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Modi hoists tricolour at Red Fort, describes himself as 'Pradhan Sevak'
Urges Indians to give up "poison" of casteism and communalism, and embrace unity for the country's progress

Friday August 15, 2014 8:15 AM, & Agencies

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday hoisted the tricolour at the Red Fort on 68th Independence Day.

Modi on I-Day

Delivering his first Independence Day speech at the Red Fort here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described himself as the country's "Pradhan Sevak".

"I stand before you today not as the prime minister but as the pradhan sevak," he said at the start of his speech. "Many, many greetings from the Pradhan Sevak."

"Govt. is not an assembled entity but an organic entity. I have tried to break down these walls", he said.

He also hailed Indian democracy for allowing a person from "an ordinary family" to assume the country's top post.

"It is a tribute to Indian democracy" that a person from "a poor family, an ordinary family is today addressing the nation from the Red Fort," he said while delivering his Independence Day speech.

Addressing the nation from the Red Fort, the prime minister said it was a shame that caste and communal politics continued even so many years after independence.

"How long will this continue?" he asked, his voice choked with emotion.

"We have fought enough, we have killed enough. Turn back and see, has anyone gained anything?"

He said that years of bloodshed had only caused deep wounds to "Bharat Mata".

The prime minister urged people to give up, at least for 10 years, caste and communal politics.

"Peace, unity, brotherhood should take over. Only these will help us to march ahead."

He hoisted the tricolor exactly at 07:30 in the morning - much before his predecessors did on the occasion.

Earlier, the Prime Minister paid homage at the Raj Ghat - Mahatma Gandhi's memorial on the banks of the Yamuna.

The prime minister offered flowers at the blackstone memorial before heading to the Red Fort monument to deliver his maiden Independence Day speech.

He also used social networking site twitter to greet the nation on the Independence Day, before hoisting the national flag atop Red Fort.

"Greetings to my fellow Indians on Independence Day! May our tricolour fly high and our nation scale new heights of development. Jai Hind!" Modi said in a tweet.

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