Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that India has the courage to do something new, even in the most difficult circumstances, as it faces forces that threaten to break it and hurdles on the way to its target for 2047.
Virtually addressing the closing ceremony of ‘Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam’, Modi said that India is a country that celebrates its diversities that do not divide “us but strengthen our bond and relationships”.
According to a government release, the Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam takes forward the PM’s ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ vision by celebrating the shared culture and heritage between Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
“Today we have the target of India at 2047 (to make India a developed nation). We also have the challenges of the era of slavery and the period of seven decades after that.
“We have to take the country forward, but on the way, there will be forces that will threaten to break us and people to mislead us. But India has the courage to do something new even in the most difficult of circumstances,” Modi said.
He said that the shared history of Saurashtra and Tamil Nadu gives “us hope for the same”.
Modi also said that India has to move forward towards nation-building by taking together this shared cultural heritage.
“We are a people who celebrate diversity. We celebrate different languages and dialects, different arts and knowledge. There is diversity everywhere – from our faith to our spirituality,” he said.
“Such diversities do not divide us but strengthen our bond and relationships. Because we know that when different streams come together, they merge and create a confluence. Therefore, from the confluence of rivers to that of ideas in events like Kumbh, we have been enriching these traditions for centuries," he said.
It is this power of confluence that is being taken forward in a new form through the ‘Saurashtra-Tamil Sangamam’ event, he said.
The PM said that as the country completes 75 years of independence, it has invoked a sense of pride towards its heritage. He said the pride in “our heritage will grow as we get to know ourselves better by freeing ourselves of our slave mentality”.
A celebration like Saurashtra-Tamil Sangamam is a fulfilment of the dreams of “thousands and lakhs of freedom fighters who sacrificed their life and dreamt of ‘Ek Bharat, Sreshth Bharat’”, he said.
Modi said that there is a lot in common between Gujarat and Tamil Nadu which were “deliberately kept out of our knowledge”.
“The knowledge of the escape of people from Saurashtra to Tamil Nadu during the era of foreign invasion remained limited to some historians. But even before that, there has been a deep relation between these two states since time immemorial,” Modi said.
He said that the cultural unity of Saurashtra and Tamil Nadu is “a stream that has been flowing for thousands of years”.
When Somnath was attacked by foreign invaders, people from Saurashtra escaped to Tamil Nadu to preserve their faith and identity, and the natives of Tamil Nadu accepted them with open hearts and provided them with all facilities to begin a new life, said Modi.
“What can be a bigger and stronger example of ‘Ek Bharat, Sreshtha Bharat’?” he asked.
He said that the event is the confluence of the commitment of patriotism of Sardar Patel and Subramania Bharati, the iconic Tamil poet.
“We have to move forward by taking these commitments and cultural heritage for nation-building,” he said.
He said such an event is “a fulfilment of the dreams of thousands and lakhs of freedom fighters who sacrificed their life and dreamt of ‘Ek Bharat, Sreshth Bharat’, and leaders like Sardar Patel would “bless us for this”.
Modi said that the event is not limited to the confluence of heritages of Saurashtra and Tamil Nadu. Many such programmes are being organised in different parts of the country.
He also invoked Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar and said that we should put emphasis on “harmony, and not on cultural clash”. “We don't have to seek distinction, we have to make emotional connections,” he said.
“You (people of Saurashtra origin settled in Tamil Nadu) have accepted Tamil, but at the same time you also remembered the food habits, language and traditions of Saurashtra. It is this undying tradition of India which moves forward by taking everyone together, and by including and accepting everyone together,” he added.
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