Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said Indians' natural and instinctive love for diversity is the nation's real strength and has kept it united through centuries, noting that it is this aspect of the country which has drawn the world towards it.
"India is home to many cultures, cuisines, customs and lifestyles, where people belonging to different communities, practising different faiths, speaking different languages, observing different rituals not only coexist but also celebrate each other's diverse way of life," he said in a letter to Nazakat Choudhary, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch.
Choudhary had visited Assam as part of the government's 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' programme that envisages bringing people from different regions together to know each other's cultures and traditions.
He said he wrote to the prime minister as to how the trip inspired him and the visit has become a memorable experience for lifetime for him.
In his reply to Choudhary, Modi said such efforts bring states and cultures closer to each other, and strengthens the nation's unity.
The northeast region is now "na dil se dur, na Dilli se dur" (neither far from the heart nor from Delhi) as the government has constantly strived for the development of all the states there, the prime minister said.
Officials said he referred to the "unprecedented development" in these states in various sectors during the last few years.
Be it agriculture, industry, connectivity, the northeastern states have emerged as the growth engines of the nation, Modi said.
The prime minister told Choudhary that his journey from the land of Tawi (Jammu) to the land of Brahmaputra (Assam) brings together two regions of the nation.
His enthusiastic participation in 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' (one India, great India) programme and the change that has come about his perspective is heartening, Modi said.
He also pointed out that Assam is one of the most beautiful places in terms of both nature and culture.
"Witnessing the multi-hued cultural splendour of Assam during the festival of Bihu, marvelling at the massive Brahmaputra river, learning about great personalities such as Veer Lachit Borphukan and Srimanta Sankaradeva, and enjoying unique products like Muga silk, Tezpur litchi, Joha rice, Boka chaul and Kaji Nemu is truly an incredible experience. I have a particularly special liking for the Gamosa from Assam," Modi said.
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