Amid tension on the border with Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday saluted the valour of the armed forces and lauded their sacrifice while dedicating the festival of Diwali to them.
“From last few months our jawans (soldiers) are sacrificing their lives, we should celebrate this Diwali in their name,” Modi said while speaking on Mann Ki Baat, his monthly radio address.
Modi also applauded Indian soldiers for their undying love and sacrifice for the country and said that this Diwali dedicated to them.
“Every citizen of the country is proud of our soldiers,” he said.
He hailed the people, including celebrities for sending overwhelming messages to his “#Sandesh2Soldiers” campaign.
“People from walks of life sent messages of love and encouragement for our jawans (soldiers), just as they light candles for their well-being,’ he added.
“Our forces endure grave hardships for our security. Someone is stationed in a desert, someone on the Himalayas, someone is guarding our industrial installations and someone is protecting our airports. Everyone is fulfilling a mighty responsibility. If we remember them while being in a festive mood, our remembrance will give them strength and renewed energy. I thank everyone for responding to Sandesh2Soldiers,” Modi said in over half-an-hour address on the occasion of
Modi also urged all citizens and state governments to find ways of forging unity across the country and working to defeat separatist tendencies and mentalities.
In the wake of ongoing troubles in the Kashmir Valley, he said, “Unity in diversity is our strength. It is the responsibility of every citizen and all governments to forge unity and curb separatist tendencies to save the country.”
In an apparent reference to tension on the Indo-Pak border, Modi credited the soldiers for maintenance of peace and security in the country and called upon everyone to remember their gallantry while celebrating Diwali.
“In the wake of recent events, our soldiers have been sacrificing their everything for the safety and security of the country. Their dedication and labour has overwhelmed me completely. Let us dedicate this Diwali to our armed forces.
“I had invited everyone to participate in the Sandesh2Soldiers campaign and I have been humbled by the response. From students, villagers and traders to political leaders and sports persons , everyone has sent a Diwali message for our soldiers,” he said while referring to the jawans who are stationed in deserts and on the icy heights of the Himalayas and security personnel who are guarding our industries and airports.
Recognising the works of the Armed forces, Modi said, “Be it BSF (Border Security Force), CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), Assam Rifles, ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police), Navy, Air Force, our jawans are on duty and guarding us. That is why we are celebrating Diwali joyfully,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi also said that when we remember our soldiers on festivals we give a message that we are with them.
More than 10 lakh messages have arrived for soldiers from across the nation.
Modi also urged people to mark Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary and remembered the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
“Tomorrow we are celebrating Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary. He worked to bring everyone together, he worked for unity, fought for unity and brought unity amongst people and we all must remember it,” Modi said.
Modi also said, “History remembers how Sikh people and ‘sardars’ all over the country faced violence and pain” after 31 October when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated.
Remembering Sardar Patel’s contribution, Modi said: “He gave us a united India and to keep it united is our responsibility.”
“Sardar Patel has a rich contribution in strengthening the cooperative movement in India. He was always dedicated to farmer welfare,” Modi added.
Speaking on Guru Nanak’s teachings, Modi said they are the guiding principles not only for Indians but for the entire humanity. The PM recalled how Guru Nanak’s life and teachings hold a message for people even today.
“Kartik Purnima is celebrated as the Prakash Parv or birthday of Guru Nanak Devji. His teachings are the guiding principles not only for Indians but for the entire humanity.
“Principle of service, truthfulness and welfare of all are the core of his teachings,” he added.
“Peace, unity and tolerance is the basic principle. To free the society of discrimination, blind faith and other evils was the campaign of Guru Nanak’s life.
“At the time when casteism and untouchability were at its peak, Guru Nanak Dev chose Bhai Lalo as his companion,” Modi added.
Bhai Lalo was a carpenter by profession and Guru Nanak chose food from his house over food from a rich government official.
Drawing a parallel between Guru Nanak’s teachings and his government’s motto, Modi said: “Guru Nanak Dev’s teachings inspire us to shun discrimination of all kind. ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’ is the way forward and no one can be a better guide than Guru Nanak Dev.”
With inputs from agencies