I welcome all of you in the mellow afternoon light of this first day of January. I am overwhelmed to see that more than 8000 residents of Mukti-village Purba Sridharpur are observing Resolution Day, as initiated by Mukti. In your presence today, I would like to convey to you the significance and necessity of Resolution Day, as well as address and allay some questions and concerns regarding Mukti that have been raised by you.
Significance of “Sankalpa Diwas”-
We started observing the occasion of Resolution Day from the past year, 1st January 2021. The main thought behind this observance is that on the first day of the year, accompanied by the pleasant feel of winter, we will engage in the ritual adoption of resolutions, whether personal or collective. Personal resolutions could be regarding things that you had intended to accomplish in the past year, but couldn’t – they could be related to your education, profession, personal relationships, etc. You could renew a firm resolve on this day to achieve any such unfulfilled goals. You should all remember that every individual is part of the foundation of society, so if every individual is in harmony at the personal level, then many social problems will automatically disappear. In such cases, these resolutions, though not involving any social organization or collective action, will still be a great contribution to society at large. On the other hand, we could make use of this occasion for organized and collective resolutions as well. For example, we could resolve to come together to combat the various problems caused by environmental pollution, to be health-conscious in these pandemic times, to alleviate the problems caused in education in these difficult times, and above all, to improve our lives and livelihoods.
Festival of Giving-
Let me now tell you about the customs and events through which we will celebrate this special day. We will start the day with the festival of giving. For all of us, the day will start by offering a gift to our fellow beings. This will start in the morning, and continue through the day. It is not just the financially well-off who will be giving. Every person will give according to their means and abilities. This is because the act of giving opens the heart, broadens the mind. Whatever any of us possess in plenty can be given, be it clothes, be it books, or be it a purchased item of necessity. In this, we shall respect two conditions – whatever the offering, the recipient will not reject it but will accept it with gratitude, and we will refrain from photographing and memorializing or publicizing these actions on social media. Those who wish to receive gifts should approach the organizers without hesitation, and those who wish to give are welcome to do so either through the organizers or individually.
Drawing and kite-flying competition-
Along with the Festival of Giving, we organize two more events or competitions, namely sit-and-draw, and kite-flying. Before flying the kites, the participants have to put down socially conscious messages or sketches on them. In fact, through these little competitions, along with providing fun activities, we aim to inculcate ideals of social responsibility in our future citizens. Similarly, the sit-and-draw competition aims to inspire and enthuse budding rural artists.
In another component of the celebrations, Mukti has provided a helping hand to the best of its abilities in arranging picnics amongst neighbors in almost 120 areas of the village. This part of the celebration is extremely significant for Mukti. Mukti believes that spending time together and sharing meals leads to bonds of friendship and brotherhood among people, and keeps problems from growing. For, to build a beautiful village, the villagers have to be united, they have to speak the same language, and celebrating anything together surely strengthens such unity. Resolution Day is ultimately another effort to create a healthy, supportive environment for each other in the village.
You would have also seen that on this happy day, the accomplished children of the village have gathered here together, although they are forced to live elsewhere due to the needs of their work and livelihoods. In this celebration on the 1st of January, the village has called back those whose hearts are still in the soil of this village, though they reside far away for earning a living. They have not only been working hard for their own families, but they have been financially assisting in the overall upliftment of their very own village, and Resolution Day has provided them with a platform to enjoy every moment of this joyous day in togetherness. If every year on Resolution Day, these successful sons and daughters of the village gather together in their childhood homes, they will get to know all the problems facing the village, and together, they may be able to find solutions to them. To Mukti, it’s not just those who have pursued higher education, holds prestigious jobs, or are otherwise financially well off. Mukti considers as successful also those from this village who have completed their secondary, higher secondary or other level of basic formal education, or perhaps have acquired other artistic or manual skills and are using these to earn a living in villages or cities in various parts of the country. We would want all of them to come back to their childhood land on the occasion of Resolution Day, and reunite with each other in happiness and celebration.
Alongside all of this, there are arrangements for a cultural program to encourage the enthusiasm and talents of all adults and children of the village who may be engaged in or are inclined towards the arts and culture.
And now, let me answer through my address today, some questions that have come up from among you. Some of you have asked why several political figures in the area are associated with Mukti. In this regard, I would like to make it very clear to all of you that the doors of Mukti are open to all, participation by anyone is equally welcome. While Mukti’s own activities are apolitical, it does not oppose politics or any political party. We believe that the goal of every political party is ultimately to create social welfare. Therefore, individuals affiliated with any political party are welcome in Mukti, on condition that the moment they are part of Mukti, they must initiate themselves into the ideals of Mukti. Mukti will not allow any political opposition in its own field of work. Once a part of Mukti, all members must be viewed as equals, and I trust that you will agree that every member of Mukti has upheld the Mukti ideals. In fact, this applies not only to political affiliations but also to caste, creed, age, nationality and all other such designations, where anyone at all is welcome to associate with Mukti to dedicate themselves to social upliftment. We believe in solving problems through the welfare of the individual, the environment, and of all creatures. Therefore, wherever they may arise, we view all approaches and paths to problem-solving as valid efforts. And that is why Mukti believes in working together with all kinds of people.
The second confusion or doubt that has arisen amongst you is that you think that Mukti’s activities are funded by illegitimate use of government funds allocated for the public, such as job card funds. It is extremely important for me to give you Mukti’s true position in this regard. It is not the case that Mukti does not work with government funds, or will not do so in the future. However, in the past decade, Mukti has not worked with any government funds. Instead, Mukti has helped the governmental efforts through its own programs. Because Mukti believes that the government is the main executer of social welfare – all the work that is currently being done by voluntary organizations by Mukti is ultimately the responsibility of the government. We know that our nation has achieved independence after centuries of struggle, and looking at the current situation, we realize that when such a vast country transitioned from hegemonic to democratic rule, it naturally meant that any developmental scheme proposed by the government is heavily influenced by popular opinion. This leads to a slowing down of overall development, and wherever the government is falling behind due to the intricacies of the democratic process, Mukti volunteers are stepping up to help the government. Mukti usually does this through funds collected through the generosity of donors. It will defeat Mukti’s very purpose if its activities were enabled by cheating or harming anyone. Those of you who have this question in mind, or anyone else for that matter – if you have ever seen anyone going against Mukti’s principles, then we request you to let us know immediately; we will take appropriate action to make amends. Specifically regarding job cards, let me inform you, that the government only transfers funds to the account of the job card holder, and so there is no scope for anyone else to make wrong use of these funds unless the account holder themselves is cheated into handing over the money to someone else. Again, if you have seen anyone doing this, definitely do let us know, so that we can take strong measures against such actions which are against Mukti’s principles.
This gathering needs to know about each and every Mukti project. Mukti has incubators for every project, where observations and practical knowledge are applied to create a framework for projects. Any other organization, be it the government, or any other social organization, is always welcome to use the Mukti project frameworks for social good.
At the end of my address, I would like to thank you all for bringing the second year of Resolution Day towards a successful conclusion. I look forward to even greater success and grander celebrations in the coming years. With this, I will now sign off. All of you keep well, and stay healthy.