes you have narrated about the life spent with him and we feel deeply indebted, very proud. To Hon. Dy. Chief Minister, I say how profound is the Salve family to him. We all know he is the well-wisher of the family. My wife, Nirmala who is sitting here, always mentions that. I am very happy indeed and proud that, Sir, you are here today.
To Shri N.K.P. Salve I am indebted for many things, but I am indebted to him most of all for having brought me in touch with my father-in-law, who became my father-in-law later on. Shri N.K.P. Salve was a friend of mine in Lucknow University. I came to New Delhi and very kindly he introduced me to his family. And that was a turning moment in my life. A turning moment because I had come from Lucknow, a provincial Capital with provincial ideas, and I met a person who was an Indian. He came from Nagpur, Nagpur you know is the heart of India. He belonged to you but he did not belong only to Nagpur. Nagpur being the heart of India, he represented the heart of India in New Delhi. He was first and foremost an Indian. You know when I come to my country India (as these days I am posted abroad) very often I meet, Punjabis, Bengalis, Maharashtrians, and Gujratis. What about Indians? He was first and foremost an Indian. And that created a tremendous impact on me. You know, he came from another state. I came from another state. But that created a tremendous impulse on me. Apart from this that he was a great patriot, great leader one other significant feature which almost captured anyone who came in touch with him;—we all talk that we should not distinguish between caste, creed, community, government, language, religion. We all say that. But we say that on our lips’. I wish we all could say that from our heart. And he did so. He not only said that all religions were the same, he did not merely profess, that, he did not only preach that, but he sincerely believed in that. And I don’t think it even occurred to him to distinguish between persons from one area and another, or one language and another, or one religion and another. Now this again was so vital for the Unity of the country. And he was totally dedicated to it.
I told you, big change came in my life. I married his daughter. I was very fortunate; because I came into the fold. I found, here was a person, who had dedicated his life to freedom struggle, who has fought for the country, and yet, please believe me, Sir, I was with him on many occasions, at many places,—he never once mentioned, that he has done any sacrifice for the country. This word did not occur to him. He thought always it was a great privilege for him to have been in the forefront of country’s freedom struggle; to have been associated and been a colleague of pujya Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehruji, Maulana Azadji and so on. To him that was an end in itself—freedom struggle, fight for freedom, attainment of independence. Sacrifices that he made were never in the nature of an investment. He expected no return. He did not want any return. He never thought in those terms. To him the main thing was the country, we Indians, to become independent. When the country became independent it was a proud moment for him because we all witnessed the hoisting of our national flag. That was the return. That’s what he wanted and he lived to see that.
What a valiant personality he was. He was a political leader. He was a citizen. He was a lover of cricket. He was a lover of music. You name anything he had interest in it. What a wonderful personality. But again another feature in him which must have impressed many as it dealt me, was that many people came to see him. He saw many people but never did he distinguish between the rich and the poor, between the elders and children. He had time enough for everybody whoever it was, whether it was an old man he gave him respect, if it was a child gave him love —whether it was a rickshaw wala or whether it was a train driver or a big Honourable Minister may be, to him all were Indians, equality rights and he truly believed in that equality. He was a great citizen of India, a citizen of Nagpur, a great leader, a great patriot.
He had a unique combination of values. He never departed from those values. He never believed in compromise on values. Values to him were the high aspect of living. He believed that if we had to live, if we have to live together then live according to a set of values. That’s what he did till the end of his life.
I could go on Sir, speaking about him because I respected him. I loved him. I admired him. He has left behind him many of us here. They are all very proud, very humbly proud but we can really commemorate him. We are most grateful Sir, that you have unveiled his statue. It’s a great reminder of the great person. But in what way can we really commemorate him. Today all of us can reaffirm our faith in those values, being an Indian first and anything else thereafter, not distinguishing between one community and other, one state and another but serving our motherland, with total dedication. Then alone we would be really respecting his memory. On this day, let us then rededicate ourselves to those noble ideals.
Our thanks to you sir, to Dy. Chief Minister, to Hon Minister, I thank my brother-inlaw Shri N.K.P. Salve who is here. We studied together we were friends, when we came to New Delhi, he got me introduced to him what a wonderful association it has been, a friend, a brother-in-law. How proud I am of him. He is now a Minister, he is serving the country. It is my prayer that he may serve the country as he is in various traditional fields like his father and so he will.
And Shri Tidke has mentioned, it is not normal to mention one’s wife in one’s address, but I hope, you will forgive me. But I must mention she also is carrying the same tradition. I think her father’s part in her is now leading her to promote a movement throughout the world, on the same principles. The principle of togetherness and that is even brotherly not just here in India but all over the world the brotherhood. You know, Sir, how difficult is the world of today. The quarrels all over the world. They can be resolved only by one human family. She is trying to serve that. You will see Salve family in any sphere whether it is politics, statesmanship, religion, spirituality or humanity. They are all trying to serve in their small way and I am really proud to belong to that family and on behalf of that family, I thank you all. Sir, and all participants.