Unveiling a statue of Swami Vivekananda on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in the national capital on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that one should be proud of one’s ideology but should not let it eclipse the national interest.
“The students’ hunger for ideas, debates and discussion, which used to be satisfied in Sabarmati Dhaba, has now found a new place under the statue of Swami Vivekananda. But it is wrong to think only on the basis of one’s ideology, which eclipses national interest. Everyone takes pride in their ideology today, which is natural. But we should follow our ideology in the line of the national interest and not against it. This statue should teach immense commitment and intense love towards our nation,” PM Modi wished, adding if there is one thing which has “hurt the democratic set-up of our country the most; it is giving priority to ideology over national interest.”
He went on to say if need arises, adherents of different ideologies should unite for the country, giving examples of the Indian freedom struggle and the Emergency.
“When one sees the country’s history, it will be observed that in national interest, adherents of different ideologies have come together. In the struggle for India’ independence, adherents of different ideologies came together under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.”
He further said: “People saw this unity even during the emergency. The former workers and leaders of the Congress also joined the revolution against the Emergency (declared by Indira Gandhi government). The swayamsevaks of the RSS, Jana Sangh, socialists and communists also joined the revolution.”
PM Modi advised the youth to strengthen the Indian tradition where diverse intellectual thoughts prosper. “Idea sharing and the flow of new thoughts should be enabled in the country. Our country is a vibrant democracy only because of this tradition,” he said.
The Sabarmati Dhaba has been a prominent site on the campus where students have registered their protests on a number of national issues, including many against the BJP-led Centre. During his address, Prime Minister Modi also asked the JNU students to research on “how good reforms, considered bad politics earlier, have now transformed into good politics”.
“Isn’t it true that good reforms were considered bad politics in India earlier? How did good reforms become good politics? The JNU students should research it,” PM Modi said, with his government being targeted following a number of “reforms” like the 2016 demonetisation, implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, and the latest being the new farm laws.
“The resolve is to make India better through the reforms. The intention behind these reforms is good. A safety net is being created through the reforms. The basic foundation of this safety net is confidence,” he added.
He extorted the country’s youth, whom he termed “the brand ambassadors of India world over” to not just be proud of the centuries-old identity of India, but to carve a new identity in the 21st century. “This statue should inspire the nation to become one, move forward on the path of youth-led development, which was Swamiji’s expectation. This statue inspires us to fulfil the dream of making India strong.”
He also wished that the Swami Vivekananda statue inspires everyone and fills everyone up with energy. “This statue should give courage, which Swamiji wanted to see in everyone. This statue should teach compassion, which is Swamiji’s teaching’s main foundation,” he said.
PM Modi also went on to speak about the “atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India), which he said, was a part of the collective consciousness of more than 130 crore Indians. “Today the country is moving forward with determination on the path of self-reliance. Today the poor are getting their own homes, toilet, electricity, gas, clean drinking water, digital banking, cheap mobile connectivity and fast internet connection. This is the safety net weaved around the poor to meet their aspirations,” he said, adding earlier the poor were misled by slogans. “No effort was made ever to align the poor with the system. Those who were poor were neglected. They were kept unconnected and financially excluded,” he added.